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Friday, January 7, 2011
This is the 7th and final part of a series on the effects of shame on marital intimacy. Go back here to start at the beginning of the series.

To this point in the series I’ve gone through a number of specific sources of shame. Many times the cause of shame can be quite specific. There are, however, some who suffer from a generalized form of shame. I’m speaking of those who, for one reason or another, just don’t like who they are. I’ll refer to this here as shame of self.

Contrary to the other types of shame we’ve covered, shame of self is not triggered by a single specific action or event. Rather, it is typically the accumulation of many accusations, self-doubts and minor incidents that have left you feeling in the end like you just aren’t good enough, like you just don’t measure up, unacceptable and unaccepted.

In many ways this kind of general sense of unworthiness and shame is more difficult to overcome than the kind that is more specific. There may be many layers of shame that have built up over time and many lies that you have come to believe about yourself. But the solution to breaking free from shame of self isn’t all that different than breaking free from the other types of shame.

Breaking Free From Shame

Let me quote a segment from this post on how shame is a lousy motivation for change.
For Christians, this starts with the acceptance of God and the realization that he made us how we are and that loves us unconditionally. Accept that you are his creation, quirks and flaws and all, and that He is absolutely mad about you. He made you worth loving – he made you so he could love you, not so you would do something for him and conform to a list of behavioral expectations. And when we become Christ followers we can accept the forgiveness and perfect righteousness that is ours though Christ Jesus. We are a new creation.
That may sound simplistic, but there is SO much power to overcome shame in understanding how God really feels about you. The Apostle Paul tells us it is THE key to a life of fullness:
Eph 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Seek Divine Revelation

I have spent a great deal of time studying and praying the prayers of the Apostles, such as the one above. They are the prayers that are on God’s heart, prayers that he earnestly longs to answer. Why else would he have put them down in his Word?

If you suffer from shame of self, I encourage you to take a few days, a week or even a month and to focus and pray the passage for yourself.
  • Tell God you want to know his emotions and thoughts toward you.
  • Ask for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in your inner being (= heart & soul = mind, will and emotions)
  • Ask for faith to believe what he reveals to you
  • Ask for divine revelation of his love
  • Ask for the fullness of God
  • Ask your spouse to pray for and with you in this endeavor
You desire intimacy. We all do. We are wired for it. Refuse to let feelings of shame and unworthiness block intimacy with God and keep you from deeper intimacy with your spouse. Let the acceptance that is yours in Christ strengthen your heart, strengthen your life in God and strengthen your marriage.

I pray that as you seek the face of God on this, that the darkness of shame will flee from your life in the light of the truth that you a fully known and deeply loved by God


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