If you’ve been following my blogs over the past weeks, the theme of vulnerability and shame is hard to miss. I’ve been slowly working my way through “Dare to Lead” (https://daretolead.brenebrown.com) and have been writing my thoughts, applications in life and whatever else it sparks in my brain. Dr. Brene Brown has uncovered through decades of social research that shame is the biggest player in most of our struggles as a culture and as individuals, and real deep connection with each other is what soothes our anxieties and depressions (this is a generalized statement but as a general statement, I believe it’s true).
What Brene Brown doesn’t address, however, is the perspective that our deepest shame might actually be true.
Here are some of Brene’s famous quotes from her various books:
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging”
“Shame is the most powerful master emotion. It’s the fear that we aren’t good enough.”
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
Christians- Are you Worthy or Unworthy?
Let’s focus for a minute on the statement that “you are worthy of love and belonging.” There is a puzzle piece missing from Brene’s work. In the true Christian life, we embrace the fact that we ARE unworthy. We are sinful beings, and we have no ability in and of ourselves to be worthy. We are selfish, our perspectives are naturally myopic, and we constantly hurt others (with or without intention). Yet, as I read Brene’s work, I find great hope and comfort. While I am naturally UNWORTHY, I have become WORTHY through the Blood of Christ. He has completely covered my unworthiness, and I am clothed in worthiness. That is the glorious life of a Christian.
Why I love Therapy With Christians
I enjoy engaging in my clinical work so much with my fellow Christians because we can all stand on this duality that while we were unworthy on our own, through Christ we have become worthy. Therefore all of Brene’s statements about being worthy ring true. But not because of our own efforts. Our worth, value and hope entirely rests in Redemption through Christ. This is our backbone.
I reflect back on my work with a particular client who struggles deeply with shame. It is a very deep seeded shame firmly rooted in the client’s family of origin. Yet there is a reality to the shame that Satan loves to remind us about. Yes we’ve screwed up, we are grossly imperfect, and we can never measure up. But that sentence cannot be left hanging because the closing argument is that: Nevertheless, we are made worthy through Christ.
There is and always will be tension between these two sides of shame. While I haven’t seen or heard Brene bring out this tension yet (I have no idea what her faith looks like), this is a primary tension that we as Christian face. Let’s start talking about it, and doing what Brene says…… share our Shame. But then let’s revel in the One who takes that Shame away and bring that into our conversations!
– Dr. Sheri