My heart hurt. Even I felt trapped, and the situation wasn’t mine.
“Ugh, I can’t do anything right. I’ve messed this marriage up since the first day. I’m the problem. No wonder he left…. actually I’m surprised he stayed as long as he did. If I was smart, I would have taken that higher paying job when the kids were little. I wouldn’t have been around a lot but I’d probably still have my marriage. I was being selfish… all I wanted was to be able to be with the kids in the evenings and on the weekends. You know if I’d taken that job, I’d had to travel, but we’d been been able to save and keep up. It’s all my fault.”
Like an unstoppable freight train, she plowed over her (lack of) worthiness, and believed every single word. You don’t even know her, but I’m certain you can see through the lies too. My heart still hurts at the depth of her shame.
Shame is dangerous. “Shame is an intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love or belonging,” as defined by Brene Brown, leading research professor at The University of Houston studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.
Shame says, “I am a mistake. I caused the divorce. I am unworthy of love.” Unfortunately, women accept these stories as truth, even above God’s truth.
Let’s confront those shameful sentences with a few questions –
- Is it the truth? Perhaps you could argue that to some degree the statements are true.
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true with 100% certainty? What is the evidence for, and against, this belief? Yes, I know. Difficult to answer. Our human ego would like us to believe we know more than God who holds all knowledge. Remember, a marriage isn’t the union of one, it’s the union of two to work together as a team for God’s goodness. It took two to get married, two to welcome children, and two to contribute to the decision of divorce.
- Does this way of thinking hurt or help? If it is not happy, empowered, full-of-life then we know that the core of the feeling is that of evil.
- Who would I be or how would I feel if I didn’t have the thought? I’d feel free. I’d feel like a 100-lb weight would be lifted off my shoulders. I’d feel like myself again.
Shame is a liar. Shame wants you shackled to your past. Although the options are simple, the choice to believe shame or to believe God seems sooooo hard.
Let’s make this choice together because we’ll need one another to remain free of shame’s shackles.
We’re breaking FREE! Remember that even the most difficult past with the ugliest stories have great moments, good stories, and bits of wisdom to carry forward that are worthy of sharing. You are an essential piece in moving the good forward. You are simply not a mistake. You are here for a grand purpose, God’s purpose.
It’s wise to find healthy places and people for healing. Protect your heart, your body, and your mind as you move forward in a healing way. To begin this process, let’s take a look at how we can begin to unveil the evil lies and replace them with God’s truth –
Identify triggers. Pay attention to how your body and your mind reacts to phone calls with friends, relatives, and potentially toxic people. Do you find your internal dialogue to be shame-filled after such conversations? How about endless scrolling through the so-called ‘perfect lives’ of connections on social media? Identify triggers that harm you, and take steps to avoid your triggers. Perhaps share your thoughts and experiences with a trusted friend or reach out. We can connect you with trustworthy women who want you to be whole and free again!
Question shame-based thoughts. Thoughts and feelings are not facts. Ask yourself: is this true? What is the evidence for and against this belief? Does this way of thinking hurt or help? What would change in my life if I didn’t have this thought?
Positive people are essential. Protecting yourself is the best form of self-care as you are healing. When possible, end relationships with people who make you feel bad about yourself – or who bring out the worst in you. If you can’t eliminate the relationship (such as the one you have with your ex), limit your contact. Spend time with those who treat you well and make you feel good about yourself.
When shame traps you, hope sets you free. Take refuge in knowing who you are, and where you are going. The past is over, embrace the future! You are significant. You are worthy. You are loved.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Are you wondering where to join a group of fabulous women? I’d be honored if you’d join our LoveLife Again Facebook Group to continue the conversation. We can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/secondchanceforlove/