Shame-filled to Shame-free

Christine unwrapped her sandwich, completely unaware of the scornful expressions on the faces of her Kindergarten classmates.  “Mmmmm . . . feta cheese and olive,” she thought, taking that first delectable bite.

“What’s that stinky stuff you’re eating,” wailed one boy, wrinkling his nose in disgust. “She’s eating Greek cheese!” someone announced.  “No wonder Greeks stink!”

Surrounded by scowling faces, Christine Caine was being schooled in shame, and even though her six-year-old self did not have a word to wrap around her feelings on that day, she spent twenty-two years of her life battling the feelings of rejection that came as a result of events that followed this early memory.  Ethnic bias, childhood abuse, and the perception that her Type A personality was unacceptable to her family and to her teachers taught her to hide her true self, and it became clear to her that shame had an agenda — a curriculum —  that would rule her life if she allowed it to:

  1.  Shame teaches you to hide yourself, to hunker down wherever you can find a wall of protection.
  2.  Shame pushes you down and prevents you from becoming all you could be.
  3.  Shame whispers lies to your soul about the character of God and His love for you.

Overcoming these lies has been a miracle of grace in Christine’s life, and she shares her journey in Unashamed, and then challenges her readers to come out of hiding and accept the very same grace that God offered to Adam and Eve when they responded to His call and emerged from their long-ago hiding place.  The fact that their Genesis 2:25 status of shame-free living came to a crashing conclusion when they disobeyed God reveals the connection between shame and guilt.  Brene Brown helpfully distinguishes between the two:

Shame is “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.  .  . Guilt says, ‘You’ve done something bad.’ Shame says: ‘You are bad.’  There is a big difference between ‘you made a mistake’ and ‘you are a mistake.’

Christine summarizes it this way:

“Guilt is about my do.   Shame is about my who.”

Shame kept Adam and Eve hiding from God, rather than running to Him to deal with their guilt.

Enter:  The Gospel.

The rescuing truth is two-fold.  Romans 3:23 verifies our guilt; Psalm 139:14 testifies to our value and worth to God, and this is the truth around which we must shape our lives.  Christine calls the love of our crucified Savior “the key that will unfasten the shackles of shame.”

The same voice that coaxed Adam and Eve out of hiding invites you to be found and known.  The heart of compassion that brought the woman of Mark 5 out of hiding and into healing is found in the God who calls us “Daughter.”  He invites those who are tired of bleeding into His family where what is hidden in the dark is brought into the healing Light and loses its power.

Joining God in His work on this earth, Christine found Mercy and began living out the Truth that God could weave her leadership skills and her outgoing personality and her passion for ministry into His implementation of the Great Commission.

This did not happen overnight.

Overcoming fear of rejection, embracing her God-given power of choice to “move past her past,” looking at her future through a “resurrection lens” instead of a “shame lens,” and taking the risk of intimacy felt like coming out of a wilderness life and learning to live in deliverance and freedom.

Skillfully straddling memoir and manifesto, Christine shares lessons learned in the cauldron of leadership and the sometimes painful realization that “wounded people wound people, but healed people bind up wounds.”  In her personal journey from shattered to restored, God has set Christine’s course on the path of forgiveness and growing trust.  Working to rescue victims of trafficking and to help women “internalize a leadership identity and fulfill their purpose, passion, and potential” has been Christine’s way of living out her identity in Christ and of demonstrating to the world that none of the pain she endured in her past was wasted.  God has redeemed it all, and the message of Unashamed invites women to set their feet on Truth, “unwavering in purpose and unstoppable in [the journey] from shame-filled living to shame-free living.”

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This book was provided by Zondervan, through the BookLook Bloggers program, in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author : Michele Morin

Michele Morin

Michele Morin blogs at Living Our Days where she writes about the books she is reading, the grace she is receiving, and the truth from God that she is trusting. She has been married to a patient man for 26 years and is Mum to four young men and a daughter-in-love. Her days are spent homeschooling, reading piles of books, and, in the summer, tending a beautiful (but messy) garden and canning the vegetables.

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