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    Shame, Jesus, and Me

    This month I’m honored to invite my friend and teammate Christian Williams as my guest blogger. I love being in Christian’s company because one minute she’s making me laugh so hard I’m crying and the next she has stopped me in my tracks with a thought-provoking reflection. Christian is a Dallas transplant (Native Arkansan) and DTS student who loves communicating truth and building safe, authentic, purposeful communities. She feels God’s pleasure most when using her imagination, storytelling, teaching, and living in intentional relationships which yield growth and transformation. Dub: (verb) to give an unofficial name or nickname to (someone or something). I dub everything. From my period- I call her…

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    Sometimes There Aren’t Words

    Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when we sit with others in their grief.               when others try to comfort us in ours. Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when life comes crashing down around us.               when darkness and despair close in. Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when anxiety and doubt and shame condemn us.               when regrets of the past rear their heads and gnash their teeth. Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when betrayals bite and false denials scream.               when the unrelenting hand of fear squeezes with clenched fingers. Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when the world goes crazy.               when people don't seem…

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    Welcome to My Messy

    My life is messy. Let me just start today by putting the truth out there. Of course, you wouldn’t know my life is messy just by looking at me. Like all of us, I know how to keep going in hard times and I cope when I need to. I used to guard the truth of my life, and I would continually makeover appearances of my exterior life so people wouldn’t ask questions about my internal struggles. Although not everyone goes to extreme lengths to conceal what they fear might look “off,” most of us don’t want others to see our behind-the-scenes messy truth. Since I’m being honest about my…

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    Heartprints

    The Blame and Shame Game

    We live in a day and age when counseling is a norm. Many churches have a Christian counselor on staff. Folks flock to bookstores where self-care and wellness books line the shelves. I woke this morning thinking that counseling is often a safe place to confess. The idea that we need to confess our sins against others as well as their sins against us verbally is a huge part of the healing process. Personally, I have not found that another human telling me that I am not at fault or am forgiven hasn’t been  truly freeing. It is more like a bandage than a cure. It stops my bleeding heart…

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    Silver Boxes with Bows on Top

    The 18th Century preacher, John Wesley, dressed sharp in his day. One Sunday morning he wore a bow tie with long ribbons that hung down. After his sermon, a lady approached him and asked if he was open to some criticism. He said, “I guess so.” She said, "The ribbons on your tie are too long and inappropriate for a man of God." And she took out her scissors and cut them. A hush fell over the crowd. Then Wesley asked to borrow the scissors. As she handed him the scissors, he asked, "Ma’am, are you open to some criticism?" She answered, "Well, I suppose.” He said, "Good. Now stick…

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    Free Indeed!

    Recently I had the privilege of speaking in a women’s prison. I shared my story which I call, “How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can’t Change.” (How’s that for a topic of interest for incarcerated people?) But then I was able to speak briefly about what we have in common, a situational loss of freedom. I have lost the ability—the freedom—to walk, and they have temporarily lost the ability—the freedom—to walk out of lockup. Still, even while imprisoned by our situations, Jesus offers true freedom that has nothing to do with our circumstances. He promised to His disciples, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set…

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    Afraid of the Woman in the Mirror

    You tug at the corner of your eyes, smushing them upward then pulling them down. “Who is that?” You wonder to yourself as you gaze into the mirror.  Maybe it's the dark circles betraying an illness that caught you by surprise. Maybe it's the fine lines, telling the story of stress and toil. Maybe it's the weary look in your eyes begging for sleep.  Before you can answer, you snap your head and look away, unwilling to gaze any longer.  Have you ever been there?  Recently I had one of my own mirror moments. And as much as I've tried to forget it, I can't.  Such glimpses force us to…

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    Harassed by Shame – a Trap of Comparison

    Our guest blogger today is P.J. Beets, a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation student at Dallas Seminary. Recently, I went on a backpacking adventure with a group of 14 to 17 year old Boy Scouts. I was concerned about being able to keep up with their energy and sense of adventure. I love backpacking, but I did not want to hinder them in any way. The days leading up to the adventure were harassed by shame. Will I do everything just right? Am I good enough? What is shame? One type of shame is a feeling of inferiority which comes from comparing ourselves to our own expectations, other’s expectations,…

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    The Tapeworm Gallery: Shame on You

                I see you had a blast with your family last weekend. Here’s something you didn’t count on unwrapping this Happy Holidays Season: your shame-based identity. You know…that assurance that lingers beneath the surface of your thoughts?               I meant to ask…how’s that constant state of self-criticism going? Not like you don’t get enough of it from your boss. It helped that your parents used humiliation tactics to discipline you and your siblings. Mother does know best—you can’t do anything right.             You always were insignificant. No wonder kids teased you in grade school, and why they always chose you last in P.E. My…

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    Fully Known

    It’s intimidating to think of being fully known by anyone, much less God. No matter how “together” our lives may be (or appear to be), we all have junk in the closet. Things that we’d rather others not find out about. Things that we feel need to stay hidden. Things that are embarrassing or shameful or incriminating to bring out into the light of day. And so we hide those undesirable parts of our person, and hope that we’ll never be found out. But here’s the truth: You’ve been found out. God already knows. He knows your past, your present, your future, your thoughts, your behavior, your motivations, your desires,…