In 2018, a truth bomb was dropped on me: I struggle with shame. In fact, my main problem is with shame. For years I thought I had a bunch of little, unrelated issues, but the truth is that it was one big monster issue of shame.
My perfectionism, workaholism, isolationism, anger, self-hatred, bitterness, and unforgiveness—all of it was rooted in shame.
Once I accepted this, I went on a research frenzy and wanted to learn as much as I could about shame, what others have done to combat shame in their lives, and how I could overcome this monster.
One day, while I was listening to the Fun Therapy episode with Maria Goff, she made some book recommendations that had helped her throughout her healing process and Healing the Shame that Binds You was one of them. This was particularly powerful for me because I had stumbled upon the book in my research but had disregarded it because it looked like it had been written in 1974. I had judged this book by its cover and had grossly misjudged it. Sorry, John Bradshaw.
I found a copy at a local used bookstore and reluctantly dove into it. Then it began reading my mail and I couldn’t put the book down. In the pages, Bradshaw was able to put to words things that I had felt but I hadn’t dared to voice myself. This book made me feel less alone in my struggle with shame.
Toxic shame wants to be God, distracting us from embracing the beauty of our flawed humanness.
The truth is that I don’t want to be human, it’s not enough for me: I want to be perfect. I’m suddenly understanding all of these superhero villains in comics and films who aren’t satisfied with merely being human—what an awkward position to be in.
Toxic shame says that I’m not good enough in my mere humanness. It shuns the idea of any goodness or beauty or excellence flowing from a truly flawed being. Instead, toxic shame tells me that I need to be more than I currently am and I have to do it on my own. No one else is to be relied upon, not even God—I have to do it all myself. And this is just one example of how toxic shame lies to us.
Throughout the book, Dr. Bradshaw shares story after story, including his own, of shame and how we can move past it.
The truth is that there is freedom from shame in Christ. He bore it on the cross and he paid the penalty for it. He lived and died so that we can live shame-free with a full relationship with the Father. That healing is available to us, we just have to be willing to take the necessary steps of surrender. We have to daily replace lies with truth, understand our triggers, and put ourselves in a position to be healed.
This book shone a light on my heart and mind, revealing things within me that I had been unaware of for years. God used this book to remove another layer of hurt and work another layer of healing. Now I know what toxic shame is and have a battle plan ready for when it launches another assault. More than that, I know that my Father loves and accepts me, even with the baggage of shame I’ve gathered over the years. And that’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Have you read Healing the Shame that Binds You?
Have you battled shame? If so, how are you living in victory today?
Don’t forget! Pick up your copy of A Proverb A Day today!
Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.