Sunday, February 14, 2010

H.O.P.E. Highlight

I was watching a show on Discovery channel about the terrible incident in 1989 where the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground and spilled over 10 million gallons of unrefined Alaskan crude oil into Prince William Sound, causing the largest oil spill in North American history.  Even now the consequences of that spill can be seen and measured in many ways.  One of the things that grieved my spirit the most about that whole thing was the impact to animal life in a 1200 mile radius.  I bet many of you still remember the pictures of volunteers holding the poor, almost lifeless birds covered, completely covered, in that oil.  The volunteers used Dawn dishwashing liquid to painstakingly wash each feather, each beak, each foot of each bird they worked with.  The birds would have died like so many others did had they not been cleaned of that oil. They could not walk because of the oil, they could not breathe well because of the oil.  They absolutely could not fly, because of the oil.  They could not eat, because of the oil.  Everything they needed to do to live, they simply could not do because of that thick, smelly, slippery, life choking oil!

Does that familiar to anyone??  That is the picture of shame.  Dark, black, smelly, consuming shame.  It covers ever single part of those who have not been cleaned of it.  Everything we need to do in a healthy way as a human-being, we can not do because of shame.  Just like the volunteers had to painstakingly wash every feather clean of that oil, we too need to be painstaking about cleaning the shame out of our lives.  It impacts the journey of lifestyle change more than any other thing I know.  Shame is life choking, just like the oil.  It is dark, just like the oil.  It causes us to slip, just like the oil did to the birds.  There is NOTHING good or healthy about shame.  I also believe that shame is why we yo-yo diet so often.  We can loose all the weight in the world, but if we still have shame deeply rooted in our lives, we will certainly gain it back again.

Here are a few clues that will let you know if you have shame deeply rooted in your life.
     *You say I'm sorry as a common response to just about anything
     *You often punish yourself for perceived wrongdoing
     *Your self talk or internal dialogue is negative and unhealthy most of the time
     *You believe most everything is your fault.
     *You say "I should have ________"(you fill in the blank) most of the time
     *You are sure that others are thinking "bad" things about you

OK, OK, you get the picture.  Now the question becomes how in the world do we begin to break or challenge the shame in our lives.  Great question.  Now, what's the answer??  This is where I am going to pass it on to you guys.  I know that shame is "cleaned" off of us one feather at a time.  What does that mean to you?  How have you actually "cleaned a feather" and challenged shame in your life?  Can you share some ways that you think are helpful in identifying or challenging shame in our life?  How can we walk out of it?  I would also love to hear from some of you on the bigger spiritual answer to the question of shame. 

Have a great rest of the week end and I'll see you next week!

1 comment:

kindra said...

I decided to look up shame in my pocket dictionary and it said it was embarrassment or guilt felt for a wrong action and it can be an act of dishonoring someone. Well, I definitely dishonor myself by shaming myself for my weight. It's like I never got the message that it's not what I weigh or look like that makes me valuable, I am valuable, no matter what I look like or eat--a treasure cuz I'm made in God's image and He calls me His, no matter what I weigh. Yes, shame is still TOO alive and present in my life, but I am the one shaming/dishonoring me by believing the lies that I'm just not good enough--which leads me on the unhealthy/binge cycle. I am someone who has yo-yoed to extremes from a size 2 (!) to a size 22 over the years. The weird thing is that I still have shame no matter what my size! If I eat chocolate, I am a bad person and shame on me. My shame messages were received as a child and the only way I see to walk out of it, is to foremost, lay down the shame baton I was passed and STOP thinking I have to keep up the job of shame that was started by someone else. I need to hit the backspace button and retype the words of love, acceptance and kindness into my brain. When I am feeling shamed, I need to remember it can be an old message, a lie, and I need to still participate in life (not isolate) and keep replacing the shame messages with God's messages of truth about me to me. I need to QUIT giving power to shame and still show up, in spite of feeling shame. I am sooooo tired of shaming myself!!! I am also blessed to have you wonderful people to help me heal from shame by allowing me to share safely and then loving on me like you do--it's like a balm or medicine to a deep wound. You are teaching me how to treat myself! Your love and support makes me consider the thought that I have nothing to be ashamed about! Thanks--I am soooo appreciative!