Two Responses

We all try to stand strong. Keep a stiff upper lip. Not to be needy or negative. But the truth is, we are all vulnerable. God created us like this. Although it feels like (& is often judged as) weakness.

So what do you do with vulnerability? Not only yours, but other people’s?

There are only two ways to respond to vulnerability. One creates connection & empowers people to become more like person God created us to be. The other response kills us. Dying a slow death in a painful process.

Empathy. We all need it. Even men. In case you are wondering.

Empathy is feeling with someone. Even if that someone is you. Allow the hurt, sadness, & fear to be experienced & expressed. Recalling what you have felt & being willing to sit with another in the same emotional state is perhaps the most precious gift you have to give.

“You know what you have — Jesus, your great High Priest with ready access to God — don’t let that knowledge slip through your fingers. You don’t have a Priest who is out of touch with your experience. He’s been through vulnerability & testing Himself. So walk right up to Him & get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy. Accept His help.” HEBREWS 4:15

Shame. The destructive response.

Shame is an emotion we all experience. But it doesn’t have to become a lifestyle. You don’t have to carry these thoughts with you:

  • You’re not good enough.
  • Who do you think you are?

Shame focuses on who you are. It’s different than guilt, which focuses on your behavior. Something you have (or haven’t) done that you wish you didn’t do (or wish that you did do).

  • Guilt is productive because it can motivate change.
  • Shame is debilitating because it tells you that you cannot change.

Are you unknowingly shaming others?
Perhaps the same way you have been shamed?

  • Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone.
  • The “it sucks to be you” mindset.
  • Superiority. Lecturing.
  • Giving advice.

Yes, we are vulnerable creatures. Shame can destroy us. Whereas empathy destroys shame & sets us free to receive God’s goodness. Jesus made it possible by taking on our shame in Divine Exchange:

“Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.” ISAIAH 61:7

 

 

Childhood Memories

Being from a divorced family was much more unique in the 1950s than it is now, and apparently something for a child to be ashamed of. I didn’t realize that until my Bluebird Troop visited our local radio station when I was 7. The announcer engaged in a live interview with each of the girls. Continue reading

Taken

Our subjective experience doesn’t always align with what really happens. What we experience & remember — not reality itself — determines our mindset. That is, until we encounter another mind-changing experience.

I was born a blue-eyed blonde who was the apple of her daddy’s eye. But shortly before I turned 3, my mom packed her friend’s car with some essential belongings & left town with my older brother and me … while my dad was at work. He had no idea what was coming. None of us did.

All these years later, I still find myself telling people that my dad left me. I still have a hard time connecting with the fact that I was actually taken from him. Because the result was profound. An indelible imprint on my personality & my self-concept.

Self-Assessment

  • What life event has had the greatest impact on your self-concept?
  • What was that impact & how is it still affecting how you do life & love?
  • How is The Holy Spirit helping you overcome any negative mindset you’ve been carrying with you?

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    & release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    & the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    & provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
& a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair. ISAIAH 61:1b-3a

“Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.” REVELATION 21:5

Lessons Learned

“Some people are in your life for a season. Others are in your life for a reason. Only Jesus is in your life for its duration. The former chapter has ended. Let go of what was & what might have been, then focus on the chapter you’re in now. Write your story in partnership with the Holy Spirit & watch your life become more beautiful than you ever imagined it could be.” – Dr. Debi Smith Continue reading