When A Christian Struggles with Shame

Many people are held captive by their own internal dialogue around shame. Have you mentally berated yourself for eating those carbs or failing to follow your diet once again? How often have you played a scene over and over in your mind — the scene where you failed or you disappointed someone? Shaming yourself is very demotivating. It doesn’t help you to make needed changes. Even worse, feelings from years ago can continue to bother you and impact your life today.

Biblical counseling can teach you how to take harmful thoughts captive so that you have freedom in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:10 reads: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When A Christian Struggles with Shame

Can Shame Have a Place?

Shame or guilt can be helpful if you truly hurt someone and you need to apologize or correct a mistake. If you’ve stolen from your employer or cheated on your spouse, then yes, some remediation needs to take place. Journaling about your shame may help you to be more objective. Talking to a Christian counselor can help you sort through and process your feelings. Confessing sinful behavior to the Lord and asking forgiveness has great power to give you a fresh start.

When Judging Yourself Is Wrong

If you inadvertently insulted a friend, and you’ve apologized and tried to make it right, there is no place for shame. If you ate cookies and skipped a healthy meal when you arrived home tired and ravenous after work, refuse to judge yourself. Eat a little protein to balance out the meal. Try to not listen to or indulge thoughts that you are inadequate and not enough. The Lord doesn’t expect perfection from us, but He does ask us to leave sin behind and move forward. Ask Him to enable you to surrender what needs to be surrendered — and not everything does — and move forward.

Ask Some Questions

Is shame helping you to avoid a situation or giving you an excuse? After all, if you are binging on candy and then sleeping it off, there’s no time to clean the house or see friends. Or maybe it’s an excuse to ditch your eating plan and put off starting Whole 30 or intermittent fasting until tomorrow.  Feelings of shame may represent a deep-seated fear that needs to be brought to light and worked through.  Often we don’t feel that we are living up to our potential or to others’ expectations for us, and that invites shame. Examine your fears and their origins. Christian counseling can help you to sort out your feelings and give a bigger perspective.

Are Feelings Reality?

Sometimes we entertain bitter thoughts about ourselves that aren’t reality. Usually, we don’t know what others think of us or if we’ve offended them in some way. We worry about things that will never happen or that are in the past, and by doing that we rob ourselves of energy and joy. If we can’t know something for certain, it is healthy to let it go. Even if something was true at the time, most likely the other people involved don’t remember it now. If they do, and you’ve tried to make amends, it is no longer your responsibility. Prayer has great power to restore relationships or give you the strength to leave them behind.

We often treat ourselves differently than we treat others. Be honest, but always be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself and others, take responsibility for actions you should take, and move forward in grace. We invite you to contact us to explore Christian counseling.

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