Guess what the headline was in the newspaper last Wednesday?– A cure was found for Hepatitis C!
Guess what my dad died of four weeks ago last Wednesday?– Complications from Hep C.
Let’s just say there was a flurry of emotions as Dad’s doctor is the leading researcher and was quoted often. To know Dad got the best of the best potential treatment, to know he lived MUCH longer than most with the disease, to know he was able to engage life more than most with the disease. All is blessing and mercy and we are grateful. To know, no matter how wonderful the news is, it can’t reverse the reality he is dead, is painful.
And this is why we are reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown. Becasue we live with the tension of the already/not yet of God’s kingdom. Amen? Amen. Mercies and pain. Both are true. Last week’s conversation touched on worthiness and the lines between sacred and secular. If you haven’t had a chance to read through the comments, it’s worth your time to do so.
Today we are finishing the introduction (Things that get in the way) and looking at Guidepost #1 (Cultivating Authenticity). Next week we’ll read and discuss Guidepost #2.
“Here’s the bottom line. If we want to live and love with our whole hearts, and if we want to engage with the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way — especially shame, fear, and vulnerability.”
Doesn’t that about sum up the initial consequences of the fall?! and what has gotten in the way ever since? When Brene’ talked about “how to” being a seductive short cut, that rang true for me. Wouldn’t it be tempting to have a short life of “how to not have shame?” But as we saw with fears last week at The Grove, there is not a “how to” that applies to each of us. But we are not without hope! Finding ways and places and people to talk with about our lives IS the how to.
I appreciate that Brene’ stressed it doesn’t have to be many people you talk to, but we each do need a person. Do you have one? Or several? Have you been able to foster safety both within your context and with someone who knew you pre-field? I have found having people in both camps has been life giving to me.
“Shame keeps worthiness away by convincing us that owning our stories will lead to people thinking less of us. Shame is all about fear.” I love the idea of a “shame storm” and bet that you, too, can relate to being caught up in them before. The Accuser would love to keep us in the storm, wouldn’t he? Comparing us to each other, comparing our ministries, our children, our language abilities, our histories and coming up short time after time. But the Good Shepherd reaches in and say, “There are ways out of this storm, for I came that you might have life.”
I loved the way she described what shame looks like. “According to Dr. Hartling, in order to deal with shame, some of us move away by withdrawing, hiding, silencing ourselves, and keeping secrets. Some of us move toward by seeking to appease and please. And some of us move against by trying to gain power over others, by being aggressive, and by using shame to fight shame.”
Last week I drove from Kansas to Colorado and decided to stop at the border and take my picture. Well, let’s just say the results brought these principles to life as the wind was blowing (sort of like a shame storm).
Can we say too close? Too far away? And finally, not perfect, but good enough? Shame hopes we’ll give up before the “good enough.”
And then on to authenticity, Guidepost #1! (Which we had a big dose of last week at The Grove!) I have a feeling many people fall into approaching authenticity the way Brene used to: either you have it or you don’t. Instead of seeing authenticity as something to be cultivated and more of a conscious choice. This was a rich chapter and I look forward to seeing what parts you’d like to tease out and discuss in the comment section.
What has gotten in your way of living the authentic life God wants for us? Thoughts on the chapter “Things that get in the way?” Are you aware of how the shame storms in your life look?
I’ll see you in the comments :).