You’ve been knocked down & disqualified – Now what? How can you find your purpose?
“ARISE AND SHINE FOR YOUR LIGHT HAS COME,
& THE GLORY OF THE LORD RISES UPON YOU.
FOR BEHOLD, DARKNESS COVERS THE EARTH,
& THICK DARKNESS IS OVER THE PEOPLES;
BUT THE LORD WILL RISE UPON YOU,
AND HIS GLORY WILL APPEAR OVER YOU.”
- Isaiah 60:1-2
We All Know the Shame of Being Knocked Down
I love fairytales because we can all identify with the feeling of being the awkward, hidden, unwanted, rejected, betrayed, undervalued, oddball character at the start of the story, who doesn’t realize the untapped power, influence, leadership, poise, beauty, and strength she possesses.
Just as in the fairytales, in the story of our lives, there is a villain who wants to keep you – the main character – under a spell. He uses a spell called shame.
What is Shame?
Shame is the profound sense of inadequacy of somehow feeling profoundly broken, different, not enough, unwanted etc. Shame is so deep and so painful that our internal world compartmentalizes shame outside of our awareness. We have defense mechanisms that automatically shut us down from doing anything that has even the slightest potential to trigger shame.
Consequently, we live small lives to avoid failure.
We stick to what we know and will lead to guaranteed success! Which let’s be honest, not a lot of life provides guaranteed success. So, without realizing it we live smaller and smaller lives. Many of my clients say, “I don’t struggle with fear, I just don’t fly, go to new groups, give presentations, or anything else that requires stepping outside of my comfort zone.”
You’ve been knocked down & disqualified – Now what?
While many of us have not realized how much fear is slowly shrinking more and more of our lives and – consequently stealing our opportunities for joy , adventure, and purpose – we can recognize that many of us are bored.
Fear Drives us to Avoid Failure
We don’t venture into the unknown with God to discover and embrace our purpose, because we are unconsciously tethered to the shoreline of what is perceived as safe. Fear drives us to avoid failure, disappointment, rejection etc.
Can you relate? How many times have you wanted to write a book, start a business, talk to a new person, spearhead a movement, or lead a group, and yet “something” inside keeps you from stepping out.
Instead of getting frustrated at that “something” holding you back… we recognize, the defense mechanisms of fear are there trying to protect you from the pain of shame.
If we understand the role of our defense mechanisms, we can learn how to partner with our internal world rather than working against our internal world.
Shame is an identity Based Belief
In understanding our internal world, we need to know that shame is an identity-based belief. Any sentence that starts with, “I am…” is shaped by a belief about WHO you are. When we have negative beliefs about WHO we are, we are shutting down our true-self. When we shut down our true-self (otherwise called your spirit) you lose the ability to connect with your heart. Your life purpose is found, NOT in your head, but in your heart. But You’ve been knocked down & disqualified – Now what?
Fear Causes Our Hearts to Shut Down
When fear steps in to protect us, think of fear like bodyguards over our heart. Fear causes your heart to shut down. Consequently, you lose the ability to connect with your heart. This is because, shame shuts down your true identity because you feel that YOU are fundamentally bad, broken, and unworthy. Shame belief keeps you from living from your spirit.
Instead, you’ll unconsciously mask insecurities behind many disguises. These disguises are called “the false self.” Most of the population lives from the false self. If you’ve struggled with chronic insecurities, jealousy, comparison, people-pleasing, co-dependence, enmeshment, performance-based-acceptance and many other dynamics – in which you are too much in your head overthinking everything – instead of living from your heart, you may be experiencing living from the false self.
What is the False-Self?
The false-self is the unconscious creation of what we think we SHOULD be. It is like placing a mask over your heart and true self; trying to please and perform for others. When we are operating from a false-self, our attention and efforts are geared toward pleasing people, rather than exploring your heart to discover your life purpose.
Shame is often disguised under “false humility of not wanting to think too highly of ourselves”, procrastinating, overanalyzing, self-doubt, inner critic, people-pleasing, and perfectionism = because all of these strategies keep us from putting our true self – with all of our imperfections – out there.
Let’s face it, you and I will never be perfect, so by waiting to step out until you are perfect, until your talent is perfect, or until your plan is perfect, YOU WILL NEVER STEP OUT.
By not stepping out you will feel safe and in control.
But you will also feel unfulfilled as your defense mechanisms unconsciously sabotage your forward progress in order to stay far from failure by hunkering down on the shoreline of your small, safe, unremarkable life… You’ve been knocked down & disqualified – Now what?
We Sabotage Ourselves to Avoid Failure
We sabotage ourselves to avoid failure, rejection, disappointment, and the potential humiliation of feeling singled out. You know that moment when you feel the nudge to speak to a stranger to encourage them or help them, but instead talk yourself out of it? Or, when a thought pops in your mind prompting you to do something to share your talent/gift with the world but instead criticize yourself thinking “who am I?” Or, how about when you see pain in society and feel a stirring to help bring solutions, but instead disqualify yourself and assume others are better equipped to do it?
In every fairytale, there is a moment of truth thrust upon the heroine when she must decide to stay where she is safe and in control or if she will accept her greater calling. Accepting her purpose, requires leaving the safety and security of the illusion of control. It requires stepping onto the waters with Jesus to go on the quest that is scary, perilous, overwhelming and has no guarantees.
Ironically, no one publishes the fairytales about the girls who live small, tame, safe lives.
While overthinking, perfectionism, false-humility, and people-pleasing may feel safe, in reality, they are robbing you of embracing the call on your life.
And more importantly, your illusions of control are robbing those whom you are called to serve. By overthinking, you are thinking of yourself instead of realizing the greater impact your life is intended to have.
Contradictory to the self-absorbed world we live in, your story is NOT about you. Your story is about taking the fishes and the loaves that are in your hand, to allow your life to be a conduit to bless, heal, feed, and care for a broken and hurting world needing to know there is a God who loves them.
In every fairytale, the main character must grapple through her feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, self-doubt, unworthiness, and all her legitimate disqualifiers that are so glaringly obvious! Yet, it is the bravery of loving others more than protecting herself, that galvanizes the heroine to accept her quest.
In Your Weakness His Strength is Made Perfect
You and I are no different. We are girls that others have disregarded and put to the side. If you’ve been discounted for one reason or another, if you have glaring disqualifiers that make it obvious that you are the last choice… then, you have the makings of greatness because there is a promise that in your weakness His strength is made perfect.
If you’ve had a nagging feeling of something missing, a regret, or uneasiness, you’re likely being called to step into your story … If you see a problem in the world, whether that be helping one person or millions, then your spirit is likely being awakened to become part of the solution.
I was held hostage under the spell of shame the majority of my life.
The insecurities of shame made me so self-conscious – trying to keep my head above water as I was constantly drowning in triggers, anxiety, depression, unworthiness, insecurity, comparison etc. that I was not actively seeking how I could help others. I was so preoccupied trying to get through the day, that I didn’t recognize the little and big ways I could show up for others. Shame blinds us from recognizing that – right now, with our imperfections – we have value to give.
How about you? Have you felt weighed down by the pressures, responsibilities, nagging insecurities, comparisons, and internal critic that you struggle to see how you have anything to offer others? Trust me, I get it! I have been there! And every once in a while, I get there again, and need a friend to remind me, that – we can still be a blessing to others even in the midst of our messes and imperfections.
If You Feel Insecure You are Normal
And the good news is, IF YOU FEEL INSECURE, YOU ARE NORMAL. Every main character on an epic quest to help the world, goes through the same experience. Having insecurities and shame is not the problem – staying there and never getting help – is the problem.
You’ve been knocked down & disqualified – Now what?
In the quest to fulfill our life purpose, we first need to learn how to dismantle fear so we can allow God to heal the sources of shame. Resolving shame often requires a lot of work! Allowing people to help you navigate through shame is essential. Our defense mechanisms create blind spots that make it next to impossible to resolve our shame issues on our own. Even as a clinical psychologist myself, I still go for my own therapy sessions to help with my unconscious fears, insecurities, inadequacies etc. that try to hold me back.
Don’t Live With Regret
I’ve come to realize, while shame is uncomfortable, the potential of missing opportunities to love other people is even more uncomfortable. Like you, I don’t want to live with regret. We have one life and one opportunity to be available to others in their pain and to offer them the hope of Jesus. This has galvanized me to do the work on my shame issues, to dismantle fear, so I can say “yes” to Jesus when He invites me into big scary things that I know I am underqualified, overwhelmed, and definitely cannot do without Him!
Secondly, the most important ingredient in every fairytale is the faithful companion that goes with our main character. The faithful companion encourages our leading lady to keep going, believes in her when she can’t believe in herself, helps her get back up when she’s defeated, and provides guidance when she’s lost her way. IF YOU’VE LOST YOUR WAY, YOU ARE NORMAL.
Accept the Fact that You WILL Need Help
Embracing the fact that you cannot fulfill your life purpose on your own, relieves a lot of pressure and overthinking. Accept the fact that you WILL need help.
If you are someone who struggles to accept help, then you know LEARNING TO ACCEPT HELP is your first step toward growth. The main character always has a friend that goes along with her. Will you accept the help of the Holy Spirit, some quality friends, and perhaps a Christian counselor to walk with you in your journey?
Jesus Believes in You
Jesus believes in you and so do we at the Unlock U with Dr. Shannan Crawford podcast community. You don’t have to do this journey alone. Join us, FLAWS AND ALL, to gain the practical strategies to break the spell of shame off your life, gain the courage to embrace who you are and the call on your life as you learn to accept help – so you can embark on the great adventure God has written over your life.
You’ve been knocked down & disqualified – Now what?
YOU’RE NOT ALONE. LET’S DO IT TOGETHER!
If you want to accept Jesus into your life, please watch the Great News Video on this page. God loves you and we care.
Read our latest blog on relationships here.