Shame (according to the English Language Dictionary) is the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, or ridiculous done by oneself or another.
Dan Allender talks about 2 kinds of shame in his book, The Wounded Heart. He says this, “Legitimate shame exposes Depravity, and illegitimate shame shines a light on some element of dignity.”
Shame for me says that it is time to go quiet. Stop sharing and even stop asking questions into others lives, lest they care enough to reciprocate. What a lie! No matter how quiet I get, my friends still ask questions. They still care enough to pursue me…
Today I weighed in again and to my chagrin I actually gained 2 lbs. I didn’t want anyone to know, least of all those closest to me. But as I stood in the locker room at the gym, wanting to crawl inside myself, and thinking, I am such a failure. I can’t keep anything going for more than a few weeks. What will “they” think when they found out that I had gained instead of lost. But then I realized everything I was feeling was about who I was, not what I had or had not done to make my number go up instead of down. My shame was not about my behavior but about my identity, and I understood what Dan Allender meant about legitimate and illegitimate shame.
I am not bad. I do not suck. I am capable. I am strong. I am a fighter. And no matter how many battles I lose, I intend to win this war. The war to be healthy and the War within my soul. I am sure I will continue to have bad days and bad weeks. Clearly, I had a bad week this past week. However, I refuse to be ashamed. Although I did not win on the scale, I won in the soul because this time, I did not go silent. This time, when I was struggling, I let someone in. This time, I let it be known that I wanted nothing more than to eat the whole house. And that made all the difference. It is incredible how when lies are exposed, they no longer have a hold. But if the lies are held onto as though true, then they have all the power to defeat me.