Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The pressure to be something "special" or "extraordinary" gets a hold of people at a very young age. Truth is, it's a shame based pressure that tells us that we aren't enough and that we must pretend to be someone we are not. It's love that makes ordinary extraordinary. The other is fake, and not extraordinary at all. And as long as shame stays in place, love will at best be a occasional visitor.

I watch it in my teenage daughters and their friends and it begins with the game of comparison. And I see how it has carried over into the lives of the adults around me. Shame keeps us feeling that everyone else has something cooler than we have. It also drives unhealthy relationships with the opposite sex because it keeps us looking to others to do something that they can't do and that will always lead us to the game of manipulation and control of others and a willingness to allow others to use, manipulate, and control us. We won't ever find freedom from the inadequate feelings that shame leaves us with, through other shame driven activities. But the lie that these feelings will be eradicated if we are able to find the right combination "out there" inevitably will continue to distract us from the healthy solution...To be our ordinary selves and to find peace and love there because the truth is, it's in our ordinariness that our uniqueness is displayed, once shame is displaced from our lives by love.

I love how Wayne Jacobsen describes the effects of shame on our lives in his book He Loves Me.

"Shame is the unfortunate inheritance of humanities captivity in sin. You were born with her whispering in your ear. Until you find freedom from her in Father's love she will, like a cancer, sink her tentacles into everything you think or do."

"But when you find your security in the awesome love of God, her voice is unmasked. No longer do you have to play her games by worrying about what others think. Then you'll really know what it is to live as God's child in the earth."

"Jesus didn't want to use my shame to spur me to do greater things, he wanted to set me free from it."

"Discovering how much Father loves you will increasingly set you free to walk without shame, before God and with other people. Though shame restrains people from sin under the law, in Christ it no longer holds any purpose."

The true self is found in the uniqueness of the ordinary. And it is love that frees us from the pursuit to be someone we are not. And it is a life lived free of jumping through all the hoops the lie convinces us we must jump through in order to be significant. It's the life of learning to live shamelessly free. If you find that, you will find yourself living a life that is extraordinary in the simplest of expressions.


Sue said...

Excellent post, Kent, so full of true. I'm not really there right now (but I'll be baaack), and I do miss the simplicity of living in that space of love.

I've been pondering shame lately, seeing its effects in me, in those around me. Some people are so full of it their shoulders stoop.

The big I and the small I. Makes all the difference which one you are swimming in. Unfortunately, I think teenagerhood is full of small "i", shrouded in it. Yuk!

May your beautiful daughters find ever-increasing release from the shame our cultures dump on us but especially the stuff we dump on ourselves.

Kent said...

Thanks for the prayer for the girls Sue.

And some going out to you also.

Sue said...

Thanks a whole big fat bunch

zinger said...

Hey Kent, thanks for sharing the post. Shedding all the crap that society and life dumps on we can truly be free, what a great thought at the start of a new year. I know that as a father there is nothing more that I want for my children, to be a peace with who they are, and to love others. Hope you all have a great year.


Kent said...

Thanks Jon. And same to you and yours

Justin Boggs said...

Max Lucado wrote a childrens parable involving creatures that would slap winner or loser stickers on each other. When one the creatures was tired of this and went back to his maker the maker fixed them so that neither to winner or loser stickers would stick any more. So the stickers just didn't matter.

It goes beyond shame induced by our perceptions of how others feel about us, it goes to pride as well. Our completion comes from Christ.

Kent said...

Justin, that reward/punishment paradigm just frosts me. But it's how the world we live in functions so I want to help my daughters understand it and recognise they must live and function in that world but that it will go much better for them if they don't get caught up in it as if it's a healthy thing.

And as far as what you said about pride....I see pride as a shame based activity. People who are basking in their successes and abilities are as much products of shame as those who are on the other end feeling like losers.

Free Spirit said...

Kent, as I said, I've not been around lately, so just now reading this, but wow! How cool it is to begin to really see this about shame. I just got through posting today about my new revelation on the subject. I have been listening to, and re-listening to, Wayne Jacobsen's Transition series from his website. It is the most freeing truth I've heard in a long while.

I first wrote a post a few days ago about living under the Tent of Should. I didn't even fully get what I was writing. I just sat down and started recording my thoughts as they unfolded. I was even surprised by what Papa showed me as I was writing it.

Then today, after listening again to #4 in the Transition series, it suddenly hit me how the whole ideology of "should" was the offspring of shame, and that it's really true that "should" doesn't have to rule over us (our behavior). I blogged about it right away because I was so excited.