Keys to Success: Eliminating Shame

Do you ever feel like you’re inferior to those around you? Do you hide some of your thoughts and behaviors because you don’t want anyone to know how messed up you are?

My husband felt that a lot in his life. His struggle with sexual addiction was long and dark. He often tried to stop his behaviors, but kept failing, over and over again—more times than even he could count. It left him feeling uniquely sinful, uniquely flawed and somehow worse than every other person he knew. His shame was so great that he was convinced that it was just a matter of time before even God would say “enough of this” and cast him aside.

Of course, that never happened. Instead, God met him in a incredible super-natural way that literally knocked him to the ground.

It came about, unexpectedly, in the middle of a worship service. The whole congregation was singing a powerful song based on Isaiah 6. As they got to the part that proclaimed ” . . . the angel came and touched the coal to my lips. My guilt is gone and my sin has been forgiven . . .”  Bruce felt an intense heat go through his body. It was so strong that his legs buckled under him and he slumped to the floor. Laying there in the middle of the sanctuary, he knew that something big had just happened, but he couldn’t put his finger on what it was . . . at least not yet.

Months later, when he had another small “slip” with pornography, he finally figured out what had happened in that service. He noticed that the debilitating shame that he had always felt when he had acted out before was gone. He was still remorseful. He was still sad and embarrassed, but he no longer felt disgusting. It was obvious that God had burned away the heavy load of shame that he had always carried around with him.

Some of you might be thinking, “Yeah, that’s cool, but I’ve been praying for a really long time and I’ve had no life-changing experiences. Guess that was just for Bruce, and not for people like me.”

It’s true, God does things differently for different people. But, the absence of a supernatural experience doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. God has provided other ways for us to find freedom from toxic shame.

It’s actually a pretty simple process, but it does take a lot of courage. Don’t worry if you feel a little fear about the steps (especially the last one). You can do this!

1. Analyze the situation and determine the source of your shame

2. Respond appropriately

3. Reach out

You’ve got just two choices:

If you’re ready to be rid of the oppressive burden shame has put on you, get more details on this process here:  Steps to finding Freedom from Shame.

If you’re tempted to just close this post and go back to your day, please take just a minute to look at the danger of not dealing with toxic shame at this link: Shame Off You and how it can affect your recovery here: What’s Shame Got to Do With It?

It’s hard to explain how different life will be — how much better you’ll feel—once you’re free of toxic shame. Bruce and many others that were once in your shoes know, but it’s a little hard to put into just a few words.

If you’ve already been freed from shame, or find some success in the future—even if it’s weeks, months or years from now, please consider sharing your experience with us in the comments below. Your words may give another person the courage to pursue it for themselves.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today.” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” — Hebrews 3:13

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