“Guilt is seeing what you have done; shame is seeing yourself as a failure because of what you’ve done.” ~Larry Crab
Divorce is fertile soil for growing a stronghold of shame. People often get lost in feelings of regret, failure and rejection following divorce, but it is shame that seems to be the strongest hold of all those feelings and results in preventing us from intimacy with God and with others.
Shame says to us in our negative self-talk that we are bad or unworthy. Forgiveness say to us in our positive self-talk that we are loveable and valuable. Yet, it can be so hard to hear kind and encouraging words and seems easier to keep beating ourselves up for the divorce.
Let’s take a look at 3 ways in which shame shows up in a person’s life who is either going through divorce or rebuilding life after a bitter divorce:
- Get lost in the blame cycle – blaming ourselves or ex-spouse. Here the focus is on blame and not on the growth potential that acknowledgement and change produces.
- Get lost in negative coping skills – drinking more than we should, buying more than we should, and sleeping more than we should…and not on the growth potential of calling out the feelings of shame and identifying healthier coping skills.
- Get lost in the powerlessness – believing there is no hope, no way out, no signs of a future and this place of despair is paralyzing. Your growth potential comes when you become active and intentional in seeking guidance and new tools to help you.
When we read the scriptures we can find hope in knowing that God knew the holds of emotions like shame and so he has left us with truths that have the power to overcome the lies that we may believe. He sees us as worthy and His children who are covered in His grace.
Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”
How we deal with our past, how we live out the present, and how we look forward to our futures are seeded in our ability to shun the strongholds of shame. Today is your day to close that chapter titled “shame” and begin a new chapter and start writing a different story in your life.
Divorce And The Stronghold Called Shame