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Feeling Alone

I thought it was just me, but it isn’t.

Shame. A silent epidemic. No one wants to acknowledge it. No one wants to speak of it. I get it. But the reality is we’ve all experienced it. Whether we want to admit it or not. Shame is a hard topic to discuss. But if we keep ignoring it in ourselves or others, we’ll never be able to walk confidently in who God has uniquely created us to be.

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Getting rid of your shame and disgrace.

The Voice of Shame

The voice of shame is cruel, insensitive, demeaning, degrading and destructive. It strips us of hope for a positive future and it poisons our perspective, damages our sense of power and robs us of fulfilling our potential and purpose. Shame deceives us into believing we are inherently bad, unwanted, unlovable, undesirable and unworthy of unconditional love, acceptance, and belonging.

 

If you are familiar with the character Miss Hattie from the movie Despicable Me, you can hear the voice of shame loud and clear—particularly when she tells Edith “You’re never gonna get adopted, Edith. You know that, don’t you?” And poor 8-year-old Edith aligns with this lie by saying, “Yeah, I know.”

 

The sad truth is so many of us are just like little Edith. We incline our ears to the voice of shame that screams you’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough, successful enough, capable enough, competent enough or perfect enough—you’re never gonna be loved, belong or be accepted.” And like Edith, we agree with shame and say—“Yeah, I know.”

 

Shame. The Silent Epidemic

Shame researcher Dr. Brene Brown refers to shame as a silent epidemic because it’s associated with internalizing and externalizing disorders such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and violence. In her book “I thought it was just me but it isn’t”, Brene shares how studies have identified shame as the “dominant emotion experienced by mental health clients, exceeding anger, fear, grief, and anxiety (pages 3-4).” Because shame is such a destructive device of the enemy—we need to expose it so we can effectively know how to oppose it.

 

12 COMMON SHAME CATEGORIES FOR WOMEN

According to Brene’s research, there are 12 categories that women feel the most shame (page 73):

Categories

  1. Appearance/body image
  2. Motherhood
  3. Family
  4. Parenting
  5. Money/Work
  6. Mental and Physical health
  7. Sex
  8. Aging
  9. Religion
  10. Being stereotyped and labeled
  11. Speaking out 
  12. Surviving trauma 

Becoming Shame Resilient

The reality is every human being has experienced (or will experience) the deeply disturbing feeling of shame.

But the most important question we must ask ourselves isn’t “how can I avoid shame?” The most important question is, “how can I become more shame resilient? Before I share Brene’s shame resilience framework with you, I want to share one of my own shame stories with you. Listen to My Story below.

After you listen, consider the following questions and prompts below by Dr. Brene Brown to help you strengthen your shame resilience. 

 


Self-Reflection Zone

 

Recognizing Shame and understanding your triggers:

    • I physically feel shame in/on my _______________________.
    • I know I’m in shame when I feel  _______________________.

Practicing Critical Awareness:

    • Which of the 12 categories do I feel the most shame? (see list above.) ________________________.
    • I want to be perceived as ________________________. (list 3-5 wanted identities)
    • I do NOT want to be perceived as ____________________. (list 3-5 unwanted identities).
    • I’m most likely to ‘move away’ when: _______________________.
    • I’m most likely to ‘move toward’ when:_______________________.
    • I’m most likely to ‘move against’ when:_______________________.

Reaching out and telling our story:

    • Which safe and compassionate people can I reach out to hear my story and provide me with the emotional support I need when I’m experiencing shame? _______________________
      • _______________________
      • _______________________

Additional Resources and Encouragement 

  • Listen to Christine Caine’s story HERE
  • Check out Brene’s self-reflection worksheet on shame resilience HERE

 

 

Growth

Growth isn’t easy or comfortable. But it’s necessary for ensuring our psychological well-being and fulfilling our potential.

Pain and Pressure

Not too long ago, I was telling a friend how much I had grown over the past 3 years and she wanted to know my secret. So I simply said, “pain and pressure.” I think most of us want to grow personally AND professionally but we wouldn’t dare ask for more pain and pressure to be added to our lives right?

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purpose

How to Discover Your Purpose

A Purpose-Driven Life

The mission of discovering and fulfilling one’s purpose is a HOT topic these days. Everywhere you look there’s a book, advertisement or podcast about how to discover your purpose. Heck, there’s even a Life Purpose Institute in California designed to certify folks as professional PURPOSE coaches. Pastor Rick Warren wrote an entire book and devotional on how to discover and live a purpose-driven life which also includes a purpose-driven life assessment.

 

Knowing why you were created is not only critical to your psychological well-being, it’s critical for your spiritual well-being. Pastor Rick Warren says,
“If you didn’t create yourself, you can’t discover the meaning and purpose for your life by yourself.”

 

Knowing the purpose of your life directly impacts what you do with your life. When you don’t know the purpose for something, you don’t know what function it is to perform or fulfill. After you’ve read this post, be sure to download my free personal reflection worksheet I created to help you process your divine purpose.

Do you know your God-Given Purpose on Earth?

Knowing why you’ve been created can not be discovered apart from knowing the One who created you. To discover your purpose is to first discover your creator. Only your creator can share the purpose for you–his BEST creation.

 

Our creator God had a specific purpose in mind for creating you and it’s up to you to not only discover it but willingly surrender to it.

  • If I were to ask you if you have a sense of direction and purpose for your life, how would you answer me?
  • If I were to ask you if you know what you were created to do on this earth, what would you say?
  • How about if I asked you how does your work(job, career, vocation, etc.) align with your God-given purpose?
  • And what if I asked you how you’re living out your God-given purpose each day. What would you say?

 

Your Purpose is found in your Creator

Did you find those questions easy or difficult to answer? Do you have clarity on your purpose or are you seeking to still gain clarity? When we look to God’s word concerning who we are and why we’ve been created, here’s what I’ve discovered:

 

  • We are God’s workmanship, His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works he has prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)
  • We are a royal priesthood, God’s special possession and because of that, we are to proclaim His goodness in the world. (1 Pt2:9)
  • We are Christ’s ambassadors, His chosen ones who are to speak His wonderful message of reconciliation and salvation in this world. (2 Cor. 5:18-20)
  • We are created to reconcile unbelievers to God because He’s not willing that any should perish but all come to repentance (2Pt.3:9).
  • We have been commissioned to go into all the world as Christ’s witnesses—training up others to be followers of Christ’s teachings. (Mt 28:19).
  • We are to share the reason for the hope we have (1 Pt.3:15).

 

This is why we’ve been created. To be Christ’s witnesses and ambassadors who proclaim good news–the news of Christ’s salvation and gift of eternal life for all who beleive in Him.

Discovering Your Unique Mission

Now that you know WHY you’ve been created (to be Christ’s witness and ambassador) AND are aware of WHAT God has created you to do (good works) —you must now discover the specific type of good works He has for you to do using the unique gifts He’s given YOU.

 

Knowing your specific ‘good works’ requires you to be aware of your God-given passions, interests, strengths, talents, gifts, preferences, values, convictions, desires, burdens and dreams. All of these elements (and many more) are tools that He uses to guide you to the good works He’s uniquely created you to do.

 

To put it plainly. It’s up to us to discover HOW God has uniquely fashioned us so we can align our divine design to the specific work He’s gifted and purposed us to do. And our work shouldn’t just be to serve our selves. It should be work that glorifies God and demonstrates love, compassion, kindness and service toward others.

 

There’s a lot of ‘good works’ that need to be done in our world. And God’s word is FULL of instructions on how we are to love God and love people. The good works we are to do can be summed up in one word: LOVE. No Matter our profession, passions, preferences or position in life, we are to love God and people, as we love ourselves.

 

 Asking ourselves the Right Question

So. Instead of asking ourselves “What is my purpose?”, maybe we should be asking ourselves…

 

“How can I BEST love God, myself and others using the unique gifts, talents, passions and interests He has purposely placed inside of me?”
As we discover the answer to THIS question, I believe we will have gained more insight into the what and how of our purpose. Knowing your Why (purpose), leads to discovering your WHAT (unique mission) and your HOW (divine design) for fulfilling it.

 

  • Side note: Here’s a tool you can use to discover how God divinely designed or shaped you to do good works. You can access it online here or download a pdf of the S.H.A.P.E. test here.

 

Discover your Divine Design

It’s time to discover your divine design so you can know how God has equipped you to fulfill your God-given mission and in turn, your God-given purpose. Get clarity on who he’s created you to be so you can know what good works He’s prepared for you to go and do.

 

Now. There’s just one thing I want to emphasize to you above and beyond discovering your purpose and it’s this.
Pursuing your personal passions and interests can be a good thing to do, but pursuing God’s presence is the greatest thing you can do.
Because when you seek His presence above your purpose, you’ll discover everything else follows.

More Self-Discovery Tools and Assessments

If you’d like to explore the 5 PURPOSES of a purpose-driven life as defined by Pastor Rick Warren, take the Purpose Driven Life assessment here.

 

If you’d like to know and assess the 6 dimensions of our psychological well-being, check out this research-based Psychological Well-being assessment here.

 

If you’d like to know your spiriutal gifts, take the Spiritual Gifts assessment here.

Talk to Me

If this post inspired, motivated, encouraged or maybe even challenged you, I’d love to hear about it. Please share your story with me HERE. I can’t wait to connect with you!
Self-acceptance

Self-Acceptance is Loving the Skin You’re In.

Growing up, did you ever wish you could change your appearance? Maybe you wished your nose was smaller or your lips were bigger. Maybe you wished you had an hourglass shape rather than an athletic or full-figured shape. May you wished you had straight hair instead of curly hair. For me, I wanted long, straight hair because heck. That’s what ‘Barbie’ had and she was the standard of beauty back in the 80’s right?

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Imposter Syndrom

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

What is imposter syndrome?

  • Do you attribute your success to luck or coincidence?
  • Do you agonize over the smallest flaws or imperfections in your work?
  • When you succeed, do you secretly feel like you’ve fooled others again?
  • Do you worry that it’s just a matter of time before others find out you’ve been “running a game” on them?

 

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self-discovery

Lessons Learned through Self-Discovery.

GRATEFUL

I am SO GRATEFUL to have been able to enjoy another year of life and celebrate my birthday!! Although this past year included some BIG disappointments, I’ve learned more about myself (my strengths and weaknesses) and I’ve grown SO much through leadership pain and pressure. I am convinced the things that occurred in my life this past year did not happen to me–they happened for me. For my growth AND my good!!

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