I’ve had a problem for several decades around self-care. I have read several Christian and secular books, worked through materials from international coaching experts, and implemented a number of strategies to take care of myself by building Sabbath rest into my schedule.
Living in my mission to facilitate change in individuals and relationships brought joy to my heart. But my heavily scheduled activities of couples weekends, men’s retreats, marriage intensives, writing materials and speaking engagements also left me physically compromised. I would schedule a day or two of rest but would always feel shame about not being productive.
The Prison of Shame
The more I tried to make my self rest, the more frustration I would feel. The lie that I had believed and lived out of was that “I am not of any value unless I am being productive.” It was a weight that caused me illnesses, fatigue and shame. It was costing my wife, kids, family and friends as I was not fully present in our time together.
Lies about ourselves that we live out of are being researched today under the definition of shame. Here’s the truth, according to the latest research, about shame:
- Everyone has it.
- Nobody wants to talk about it.
- The less you talk about it, the more of it you have.
Shame lies that block us from freedom include self talk like:
- I’m not good enough.
- I don’t have what it takes.
- I am broken/defective/broken.
- I am bad.
- I am unlovable.
- I have no value/worth.
- I don’t matter.
- I’m weak.
- I’m undesirable.
Breaking Out Of The Shame Prison
I recently did some transformational work in a community of Crucible Project brothers around freedom. During the process I became aware for the first time that the lie had come online for me early in my life. I was able to revisit the “scene of the crime” where I picked up the lie. Good people in my life as a child had unintentionally sent me the message that I was only valuable when I performed well academically or athletically.
I discovered a boy within me that just wanted to be loved for who he was, regardless of what he did. The process allowed me to give my little boy the unconditional love that he so desperately needed. And in that work, I found freedom from that shameful message and a new truth about my self that will allow me to rest without guilt. Here are some more truths about shame from research:
- Shame cannot withstand exposure.
- Naming and owning the shameful lie takes its power away.
- Claiming the truth creates possibility for change and a new future.
God told us in the first century through his servant James what research is revealing today. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16). Healing takes place when we name our shame in front of others!
What about you?
Don’t do life alone. The Crucible Project brotherhood is not about great weekend retreats. It is about developing support for a lifetime of transformational growth for men. Coaching calls, groups (in person and virtual), second level retreats, and communities are available and ready for you to “call on me brother, when you need a hand.”
- Where in your life do you feel like you are in a prison?
- What is keeping you from living free?
- What are the shame lies that pop into your head and derail you?
- Do you have a strong and safe place to experience transformational work and break free from your shame prisons?
- Are you willing to take a risk and see what life is like for you to live in freedom?
– By Roy Wooten
Roy completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009 and has been the longtime leader of The Crucible Project community in Houston. Roy and his wife Devra have led over 175 of their Life Together Forever Couples Weekends and are the authors of The Secret to Lifetime Love: Speaking and Hearing Truth. He also authored Full Throttle Into Fatherhood and is the Executive Director of Shield Bearer Counseling Centers in Houston, Texas. Follow Roy at LifeTogetherForever.com.
Photo Credit: Greg Westfall via FLICKR.