Archive for the ‘shame & guilt’ Category

I stood before them in shame
My final hour

My dead eyes watched the exchange

the Pharisees glares held so much power

Then I looked at the sand
Waiting for the first stone
They held them in their hands
Ready to hurt my body, crush my bone

Silence was like a time spell
Lingering between death and life
And then one by one the stones fell
My executioners gave up the fight.

Only one stayed behind
He was still writing in the sand

“No one has condemned you,
They all threw down their stones,
Neither do I condemn you
Your stone is the only one left to be thrown.”

He laid his hand on me
A forbidden touch.
The Rabbi did not see me as unclean
Merely a slave child needing washed.

“Go and leave your sinful life,”
He said unto me,
“Drop all your stones and lay them down,
“Then you will be free.”

_______________________

Do you ever feel so ashamed, so ashamed it’s like everyone can see? Like a scarlet letter is written on you? It’s an awful emotion. It makes you tell lies, it causes you to hide, maybe it makes you purge. My shame did. I never had the “discipline” I wanted for anorexia… or rather, I never had the “discipline” anorexia wanted from me. So my “friend” bulimia stepped in. She had all these ideas on how to get rid of my shame.

If you’re thinking “oh, that’s what I need to do”–stop thinking and keep reading.

Bulimia gave me a way, I thought, to get rid of my guilt and my shame associated with body-hate and negative self image. It was like a way to right all my wrongs. It was my secret. But it was messy and left me feeling empty and unclean. In the end, Bulimia gave me more shame than when I started.

Even though eating disorders can come from other people’s opinions of us (secret: another testimony of a girl who struggled with this will be posted soon) the opinions of others are internalized and become our opinions of ourselves whether or not they are true.

The poem above is a paraphrase and somewhat fictional telling from a passage of scripture John 8:1-11. The woman had been found committing adultery in Jewish culture at this time, this offense was not just scorned but worthy of being stoned. The Pharisees are like church people. They’re the snooty, better-than-sin, perfect-for-god people. Now these people were constantly trying to get at Jesus. Jesus was a heretic in Israel. The religious people didn’t like what Jesus had to say. Jesus had this thing for sinners and this thing against the religious people. So the Pharisees call him out on it, and they’re asking “Well Jesus, we’re going to kill her, but what do YOU think about it?”

Jesus tells them the perfect person can throw the first stone. One by one all the people leave. They all know they’ve sinned. Every last one of them drops their stone and walks away. Finally this leaves only Jesus and the Woman. Jesus, who is the only perfect person. And the Woman who is on trial. Jesus basically points out he could be the one to stone her. He could, he’s God, and he’s perfect, having never sinned, giving him the right to judge. But the craziest thing happens, he doesn’t.

Jesus, the only person who can judge her rightfully, let’s her go. If you’re thinking “God could never care about me, not with what I’ve done.” But that’s a lie. He still cares. He will still listen to your prayers. You can walk into church. If your church has judged you, or your friends or family, have judged you and condemned you by what you have done, then they’re wrong. Jesus doesn’t condemn you.

One night I was talking with a friend who was feeling the same of what they had done, and I was saying just to ignore any judgement from those around him, because they were lies. He responded, “I don’t feel judged by others, I feel judged by myself.” That struck me. How often is this true about eating disorders? It’s almost worse when someone tries to help us get better, because we know we’re hurting them. We continue to blame ourselves.

Picture yourself holding the last stone. I almost wonder if the times I thought other people holding stones it was just an illusion. A mirage of my own shame, that I felt so condemned in my own heart, soul, and mind that I believed everyone else must have felt the same way.

Drop your stones. Forgive yourself. You don’t have to make sacrifices in your shame, you can be you inside and out: without any guilt or shame. Because when you live without shame:

The lies come off.

The secrets crumble.

The purging ends.

The walls come down.

And you come out! Not you with all the condemnation. Not you with all your fear. Not you with your scarlet letter bleeding from your heart.

You come out. Whole you. Free you. Beautiful you.

“Not Guilty” Aaron Keyes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE8gxOxMuhg

“No More Chains”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD-UOVnmni0

Advertisements