Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shame Off You...Chapter 4: "The Sting of a Hidden Hornet"

(Words directly from the book are noted in a different color.)

This chapter began on the premise that there is no one who does not have some degree of inner pain deep within their soul. Wright told of a time when his wife was behaving strangely, at one of those pivotal pastoral moments, because of a hornet repeatedly stinging her under her dress. He commented on how she had to choose between enduring the pain of the hornet's sting or enduring the shame in her attempts to stop the pain. He made an analogy with these words:
"Only when the pain of the sting gets worse than the pain of the shame do people become willing to let their agony be known."

The author then went on to discuss how Adam and Eve felt no shame at the beginning of their existence. He noted how "In a shame-free relationship, every ounce of their energy went into exploring their future rather than covering their tracks." He discussed how shame caused Adam and Eve to make coverings to hide themselves. I loved his phrasing that "God didn't yank off their fig leaves; He gave them a better set of clothes." He placed emphasis on how the better covering required the sacrifice of blood (animal skins) and how Jesus has permanently covered our shame through the shedding of His blood.

Another direct quote that spoke directly to my heart: "Shame is insidious. It inflicts not only the pain...but it begins a cycle that blocks us from taking the only steps that can help us feel better...One of shame's greatest goals is to get you hiding from God because God's rewards go to seekers not hiders."

My hiding began around the age of 6 and lasted well into my 30's. I became a master at manipulating situations where my pain wasn't evident. I hadn't allowed even my closest friends, including God, into the areas of my soul that had long been hidden away. When I made the initial decision to stop hiding, I played and re-played the following song by Susan Ashton. I literally wore out the CD as I drove to counseling to remind myself of the importance of being open and honest. That has been close to 2 years ago and the journey of discovery which included the beginning of a "real" relationship with God has been the most joyous, though often painful, experience of my life.

"Hide and Seek" sung by Susan Ashton
(from her CD: So Far..the Best of Susan Ashton)
Another morning comes along,
Both sides of the bed seem wrong
You still paint your brave face on anyway
Everyday you want to quit
Tryin' to make the pieces fit
But you pretend you’re liking it---this game we play
For years, you’ve kept your wounded heart so well disguised
But now the game is up and you’ve got to decide
Is it gonna be hide or seek?
Is it gonna be win or lose?
Is it gonna be pride that keeps you from the love that can save you
Isn’t it worth a try?
There’s nothing for you to fear
You can’t deny the burning question here
Is it gonna be hide or seek?
Composure is your only goal
Don’t wanna bear your trembling soul
But if you let your defenses go then you would learn
You don’t have to wear that mask
You are loved no questions asked
There is no test to pass,
no grade to earn
For years, you’ve kept your wounded heart locked deep inside
You can be free at last, but you’ve got to decide
Is it gonna be hide or seek?
Is it gonna be win or lose?
Is it gonna be pride that keeps you from the love that can save you
Isn’t it worth a try?
There’s nothing for you to fear
You can’t deny the burning question here
Is it gonna be hide or seek?
Don’t you think its time to seek the one who came and died?
So you would never have to hide again.
Is it gonna be hide or seek?
Is it gonna be win or lose?
Is it gonna be pride that keeps you from the love that can save you
Isn’t it worth a try?
There’s nothing for you to fear
You can’t deny the burning question here
Oh, don’t deny the burning question here
Is it gonna be hide or seek?
I was 35 when that song became a continual theme in my mind. When I was 20 and away at college, "my" youth minister, Keith, bought himself a new cassette. He listened to the music throughout a drive one day and when he arrived home, he had his precious wife listen to the cassette and asked her who each of the songs reminded her of. I received that cassette as a gift from them within a matter of days. It was Susan Ashton's recordings titled Wakened by the Wind (1991). Each of those songs resonated within my soul and I warped out that poor cassette.
15 years later, I just happened across another one of her CDs: So Far...the Best of Susan Ashton about a week before my world seemed to be disintegrating. The day I drove to my primary care physician to get guidance on what I needed to do to stop this 'un-raveling of myself', I played this newly-bought CD. Once again, God worked through this amazing artist to speak, to comfort and to heal my heart.
I realize this is a lengthy post but I wanted to include 2 more of "her" songs that have really ministered to me during this time of healing transformation with the hopes that they may minister to the wounds of others.
"Suffer in Silence" sung by Susan Ashton
Heart in a bottle, high on a shelf,
fragile but just out of reach
'Cause you build a fortress with the distance you keep
But when your heart aches,
doesn't it cut deep?
Chorus: Well, you don't have to suffer, suffer in silence
You don't have to suffer, suffer in silence
Don't you know that your heart can feel like an anchor
When you keep it all inside
No don't, don't suffer in silence.
Withered with sadness, hurting inside
But feeling afraid to impose
So you're an island, but you don't have to be
'Cause if you're inclined you can talk to me.
But, you don't have to suffer, suffer in silence
You don't have to suffer, suffer in silence
Oh, I know that the pain can seem like an ocean but I'm just a word away
No don't, don't suffer in silence.
I'll be your shelter, I'll be your retreat
I'll be your shield against the wind
So, if you need a shoulder for the tears that you keep
Let it come down, let it rain on me.
'Cause, you don't have to suffer, suffer in silence
You should never have to suffer, suffer in silence
Oh, I will hear when you're calling like a voice above the storm
No don't, don't suffer in silence.

"No One Knows My Heart" sung by Susan Ashton

Standing at my window, hidden by the night

Harboring the private wounds, safe and out of sight

There's an agony in living, but there's a comfort in the truth

That no one knows my heart better than you.

I can face a lot of people with this sanguine act of mine

Guarded by the eloquence I sometimes hide behind

But it's a veil of false pretenses that You can see right thru

'Cause no one knows my heart better than you.

Chorus: Part of me is reaching, and part of me holds back

But when it comes to You I am a doorway

You're free to walk into

'Cause no one knows my heart better than you.

Chorus: Part of me is reaching, and part of me holds back

But when it comes to You I am a doorway You're free to walk into

'Cause no one knows my heart better than you.

There's an agony in living but there's a comfort in the truth

That no one knows my heart, oh, no one knows my heart

No one knows my heart better than you...

2 comments:

  1. I have always loved Susan Ashton, and I love you my friend. Covering you with prayer.

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  2. Thanks for this series. You are writing some very important stuff about shame. I hope a lot of people are drawn to it ... there is the seed for a lot of healing here. I need to come back and read it more slowly and deliberately. BTW, I have emailed the link of your site to some preachers for this shame material. Good job. wb

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