If you want to fly, you need to break free from the stuff that weighs you down –
Why am I so stressed? – Session Two
Could inner shame be behind why I am so stressed, anxious and sometimes depressed?
In this second of ten teaching sessions Bill and Wilma Watson will seek to answer the question “Why am I so stressed, anxious and sometimes depressed?”
Inner shame keeps us from experiencing God’s love, loving ourselves, and sharing God’s love with others.
I truly believe that, if we all took hold of and laid claim to what Jesus did on the cross to remove our shame, we would all, in a personal way, experience more of God’s love and power and be passionate in sharing His love with others.
Hungry for more of God’s presence, I knelt down by my bed and told God that, whatever the cost, I wanted all He had for me.
I surrendered my life totally to God, and instantly I felt God’s love flowing over me like waves. I was experiencing God’s love in a way I had never felt before. I was immersed in His love and I didn’t want it to ever end. I was in love! I was with God in a greater measure! I was in love with everyone!
I now wanted everyone to not just know about God’s love, but to experience for themselves how wonderful His love is. So I asked Father God to show me if there was anything in my life that would stop me from being used to help others experience His love.
While reading a book on shame, God showed me that this was a key to understanding why people were not able to experience for themselves the love of God.
In this session and the next, I’ll reveal how shame affects our everyday lives. Later I’ll show you how you can break free from shame.
Before I begin let me pray. Press play for audio.
I’m going to personalize the prayer so that you can pray along with me
Father God, in Your love take the veil off my eyes, go in to the deep places of my heart, and point out to me anything in my life that prevents me from experiencing Your love. In Jesus’ wonderful name, I ask it. Amen
If you want an indication as to how well you’re doing in your walk with God, look at how well you deal with stress. How are you coping?
We live in a very stressful society and stress is affecting us all emotionally, physically and spiritually.
When I was nursing in Southern Ethiopia seeing up to 80 patients a day I never saw any cancer, mental illness or heart conditions because of the slower pace of life they lived.
Think about that? Do you think that the stress of life is affecting your physical and mental health?
As a nurse I always like to find the root cause of a person’s condition. Whether physical or emotional.
I want to suggest to you that a root cause of stress and anxiety – is shame
The type of shame I’m going to be referring to is not the result of public disgrace – an outward shaming – like when someone names and shames you on Facebook.
As painful as outward shaming can be, in this teaching, I’ll be referring to an unhealthy, hidden, inward shame. It’s a type of shame that creates a sense of low self-worth.
It’s not necessarily from DOING anything wrong, but the FEELINGS and thoughts that you are somehow wrong, defective, inadequate or not good enough.
In 2 Corinthians, it tells us to renounce the things that are hidden through shame. Hidden, because we seek to cover up our shame.
The Apostle Paul begins in chapter 4 verse 2, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we don’t faint”. He goes on to say in verse 4 (WEB):
We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully.
In the book of Genesis chapter two we read that, before Adam and Eve sinned, they felt good about themselves and “were not ashamed”. Continue to read on in Genesis 3:10 and you’ll soon discover that Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s instructions and gave in to the devil’s temptation.
The Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you? He replied, I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Adam lost God’s presence and when God asked where he was, he replied, “I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself”. Shame causes us to hide!
Adam lost God’s presence, and hid from God. Shame causes us to hide from God and others! Having sinned, Adam experienced guilt, and now, considering himself flawed he endeavoured to cover his shame.
As a result of sin, that cloak of shame has been passed onto all mankind.
Satan put shame, guilt and fear on Adam and Eve. God wasn’t playing hide and seek with Adam and Eve in the garden when he called, “Where are you?”
He wanted them to admit that they had sinned, that they had lost His presence and were ashamed. But instead, one blamed the other, the serpent, and even God for their actions.
As we uncover shame, you’ll see how we project our shame on to others. We’ll discuss how inner shame can be fuelled through one’s own guilt, like Adam and Eve.
Inner shame drives you to blame others
Because we live in a fallen world, we are all vulnerable to shame. Christine Caine writes:
I see shame everywhere I look in the world, including in the church. It creeps from heart to heart, growing in shadowy places, feeding on itself so that those struggling with it are too shamed to seek help from shame itself.
Even though you know differently as a Christian, hidden shame or inner shame, as I like to call it, makes you feel that you are never enough.
Can you relate to any one of these? A feeling of not being good enough.
Don’t love enough.
Or tidy enough.
We all can brush off our feelings of guilt and further shame with the belief that no one will ever know what I’m feeling and thinking. As we dig deeper and further uncover shame, we’ll discover that inner shame encourages more shame.
Inner Shame fuels your inner critic
Inner shame fuels your inner critic causing you to be hard on yourself, always feeling you could do better, or should have done better.
Your inner critic can say things like:
So where do these negative thoughts come from? The negative thoughts can come from issues of the heart that cause us to believe a lie about ourselves, which gives Satan a foothold to further accuse or torment us. He wants to remind us of our past failures and sins.
Inner shame has many faces
We are now going to look at some of the many faces of inner shame.
1. Inner shame creates a need to control yourself and others
The question is: “Are you being controlled or do you feel that you need to be in control?” Do you feel the need to control yourself and maybe others at times to ensure that nobody discovers your real self?
“I must ensure that NO ONE discovers my real self!”
Or, do you want to be in control in order to feel secure? Insecurity, as we will see later, emerges from inner shame.
2. Inner shame can show itself through stress, fear and anxiety
Working hard and trying to gain a sense of security and self-worth through your successes can be very stressful!
A high school teacher came to us for prayer. He had a medical condition brought on by anxiety and stress. He told us that he was a control freak. When the students didn’t do what he asked, he would find it stressful and get frustrated and angry. Stress and anxiety became a habit and he was now suffering in his health.
Do you find life stressful?
As we have seen in the case of the school teacher, anxiety and stress can affect our health.
It affects our immune, endocrine, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems. Anxiety and stress produces a cortisol drip which compromises the immune system.
We are looking at the many faces of shame and here is another one.
3. Inner shame shows itself through either a desire to please or rebellion
Inner shame is likely to show itself in a dysfunctional family, driving family members to either please to be accepted, or to rebel.
Inner shame is behind the lack of respect that we see in the world today, for when you don’t value yourself, you are not able to truly love and respect others.
When you teach your children how to be free from inner shame, you’ll empower them to show respect to others, because they have learned to respect themselves.
Here is another side of a dysfunctional family. Emotions are often repressed or, in order to feel better about oneself, they criticize and blame others in the family.
The unspoken rule is to cover up and keep secrets so that no one really knows how flawed we are.
We are looking at the many faces of inner shame and how it is outworked in our everyday life.
4. Inner shame can show itself through relationship breakdown
Whenever there is a divorce, separation, adultery or family alienation you have to take a good look at inner shame.
“Why is that?” you ask. Because inner shame prohibits intimacy in marriage and in other relationships.
It’s difficult to really be open and let someone get close to you if you feel somewhat imperfect as a human being.
Shame, rejection, condemnation and guilt play a major role in marriage breakdowns.
This is how I see these emotions often played out. Have you ever discovered that the person you are talking to totally misinterprets what you have just said?
Satan wants to destroy relationships, particularly marriages, and so from the time the words come out of your mouth and reach the other person, they’re twisted and your partner hears something different and feels “put down”.
Harsh and hurtful words, pushing each other’s buttons, and the inability to receive and give love and forgiveness, destroy relationships.
Can you identify with having been “put down”? Are you struggling in a relationship? Let me strongly suggest that if you are hurting, having been through or are going through a relationship breakdown, keep going through the sessions as you will be healed and able to love again.
The next outworking of shame is a huge problem in our society today, and that’s ABUSE. Abuse is when you are used to meet the unmet emotional needs of your abuser and left feeling abandoned with your emotional needs unfulfilled.
5. Inner shame is behind abuse
All abuse, whether physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual or verbal springs from inner shame.
In every case of abuse there is an acting out of inner shame and a victimization of the innocent. A low self-worth comes from inadequate nurturing as a result of either emotional, verbal, physical or sexual abuse as a child.
If you are in an abusive situation let me encourage you to seek help. Inner shame through fear, causes us to cover up, and keeps you in a state of co–dependency.
The first step out of an abusive situation is to uncover your pain.
We had a very dear friend who was active in the life of the church. We had no idea that she was being abused at home. When it was exposed the police were able to assist her to leave as they feared for her life.
Also it may surprise you to know that:
6. Inner shame is the root of all addictions
John Bradshaw writes in his book, “Healing the Shame that Binds You”, which Jaime Burgess will now read.Press play for audio or read on.
“I used to drink. The more I drank to relieve my shame-based loneliness and hurt, the more I felt ashamed. Shame begets shame. I came to see that shame is one of the major destructive forces in all human life. In naming shame I began to have power over it.”
Bradshaw goes onto say:
“All addicts have a false belief system that no one could want them or love them as they are. In fact addicts can’t love themselves. Addicts distorted thinking can be reduced to the belief that they will feel better if they drink, eat, have sex, get more money or work harder.”
We are going to suggest some addictions! Hear my heart, they are not meant to make you feel guilty. The aim is to show you that shame is the root cause behind your addiction!
God wants to set you free from shame and when you are free from inner shame and secure in Father God’s love, your addiction will not be an issue.
So is there an addiction within the following list that you can identify with?
OK, so you don’t take hard drugs, but what about prescription drugs? You may not have a major eating disorder, but what about being addicted to sugar or caffeine? What about being angry, afraid or anxious? Are they something you can’t control?
When I saw these addictions, the one that stood out to me the most was self-righteousness and pride because I saw it in my grandmother. My grandmother was so proud, such a perfectionist, so much so that she had her husband live in the back shed so that the house would always be looking perfect.
Inner shame creates two sides to you
On one side you have a low self-esteem and, in order for you to feel better about yourself, on the other side you have self-righteousness and pride.
The Webster’s Dictionary speaks of self-righteous as, “proper, moral in one’s own opinion.”
If you find yourself judging others, feeling that others are selfish, deceptive, controlling, proud or greedy etc. (all the things you can’t see in yourself), and they should do the changing, not YOU, then maybe you are self-righteous.
Self-righteousness causes us to not see ourselves as others see us
We see life through a filter. That filter or veil has covered our eyes.
The filter, through inner shame, is called self-righteousness and pride.
We are looking at inner shame as the root that fuels all addictions or uncontrolled cravings. Here some more possible addictions.
Pornography? You may not be going out and buying a pornographic magazine, but the internet draws you in. And what about activity addictions? Yes, competitiveness, excessive working and excessive talking can have their roots in shame and be addictive.
If you find you have to do or have an activity and it’s excessive, it can be classed as addictive; such as watching television, playing video games or exercising.
The list can appear intense, but again let me say I’m not mentioning these to make you feel bad but to show you the root behind the addiction – which is inner shame.
Are you wondering why social media is addictive? According to neuro-scientists, Dopamine, which is released in the brain, compels us to want, desire, seek out, and search for more and it’s never satisfied.
Press play for audio and Jaime Burgess will read what Susan Weinschenk wrote or just continue reading.
“Do you ever feel like you are addicted to the email or twitter or texting? The culprit is dopamine! Dopamine loops – Dopamine starts you seeking, then you get rewarded for seeking which makes you seek more. It becomes harder and harder to stop looking at email, stop texting, or stop checking your cell phone to see if you have a message or a new text. It’s possible for the dopamine system to keep saying, “More, more, more!” Causing you to keep seeking even when you have found the information.
Whatever the addiction, the dopamine system plays a part, causing us to crave for more, more, more!
We have looked at inner shame as the root that fuels all addictions or uncontrolled cravings. As you can see, shame is a major problem in our society today. Let’s have a break and continue to see more of the outworking of inner shame when we return.
Why am I so stressed, anxious and sometimes depressed?
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YDYC (Your Destiny Your Choice) videos and demonstrations have been produced by Wilma Watson. All other videos are from SermonSpice.com.