On April 9, 2019, I wrote one of the ugliest journal entries ever. I was the closest I had ever come to making the decision to share my writing, and then, it crept in. It always does.
Shame loves to eat away at every motivating moment I have. Here is just an excerpt of all the many reasons shame told me why I shouldn’t start my blog. I translate them now through the tear-spotted pages and scribbled ink:
Your story is boring. It’s not that amazing or unique. You don’t have enough for a whole book or blog. Do you realize how long this will take you? The world does not need another author. There are enough Instagram influencers to do what you are wanting to do. Not enough experience. No one relates to you. People will judge you. Your life is private, and sharing it will ruin you. It’s cheesy. It’s overdone. No one cares.
Famous shame researcher Brulé Brown says,
“Shame drives two big tapes: ‘never good enough’ and if you can talk it out of that one, ‘who do you think you are?'”Brené Brown
Every time I got past the first lie that I would never be good enough and began writing, I would feel so stupid for even believing I could inspire someone with my talents. And if I wanted to step out on a limb and do it, I would need to craft a perfect image of myself that people would think is good enough. And never, absolutely never, could I be truly real about the crap going on in my life. Because that would be detrimental to any dream I had.
If you couldn’t tell, shame makes us hide. It makes us pretend. It makes us lie. When I pondered starting this blog,
part of me all of me wanted you to think I have a perfect life. Not so deep down, I wanted you to think that I have a perfect career, perfect marriage, perfect understanding of my calling, perfect friendships, perfect finances, and make mistakes gracefully. I thought painting a perfect picture (which is incredibly easy to do on the Internet because the ‘edit’ button) was going to make you look up to me and value my writing.
Thankfully, through lots of prayer and conversations with friends and family, I realized how consequential authenticity is to pursuing my dreams. I choose to be authentic as a writer, because I want these letters to not only make you chuckle on occasion, see a new perspective, but perhaps find what you are looking for. To remind you that you aren’t alone. Like you don’t have to hide.
So, here is the real picture of my current life:
As for my career, I don’t deeply love what I do each day. As for my marriage, Ben and I have gone through some of the hardest, most un-pretty things in the past year and have spent several hours together in front of a counselor. As for this blog, I really don’t know where (if anywhere) it is going to take my life, and my dreams for it are so big that it’s embarrassing. As for my finances, I am in debt. As for my friendships, I’m struggling to make new friends right now, and I pray every night for community. As for my mistakes, I rarely admit those – and when I do, I make them funny so people will like me more and miss my real insecurities.
Do you see how hard I work to hide my shame? It’ s truly a second full-time job. And guys, it can absolutely paralyze you from doing what you are called. Brené Brown continues to highlight shame by stating,
“If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially. Secrecy, silence, and judgement.”Brené Brown
Shame will tell you that secrecy, silence, and judgement will save you. That your reputation revolves around never sharing your truth. Never revealing that terrible memory with anyone. Never admitting to making that bad choice when you were younger. Never showing empathy for someone who chooses to be vulnerable. Never connecting with another who has your same struggles. Never letting someone know you are hurting. Never acknowledging your weaknesses. Never showing your true self.
I believe that in order to see God’s heart on this earth, we have to be willing to be vulnerable. We have to become bold enough to share our realities to those closest to us. We have to share our unique stories.
Tonight, I am writing a new journal entry. Here’s what I scribbled down underneath that ugly page from April 9:
You are courageous. Your story is for a purpose bigger than this world. Your words will intersect with someone’s life. Because of you, one person might feel less alone. Your passions should not be ignored and are worth sharing with the world. Your bravery will inspire others to be brave. In doing what you love and revealing what you are ashamed of, you will find your calling.
Friends, I am praying that you become strong enough take a match to your shame. Light it up. Tell somebody. Be willing to feel embarrassed for a moment so that you can move mountains in the future. I hope what you find when you do is a deeper connection to your true self, to others, and to your calling.