Courage and Shame.

The other day I came across this super random story in 2 Kings 4:8-37, and by random, I mean it was never illustrated in my children’s study bible so I kind of forgot it was in there. Basically, it’s about this Shunammite woman who takes care of the prophet Elisha every time he comes through Shunem. After a time, Elisha acknowledges that she’s a true “hostess with the mostess,” and asks her if she wants anything. Her reply is, “Nothing. I’m secure and satisfied in my family.” What’s important to note, is this woman doesn’t have a son in a culture where having a son is a big fricken deal. When Elisha asked her “what do you want?” a son was probably what bubbled up in her heart immediately, but “nah! I’m cool!” came out instead.

How often do we beat down our own desires?

I know I do it all the time with my singleness.

In some ways acknowledging my desire to be married feels pretty pathetic.

I’m not completely certain, but I’m assuming this Shunammite woman felt the same way about admitting she wanted a son. From the text, we know she was a “leading lady” of the town and as a result probably had everything she needed in terms of material possessions. I even wonder if she had a bunch of daughters too. I can imagine she felt pretty guilty for wanting something beyond the abundant blessings she already had.

Sound familiar?

In all respects, I have a pretty great life. I have amazing friends and a family that loves me. I have a cute little apartment, a zippy little car and a job I enjoy. So, I feel insanely stupid anytime I admit my desire to be married.

As a result, I’m hesitant to tell my story, even though I write a blog for single Christian women.

What I’ve come to realize is I experience immense amounts of shame around wanting to be married.

Brené Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”

Shame as a single person is feeling both pathetic for being single, but also stupid for not wanting to be single anymore.

Shame is that terrible, evil voice that asks, “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you keep a relationship together?”

Shame is the fear that you’re going to die alone and no one will ever care about you.

I think Satan is a big fan of shame because shame prevents us from telling our stories. And when we don’t tell our stories, we don’t connect with people. Shame creates disconnection and disconnection creates isolation and feeling alone is a terrible place to be.

There is this great scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Luna Lovegood, a very odd, yet lovable character, is talking to Harry about Voldermort, or “You-Know-Who,” the epitome of evil in the Harry Potter series. Harry is convinced that Voldermort has returned, but no one believes him and he feels alone and isolated. Luna responds beautifully:

But I suppose that’s how he’d want you to feel … if I were You-Know-Who, I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else, because if it’s just you alone, you’re not that much of a threat.

(You can check out the scene below …)

So welcome to Single Christian Girls, the space where you don’t have to feel alone.

You are worthy of love, acceptance and connection.

After my last blog, a friend texted me this:

I always think I’m strong for being, “I’m happy single,” but stuff was just turned upside down and I realized I really would actually like a significant other at some point soonish. And that’s okay. And it shouldn’t be weak or desperate but strong and admired to admit it to people and talk about it genuinely.

She’s right.

According to Brené Brown, one of the earliest definitions of courage was, “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Therefore, wouldn’t fully acknowledging and owning our heart’s desires be the purest form of courage?

I think so.

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17 thoughts on “Courage and Shame.

  1. This is why I keep coming back to SCG, even when you putting the blog down for a while…thanks. And it would help if the church, the very people who should come around us and encourage us in this, weren’t so quick to heap shame on us as well.

  2. I totally understand this post. It was a few months ago when I was praying and I felt God ask me what my biggest desire was. For the first time I actually spoke aloud my desire to be married and the amount of shame I felt over that was incredible. Before my biggest desires have always been to travel the world, do missions etc etc and I could speak about it without any problem…but wanting to get married…whole heap of shame there. It’s taken me the last few months and finally a few discussions with friends to start breaking down those barriers and thoughts in my mind. And shame definitely does keep us silent and it’s such a huge attack from the enemy. Just someone saying ‘i feel that way too’ and all of a sudden it just sweeps away 🙂 thanks so much for this post xx

  3. Yes!! We allow so much freedom for others when we choose to be vulnerable. It causes people to listen without judgement and realize that you don’t judge them either for whatever they’re ashamed about. Then gives THEM the freedom to do the same. This is SO GOOD claire!

  4. As a long time Christian single, and now divorcee, I’m right there with you. I don’t think you’re stupid for wanting to be married, and I hope no one tries to talk you out of it. Marriage is a good thing. God seems to want us to comfort each other. Do not lose hope. I’m gearing up to tell my whole story, too.

  5. THANK YOU for writing this. I was reading this 3-minute devotional book my friend and I started last month and it keeps going on and on about husbands and making time for husbands and loving husbands. Cool cool for the married girls, but what about me? So I googled “single Christian women blog” and whoa. This was the post that I needed to read. You hit all the feelings I have about being single and loving my life but still wanting more and feeling weird about it all. Thank you. 🙂

  6. Thankyou! You write what I absolutely can never explain to anyone. I feel like you are my lost sister and get me so well. God is using you in ways to encourage me. God is good.

  7. Wow! This is so amazing!! I have 5 brothers and sisters all with families of their own. Needless to say when we all get together I’m the only one without a child running around. I feel so alone. It is amazing to know that I am not the only single Christian girl and not alone 🙂 Thank you so much

  8. thank you so much, its amazing to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I go through ups and downs of contentment in my life and I’m finally letting God have control, which is something i had always talked about, but never really done. I finally gave my pen to God about a week ago, and already God is showing me things i have never seen, and opened my eyes to reasons of why things happened in my life, and its beautiful. Thank you for this encouraging post 🙂

  9. A great post you have here.

    One of the greatest hindrances to the flow of God’s blessings into certain areas of lives is indeed “Shame”, which is usually born out of ego/personal pride. I have discovered that if we human beings can sometimes lay aside our personal prides, we’ll discover that many things we admire and want in life also admire and want us, but have been far from our reach because of the walls of pride we’ve built around our lives. But God is a very big God. Many times, God will withhold certain blessings from us until we become humble and broken enough to acknowledge our strong need for such a blessing. He also waits for us to get to the point where we no longer see such blessings as just second-class “wants”, but as first-class “needs” that begin to affect both our speech and actions. Then, when God releases these blessings, he knows we’ll be able to truly cherish, nurture, and keep them. Marriage is one area where God applies this principle. Unfortunately, I think a lot of ladies have grown-up with the mindset that says: “conceal your feelings as much as possible. Women aren’t supposed to show they need love. Men are the hunters…they should do the loving, the coming, and the talking…we just sit back and make our choice…”. No where have I seen this play out the most, than in the body of Christ, especially in Africa. Funnily, even ministers of the Gospel teach this misleading wisdom in their Churches, and end up putting a lot of singles in a fix.

    In my book titled Beautiful Singles, I wrote about this and several other subjects (like The Spirit Of Jezebel, Cooperating With God, etc.) in detail. Christian singles will also benefit from staying away from faulty mindsets like this one: http://bit.ly/1Ylll7C.

    Here’s the URL to Beautiful Singles on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kingsley-Okei/e/B00XPTGE9E

    Blessings…

  10. Can this be any more relatable? I’ve never been able to find the words to describe the strange blend of conflicting shames within me, but this is perfect. Thanks so much for sharing this encouragement and validation!

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