Every human being has a story.
Every mom and dad, every grandmother and grandfather, every son and daughter, every person in your place of work, every person you bump into on the street and every person who sits beside you at your place of worship has a story.
Our stories are made up of our experiences, those events we have gone through, our struggles, our celebrations, our achievements and our secrets.
Those things we did, or happened to us, that we would rather not make public or talk about.
Or think about for that matter.
Those experiences which are attached to shame.
Shameful and shame-filled events.
Growing up in a traditional northern New England home I learned at a young age that it was best not to talk about family secrets or give recognition to events that might bring shame. Better to ignore, better to keep silent, better to keep secrets and to sweep the ugly things under the rug.
I am not placing any blame on my parents as they are both amazing parents and pretty special human beings; but there is just something in the culture that I live in that pushes people away from telling their “whole” story.
That is what shame does, it keeps us from telling our story. It forces us not to be open and authentic with one another with our stories.
In my last blog “Shame & The Christian Church” I showed how shame is a thief and a cancer, how it robs from us and can cripple us.
Telling your “whole” story is a good tool in the battle against shame.
James, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, wrote this in his letter to the early Christian community,
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for one another so that you can live together whole and healed.” *
Within the context of telling our story, that verse could be re-wrote to say this,
“Make this your common practice: Tell your whole story to each other and pray for one another so that you can live together whole and healed.”
James,under the influence of God, reminded the early Jesus followers, and reminds us today, that as we tell our stories to others and as we engage in divine communication (prayer), it opens the door for wholeness and healing.
Telling your story to someone will not fix all your problems and it may not bring total wholeness to your life, but it will open the door.
It will plant seeds of wholeness, healing and love where once trees of shame grew.
Within the next seven days purposely and intentionally tell your whole story to someone.
It will take courage, and all sorts of fears will try to get you not to do it, but believe me, it will be worth it.
Tell your whole story to a clergy person, to a family member, a friend, a loved one, or you might even have the courage to pull a Forrest Gump, and tell your story to a complete stranger sitting on a park bench while you eat your way through a box of chocolates.
You are not alone.
You are unconditionally, radically and scandalously loved.
And your story is worth telling.
I leave you with this quote from noted author and speaker Dr. Brene Brown,
“You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
*James 5:16 MSG