by Kristina Fertala
The frontal lobe is the portion of the brain responsible for memory storage, motor control, and most importantly decision making, building and growing the reference of correctness that will guide our lives. In a unique comparison to other lobes, the frontal lob does not reach its complete developmental functionality until the age of 25 coining it as the scientific reason behind adolescent poor choices and lack of judgment understanding. Therefore, seen as a blessing of the ages, the gift of entering my 25th year should have been scientifically clear and correct decision processing. And in conjunction with spiritual growth, I honestly, at this point in my life, believe to know the difference between right and wrong, the black and white lines, and the very evident decisions that will further catalyst success and point to the glory of the Lord. Sadly however, regardless of my developmental completeness and knowledge, I still sometimes find myself in the wrong, making what I like to call “a poor life choice”. These choices, ranging in variety from an unintentional word to a disrespectful action, are the type of actions that are not glorifying to the Lord or reflective of my true value. And more often then not, these poor choices elicit an immediate personal response…. Bring on the self-inflicted shame. To me, self-inflicted shame is a feeling that settles into my heart stirring emotions of
disappointment or uneasiness.
And let’s be honest, we’re all human and we’ve all been there.
When we make a poor life choice, it is easy to respond in self-inflicted shame. Quickly forgetting the truth that we are covered and our transgressions have been paid for. However, there are a variety of responses that we allow ourselves to feel that are quite far from the truth. For me, my natural response to a poor choice made is to hide it. I hide it in my heart, disrupting my peace, I hide it from those around me to save myself perceived shame and ultimately I try and hide it from the Lord…Franciscan Mystic Richard Rhor calls this response our shadow.
“The shadow is that part of the self that we don’t want to see, that we’re always afraid
of and don’t want others to see either. Our tendency is to hide or deny it, even and most
especially from ourselves…..we can only expose its game–which eventually undermine
its results and effects.”
These words, so harsh yet so true, are spot on for the response to the shadows of our life. Yet, living with a shadow or in self-inflicted shame secondary to our choices is not the type of living we have been created for or that we ought to desire. And furthermore, it is not a lifestyle that is reflective of the truth of our true value and
As controversial as it sounds, there is one little positive aspect of self-inflicted shame. I am in no way saying that shame is a good thing or that we are meant to self inflict ourselves, but rather that shame is a real feeling accruing inside our hearts for a certain reason. We should rather use self-inflicted shame as a tool, hardwired in our hearts through the creation process as a mechanism to continuously guide us in the right direction. I would more so call it a fire, one of which affirms that your frontal lobe is at work and that your true self is further acknowledging that “a poor choice” was made.
It is from the initial feelings of self-inflicted shame that we are given the opportunity to choose to reset, adding to our reference of correctness and allowing the Lord to further refine the pearl He has created us to be. Once we make the choice to reset and allow for the refinement to take place, we must then move forward in confidence and knowledge of how certain decision will makes us feel and the peace that is found through living a life glorifying to the Lord.
Photo Credit: Chelsea Stellar