Podcast Episode 74 – Shame

Jul 2, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 74 Shame. 

DIANA: Hey, everybody. How are you, friend of mine? Have you been hanging out and listening for a while? Have you heard other episodes? Do you kind of know me right now? Because I want to tell you then you’re totally my friend because you know me pretty well if you’ve been listening. And I am looking forward to a time where I get to hang out with you so I can get to know you better. So I’m like, it’s time. It’s time for some Renew Your Mind movement people to get together. So I just set the dates for Renew Your mind. Boot Camp 2.0 coming this fall. It’s going to be the first week of October. What do you do on the first week of October? Don’t know yet. Put it on the calendar. It’s Monday through Friday. The first week in October. What is that? October 4 is the Monday I think. Put it on your calendar. It’s probably going to be at 01:00 P.m.. Central and replays are available for those of you who cannot make it during the day. But we’re going to do it. Details are coming. All the details will be available to those of you who are on my weekly email list or in the Renew Your Mind Facebook group. That’s how you get all the um links to sign up and the information about exactly how to be a part of it. So mark your calendar, be on the Facebook, in the Facebook group, Renew Your Mind Facebook group, or be on my email list so you don’t miss out. I’m going to teach tools from my coaching program. Lots of practice using the Mind Shift tool. And I will be coaching people live. That’s where I get to see your faces and talk with you. Well. Plus the chat will be going the whole time, so we get to interact. Last time I had a couple hundred women participate and I know it’s going to be that big or bigger again. Uh, but I make sure that I get time to talk to each one of you that wants to talk with me. Okay? I am super excited. Stay tuned. More to come. If you don’t want to miss the details for boot camp, go to Rympodcast.com, join the mailing list or the Rym Facebook group. 

All right, now let’s talk about Shame. Yay, Shame. Shame was on my mind this week because of an interaction I had in a Facebook group. Not my own Facebook community, but a, ah, Christian women’s Facebook group with several thousand people in it. And sometimes on the weekends, if I have time, I’ll pop into some Facebook groups and offer encouragement, connect with people. Um, I do it sporadically, but it’s just another way that I like to do my part to support other women. Because, I don’t know, I got some got some insight that’s allowed me to feel peace and joy and hope no matter what’s going on in my life. I want to share that. I know I really needed it in my worst days. So if I can give back just a little bit anywhere, I will do it. So I popped into this Facebook group and I saw a post which I ended up responding to. So basically, the post said she was a new Christian, and she worries about how she’s claimed to be a Christian, but she still does things that she’s always done. Like before she was a Christian, she said she understands you’re supposed to be born and as a new person, turn away from your sinful desires and see, um, changes in your life. 

But she was still struggling with swearing and using God’s name, like saying, oh, my God. Which, by the way, I do that. So I don’t know, maybe I’m going to hell. I don’t think so. Oh my God, am I going to hell? No, I’m not. Okay. Anyway, I digress. Then she immediately apologizes to God after she opens her mouth. And then this is in quotes, this is what she said. So I swear or I ah, use his name in vain. Then I immediately apologize. But once the words come out, I think how awful I am. And she was looking for support. I was going to ask you guys, see what she said that stood out to me. But I kind of emphasized it already. It wrecked my heart. I was like, oh my gosh, girl. No, she said. But once the words come out of my mouth, I think how awful I am. I am awful. I am doing it wrong. I am a bad person. Okay, so I went to the thesaurus Y’all and looked up synonyms. That’s a fancy way of saying I looked for other words that mean the same thing that awful does. And here’s just some of the ones I found. Okay, she thought she was awful. That also means abhorrent. Abominable. Appalling, disgusting, evil, hideous, horrible, loathsome, um, rancid, repellent. Repulsive, sickening, ugly. That’s what she thought about herself. I had to say something. I did. So I replied. I said, sweet lady. Well, I didn’t say sweet lady. I said her name, which I’m not telling you. Sweet lady. Thinking how awful you are leads you to feel shame. When you feel shame, you keep beating yourself up for falling short. 

This isn’t going to work for you. I used to do that and I was miserable. My greatest and most genuine transformation for Christ came when I learned to love me the way Jesus does, just as I am, sin and all. He loves me. And then I just wanted to love Him back when that’s what I was thinking and feeling. I grew closer to Him and all the doing changed. And then I said faith. This might have been what got somebody going. I’m not sure. Faith is about believing, not about behaving. Because behaving is a result of a relationship with, uh, God. We have a relationship with Him. We love him. That’s our faith. From that relationship, our behavior will change, okay? That’s where brains work. It’s our thoughts that create our feelings. And our feelings will inform and prescribe our behavior in all that we do. So I just wanted to encourage her. I wanted her to know she’s loved. She doesn’t need to beat herself up. Then a moderator for this group, um, replied to my comment and well, I was going to tell you how I felt, but I’ll read it and then you can I don’t know. You can guess. Okay. The moderator said, faith without works is dead. Faith. We should feel shame for unrepentant and habitual sin. 

We don’t just accept ourselves in our sin. We aren’t set free by Christ to not feel guilty and ashamed of our sinful behavior. If it is a sin we haven’t turned from yet, we m are given freedom from death, but we aren’t set free to just accept ourselves as we are. That’s not the freedom we have in Christ. I was like, what? Say what? We are not set free to accept ourselves as we are. What? I know this is, uh, what came first, the chicken or the egg kind of conversation. Rhiannon. And I have talked about this before on a previous episode. But listen. Christ died on the cross. Past tense. It is finished. And he died while we were all still sinners. He accepted us as his own, as his prize, as his precious children before he died. Otherwise he wouldn’t have done it. He m did not sacrifice himself from a place of rejecting us. He sacrificed himself from a place of accepting us. What came first, the chicken or the egg? I know we’re made clean once. He actually dies on the cross. But if he was in a place of rejecting us, he would have turned his back. He didn’t. He leaned in and he bared the load because of his love and acceptance. Because he saw beyond that moment. This was an eternal thing, right? So here we are, trying to make sense of it all. I know. Can you tell I am revved up. I don’t even know what I felt. I think I was I felt like, Heck, no, don’t confuse this person. What is the emotion I’m feeling, you guys? I don’t know. I feel purposeful. I feel like this matters. Okay. People will say that God cannot be in the presence of sin. Okay, well, yes, true. We’re told that in the Bible. That is true. But through the magic of the Trinity, while Jesus was fully God, he was in the presence of sin and the sinner every day, he sought out sinners. He hung out with them, he talked with them. He embraced them. He accepted them. Jesus fully God accepted and embraced the sinner. And he lives in my heart while I still sin. If you’ve invited Him into your life, he lives in your heart while you still sin. He is there with you in the presence of sin. Jesus can be in the presence of sin because he loves and accepts us as we are. I know this moderator probably thought that I was excusing sin, but I was not. By the way, side note, in this case, the sin that they were talking about was swear words. Are, uh, swear words a sin? That’s a whole nother debate. I’m not going to address that today. 

The moderator was assuming it was a sin worthy of feeling shame. So that’s all I’m talking about. I’ll reserve my opinion on whether I think it’s a sin or not. That’s not relevant. Okay? Okay. Shame, we think, is going to drive us to do works that are pleasing to God. Really? Come on. Really? If we feel shame for our sin, then we’ll want to repent. I don’t know about you guys, that’s not how it works for me. When I feel shame, if I think I’m awful and then I’m feeling shame, you know what I want to do? I want to hide. I’m like, please don’t anybody look me in the face. I mean, if I feel shame out in public, my head’s going to be pointed down at the ground. If I feel shame at home, I go to be alone. It doesn’t make me want to show up and do amazing things for God. It makes me want to hide under my covers with a family sized package of double stuffed Oreos, watching Pole Dark for hours. Now, I probably should have left this, uh, exchange alone on Facebook, but I didn’t. So I said, I have to wonder if we cannot accept ourselves as we are, as Christ does, are we to reject ourselves? This isn’t saying, all your behavior is great, carry on. This is saying, I see you and you are valued. I love you, just like we want to do for other people. I do accept me a broken person. 

Christ has accepted me in this state and died for me from this freedom, from judgment and condemnation. I am bold over with his love, and that is the inspiration that drives me toward Christ and begging Him to empower me, to grow and change and repent. It works. Christ’s love does that. This is the magic of his love. He accepts me. I accept me. Oh, I started adding some commentary there when I was supposed to be reading my comments. Okay? It works. Christ’s love does that. He accepts me. I accept me. The harder I used to be on myself, the more I judged me then, the more I judged others. I was miserable and I made them miserable. So glad to be free from that. And repentance is now a joy rather than a burden. This is freedom. No longer a slave to law, no longer hiding in shame. I am free to follow and obey Christ. And it is amazing. I accept me as I am, like the woman at the well. No rejection, no condemnation, that’s being Christlike. She replied to me again, and, uh, she said, we are never told in scripture to accept ourselves the way we are and embrace ourselves as we are. God never says that. Once society tells us that we live in a world of self acceptance and self love. Okay, I have to say about that. Yes. Society is all about you get to behave and think any way you want and it’s fine. You be you. But where did we get that ability from? You guys, that’s what God gave us. He gave us free will. He gave us free will. Now, when we accept Christ and we have the Holy Spirit living in us, I mean, I’ll get to that. But we’ll have conviction, right? But he’s given us free will. What are we supposed to do? Go around browbeat people into behaving a certain way? No, he lets us do what we want. So if I’m supposed to be desiring the heart of God, my God accepts me. He does get, uh it what I’m saying. If I have the heart of God, I will accept me. Because God accepts me. God loves me. 

So if I have the heart of God, I love me. She was implying that since society tells us to have self acceptance and self love, then we aren’t supposed to as believers because society is telling us to do that. And I say BS. I condemn myself for years and I ended up drowning in my misery. I would try to drown it out with beer and wine, whatever alcohol I could find, or America’s Next Top Model or trash TV. I was miserable, you guys. I was in deep pain when I stopped condemning me and feeling ashamed. That’s when I was able to get emotionally and spiritually healthy. When I loved me and when I accepted me. I feel like a preacher y’all today. Look out. Okay. Oh, there is one more thing. She said I don’t know how many more things here. There’s another thing, though. We are never told to just embrace that we are all sinners and accept that is who we are. Wait, what? What? I’m supposed to reject reality? I’m still a sinner, but I reject that. I’m not going to accept that I’m still a sinner. I reject me. No, the reality is I’m a sinner. Why wouldn’t I want to accept that I still sin and Christ has made me a new creation? Blameless in his sight. Ah. Uh oh. Yeah, that too. Both which came first, the chicken or the egg? This is the miracle, y’all, modern day miracle. I’m a sinner, and God sees me completely new. 

I have the Holy Spirit in me, the spirit of truth, who lets me feel conviction and guilt when I sin, and I am forgiven. And I don’t need to pay the fine. Jesus already did. I accept all of it. I accept me as a sinner, and I accept me as a new creation. I am both, and I don’t fully get it. It’s kind of hard to make sense of that sometimes, but this is the miracle of Jesus in our lives. All right, next, she said this to tell someone that is acknowledging a habitual sin that they shouldn’t feel shame, that’s not right. We should feel shame for habitual sin. Okay, maybe you guys, maybe we should feel shame. I don’t know. Let’s plug it into the mind shift tool. I sin, let’s say, yelled at my kid. What do I think I’m a terrible person? What? I feel shame. What do I do? Oreos, netflix. I spin and thought about how I screwed up. I avoid parenting responsibilities because I know I just screwed up with them. I retreat. I give up. How in the world is that helping me? I admit it, you guys. I replied to her one more time. I never do this. I don’t engage. I just go and offer encouragement. These social media discussions don’t usually help anything, but honestly, at this point, I was fascinated and I was curious. I’m like, what is she saying? I wanted to learn more about what she thought, and there was something in me I’m like, I need to speak to you all about this because I have seen this happen. I’m like, I wanted to get more verbiage from her because I’m like, there’s thousands and thousands of Christian women out there that think they need to pound on themselves with shame. So I replied. 

Jesus modeled acceptance. He didn’t say it, but he acted from it. And thank God, because if he doesn’t accept us in the moment while we are still sinners, that means he rejects us in that moment while we are still sinners, and that is a painful lie. So she replied with more about how the Holy Spirit in us will allow us to feel shame, and we should never stop feeling ashamed. But let me just offer you some thoughts to close this out. I’m not saying we’re never going to feel shame. Are we going to feel shame? Yes. It’s a human emotion that God gave us. All emotions are given to us with purpose, because without Christ, humans need the capacity to feel shame, and that leads them to the solution for their shame, which is Christ. And the emotion of shame also allows for the physical processing of our thoughts and our thought errors. When we think there’s something inherently wrong with me as a person, we’re going to still think that even when we believe in Jesus, right? He fixed it for us already. But our brain still goes back there. So we need to be able to physically process that emotion to release it. But I never recommend using shame to try to push ourselves into better behavior. Like, if I just think I’m despicable enough, that’s going to drive me to be more Christlike. I mean, how twisted is that? 

Every message we get from Christ is how much he loves us and he embraces us and he comforts us at every moment in our life. If we turn to Him, he never tells us we’re despicable or awful. He doesn’t do that. That’s mean. That’s abusive. And if you do that to yourself, you’re being mean and abusive to you. And I don’t believe it’s true that we should feel shame. We don’t need to feel shame anymore because the work is done. Christ died for our sins. It is finished. The price has been paid. We are washed clean of our sins. We don’t deserve to feel shame anymore. We aren’t expected or required to feel shame. We don’t need shame anymore. We get to feel freedom in Christ. But Diana, what about feeling convicted when we do something wrong? Okay, yes, I’m all for feeling convicted. The Holy Spirit is in us. He’s our guide. He is truth. If we are out of alignment with Him, we should feel convicted or guilty. I think guilt’s a lot more useful than shame. All right, you guys, I haven’t shared it. I’ve been so, like, into this, it’s intense. Let’s have a fun story. Okay? Just made me think of it with guilt. 

Have you guys seen Liar, Liar with Jim Carrey? Well, there’s a scene at the end of the movie that makes me crack up every time. The airport scene. Like I laugh hysterically. That’s not the one I’m going to talk about today, though, but okay, the premise of the Liar Liar movie is Jim Carrey has a kid who makes a birthday wish that he can’t tell a lie and it comes true. So now Jim Carrey can’t lie in one scene. He’s on his way up the elevator, a crowded elevator at work, and everybody’s like plugging their nose and waving their hands in front of their face and all that because you can just tell somebody passed gas. So the elevator doors open up. Well, but right before that, Jim Carrey looks like he’s just about to burst. He’s not waving his hand like everybody else. Like, he looks guilty. The door opens up, he steps out, he turns around and he says, it was me. He was guilty. He was the one that did that thing. He did it. He owned it. He was guilty of passing gas on a crowded elevator. So the thought is I mean, his thought might have been, I did something that was uncomfortable for others, not, there is something wrong with me. I’m so depraved. I’m so awful. I’m the reason they’re suffering, because there’s something wrong with me as a person. No, it was just gas. It was that double decker burrito he ate or whatever caused it. Right. He did it, but he didn’t make it mean. He’s a terrible human. It’s just that he is human. Guilty. I tooted. It was me. Sorry. He didn’t say sorry. But he could have. I would have. Okay? But guilt is so much more useful than shame. Guilt can be felt from a healthy place. Like, I’m a decent human. I’m a forgiven human. I’m made whole in Christ. He sees me as healed and blameless me as a person. He’s taken care of me. I’m okay. And I did a thing. I made a mistake. I sinned, and I’d like to make it better now. I can fix what I broke. I can say I’m sorry. I can change my behavior. I can do it different next time. Because I learned, okay, I have a conscience. I have the Holy Spirit. I’ve been convicted. Guilty. It was me. Now I want to make it better. Such a healthier place to be. 

That original Facebook post where the woman first said she swore and she was being encouraged to feel shame. You know something’s wrong with her. Here’s what I would have told her to think if I was coaching her. I am a human. I love God. I want to please God when I swear I don’t feel in alignment with my faith, and I want to learn to please God more with my behavior. Man can you see? Those kind of thoughts could allow her to move towards feeling something different, like commitment to God or love for God. How do you think the emotion of love would influence her behavior? How do you think the emotion of commitment would influence her behavior? From love and commitment, she’d probably increase her awareness of her language and start catching herself before she said something. Or be inspired to come up with a creative new way. Creative, uh, new words. I mean, like, um, oh, I could just say sugar or whatever to replace the old ones. Or like, I do, I say Jiminy Crickets, and my kids are like, well, now, that’s a swear word. I’m like, Darn it. Oh, darn it. I shouldn’t say that either, right? Okay. Anyway, she would feel love and acceptance, the kind that God heaps on us, and then she would decide saying or could decide saying, oh, my God, that’s now my new way of bringing God more into the moments of my life. I get to call out to God all day long, and she could notice it. She could just embrace it. Oh, my God. What a great idea. Oh, my God. I love it. I’m telling you, Christ loves you just as you are today. I couldn’t get that across on Facebook, but you listening if I didn’t make that clear to you. Come on. He accepts you as his daughter. He accepts you as his child. He delights in you today, right now, and so do I. And I think you should, too, if you want to have the mind of Christ love and acceptance. It is for yourself and for others, and from that place of loving and accepting you and loving God more and more and more each day. As you grow in your relationship with Him, you get to be inspired to bring glory to Him and worship Him. That’s how our behavior changes. Take care of you and what you let yourself think and the emotions that come up in your brain. It’s allowed. That’s all I have for today. So I will talk to you next week. Until then, take care of you. 

As an advanced, certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.Com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.

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