Thursday, June 18, 2009

Screw Shame

I wrote this yesterday to a friend I met way back in my pseudo-man days but it seems blog-worthy enough - we were talking about how we dealt with feelings of shame related to some of our similar past experiences. If you don't take kindly to women preachers stop here. I have taken out some of the more personal details to “maintain anonymity” and edited it a bit, but I will pick up the thread here

More importantly though, screw shame! (Sorry 'bout getting preachy but I think I am supposed to right about now). Jesus died and rose again so you and I don't have to bear any shame - that is the glorious gift he gave us in this fleshly lifetime we have. His death is the means to our forgiveness and his rising gives us the authority - His authority - to rise above all that guilt and shame! He took it all down to hell and left it there in the process!!

This does not mean we are not culpable for our actions, because we most certainly are, but the crushing, dysfunctional weight and the self-destructive cycle of shame and bad behavior is broken and healing can begin.

In an old hymn we sang in the Fundamentalist Baptist Church I had been part of for many years, I remember the line "...He breaks the power of cancelled sin; He sets the prisoner free..." That is the forgiveness and authority I refer to set to music. I did not believe it enough to act on it whole heartedly back then, but now I do. My becoming a woman has taught me a lot about the depth of God's love and breadth of His salvation. So (whoever you are reading this), if you have not forgiven yourself, do it and leave that old shame right in the Devil's lap where it belongs. It takes a lot of pressure out of daily life when you do that.

Several years back I was so riddled with shame, and yet a very prominent LA drug rehab program never cured me of that underlying shame any more than they could have cured me of being a man! (Though it was a very helpful program in many other ways and I am alive today because it was). Thank God they did not know about my gender issues – I would have never gotten through that program alive – oh how they would have all torn me apart had they found out because I was so ashamed of my hidden inner woman in those dark days. The day we graduated from that program – that very night after getting home from graduation – I rushed out and tried crack-cocaine for the first time in my life – me, their star graduate who had aced the program and had been asked to speak at our graduation with the Police Chief of Los Angeles. I walked right back into the shame with everything I had because I had not let it all go. The shame of my divorce and the shame of my "failing" my Fundamentalist God (as I believed back then), and the shame I felt over more and more needing to express my female self – all of that just kept me trapped in that endless cycle of shame and self-destructive behavior.

That cycle is now broken by God’s grace! Praise God in the highest!

The hardest part in accepting such Grace is learning not to go back later and pick it up again (the shame that is) - at least it was and sometimes still is for me though, thank God, not to those extremes now. This is how I get a grip on my depression and anxiety problems now – I leave it at the source because I deny its power – I have that God-given right! When the crusty old inner fundamentalist voice says to me: "See! You are still no good, see how shameful you are, see how you fucked up again and see how you let Jesus down?..." I can reply yes, but this same Jesus knows all about it and He lifted me up above it anyway and gives me the power to leave it behind. I can simply walk away from it and not keep going back to the mental/emotional scene-of-the-crime. This is the promised freedom from sin, shame, guilt and this is the new life in Christ that is available!

You can too, like I said, SCREW shame! For God’s sake believe it and walk away from it.

God's love, forgiveness and grace are so much greater than all the shame we can ever take upon ourselves in our lifetime so much greater than our imaginings and our pain too. So once the cycle of shame is broken in our lives, then and only then do we really get to live the cure. I said it right - you don't get a cure, but you do get to live one! When you do decide to live it you get to see your humanity and frailty and the mistakes in life that you and everyone else make just as they are because this is simply what we humans do – make mistakes (we are made this way y’know). You get to Laugh at the situation and that laughter is so healing because you are laughing with God and not actually hating yourself anymore - it isn't destructive laughter but liberating and full of Life. Armed with this confidence you are free to simply move on and be happy again!

Hugs and Blessings,


  1. A beautiful testimony, Eva. Yes, Jesus does loves us as we are. Shame is not a part of his personality. Love is.