Remember that time that boyfriend lied? Remember that time your dad didn’t take the time to really be present and listen? Remember when your mom lost her temper when she was busy doing something else? Remember when your brother mocked you when you failed that math test? How did if feel? If you are anything like me, you started to believe a lie in those moments that sounded something like this: I am only loved if I perform, I am only loved if I at least give off the appearance that I am perfect. What it has left me with, however, is anxiety and a violent need to appear that I have it all together. The problem with this is, however, that I never allow myself room for vulnerability; I never allow myself to be known. How lonely. Bitterness and anger have blossomed in this petrie dish of shame and fear, until now. A gracious friend of mine who is a therapist helped me press into my deep disdain for tension. I hate tension. It overwhelms me and fuels my desire to run away. In conversations that led to the root of the issue, I was able to uncover and expose this deeply rooted shame that I have. Shame that makes me feel I am unworthy. Doing shame work is heavy lifting kind of stuff. It is not for the faint of heart. However, when released to Christ (who paid for your shame with his own life), I find myself automatically rest and become present, even in tension.
Here is the truth. Psalm 103:8-12 says “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not feel with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, for far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
Newsflash… you are not perfect. I am not perfect. Believing we are perfect leads to us becoming steeped in shame, hiding and become expert critics of those around us.
The horses are amazing thermometers for people who struggle with shame. Those who struggle with shame will be hard on themselves and others…. and the horses. They will demand a lot and be harsh in their requests. Horses pull back against that type of animosity. It feels unsafe to them. It is scary and life threatening to them because they feel the collision of the lie and the truth. But when we rest in the truth our horses become at ease with their herd. Come experience it yourself.