While shame is more of a hidden factor rather than named player, its impact on our lives is vast. It inhibits our ministry, damages our relationships, and keeps us in a constant state of avoidance; actively numbing our emotions so we don’t have to feel it. In the words of Dr. Brené Brown, it is costly. “We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted, and medicated adult cohort in US history” – using shopping, food, drugs, and alcohol to numb out unpleasant emotions. We could also add frantic schedules, screen time, and overwork to our list of avoidance techniques.
Dr. Brown continues:
The problem is that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t say, here’s the bad stuff. Here’s vulnerability, here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment. I don’t want to feel these. I’m going to have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin.
You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then, we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle.
Do you find yourself numbing your emotions? In what way? How does that impact your experience of the abundant life promised by Christ? How does the devil use shame to hold you back? How could you grow in faith and service if you embraced your vulnerability?
II Corinthians 12:9-10
The Lord said to me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Let us pray,
Lord God, you freed people of demons, healed the lame, opened the eyes of the blind. We pray that you would free us from the demons which imprison us, help us embrace the broken places in our lives, and give us a vision of the wholeness only you can provide. We pray in the name of the one who said, “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed,” Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Tags: devotions, fasting, Lent, shame