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By: Irene Rollins

Michelle Graham wrote, “Shame says because I am flawed, I am unacceptable. Grace says because I am flawed, I am cherished.” Too often we believe that if we are vulnerable, it will be the end of us. We fear that if we are brave enough to touch the pain buried underneath the ways we hide, it might ruin our relationships and reputation. Shame keeps us overwhelmed and afraid of reaching out and sharing the truth of our story. Friend, if you don’t know by now, it is all a lie. The truth is this: you can be free.

Allowing people to see the real me was not the end of me but the beginning of God doing something new in me. Letting people into my addiction and my mess of a life produced healing in my mind, body, and soul. Learning how to say, “I need help!” got me the empathy, acceptance, grace, and forgiveness that I needed to change. Today I am a living, breathing, walking, talking testimony of God’s miracle-working redemptive power.

Shame was a sickness hidden deep in my soul that kept me from engaging in life socially with people I didn’t know, and it even showed up with people I love. I couldn’t connect authentically while automatic thoughts popped up in my mind that said, I don’t deserve nice things or good things to happen to me, I don’t deserve to be noticed or loved. I kept my head down, avoiding eye contact and making excuses that I was just a shy person. The truth is I am far from shy, and one of my strengths is connection. Not only do I long for it, but I am good at connecting with people. I don’t spend all my time and energy hiding now; rather, I find myself connecting and relating in an authentic way with other people. I find myself being truly known and accepted with my flaws and all, which has been a desire of my heart all along. I have finally accepted that God loves me just as I am! That I am enough because God says I am enough. I am inherently worthy. God’s grace is sufficient for me. His grace gives me the strength I need to continue to walk out my recovery, share my story, and kick shame in the face! I own my story. I own my work. I own this messy yet beautiful process of recovery, self- discovery, and
forgiveness of myself and others, and I want that more than anything for you as well. I embrace the new creation that I am. Through a process of renewal, the old is gone. I don’t regret my past, because it made me who I am today. Second Corinthians 5:17
says, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Isaiah 43:18–20 (NLT) says:

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.

Neural pathways are created in our brains through repetition in our behaviors and habits. Simply put, it is as if we have deep grooves or roads in our brain. Just because we have formed these neural pathways doesn’t mean they have to stay that way forever. Through repetition of new behaviors and ways of thinking, we can create a new normal, a new road, a new way of life. In the process, you will be refreshed. Anything in your life that you experienced shame about can be reframed. New and healthy ways of doing life are available to you if you are willing to do the work. The Holy Spirit is already at work in you—can you begin to see it? He is opening your eyes to things you were unaware of before reading this book.

God is the great author of all our stories! Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith” (NKJV). He is not done writing my story, and He is not done writing yours either! You can reclaim the power of what has been holding you back and reframe your shame.

Flawsome: (adj.) “the state of embracing one’s flaws and knowing that one is awesome regardless”

*This article is an excerpt of Reframe Your Shame: Experience Freedom From What Holds You Back

Irene Rollins, author or Reframe Your Shame: Experience Freedom From What Holds You Back, is passionate about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health of people. As a certified Emotional Intelligence coach, she guides others in becoming the
best version of themselves through relatable coaching, teaching, preaching, and writing. Irene is a wife and a mother of three. She and her husband, Jimmy Rollins, lead a marriage ministry they founded called TWO=ONE.