If so, you’re not alone. Later this week, I am launching an occasional series called “The Deliverance Files,” containing helpful tidbits I have learned through working in deliverance ministry at my church.
The first post in the series is about removing shame from yourself or someone else and restoring honor in its place. This particular thing is one of the most powerful things I have ever seen in deliverance ministry, so stay tuned!
To go along with that theme, today I wanted to introduce to you an awesome, brand-spanking-new book: Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame and Rebuilding Your Soul, by my writer-sister, Aubrey Sampson.
Aubrey is a fellow member of the Redbud Writers Guild, and she is passionate about empowering women of all ages to experience freedom from shame. An author, speaker, church planter, and fellow member of the Redbud Writers Guild, Aubrey lives and ministers in the Chicagoland area with her husband, Kevin and three young sons. (Be sure to follow her on Twitter here!)
I am so, so, so excited for Aubrey about her book. If you feel shame present in your life, for any reason at all, I strongly encourage you to get a copy of Overcomer. It will help you!
1. How do you define “shame”?
Shame encompasses such a wide range of emotions it can be difficult to define. Perhaps the simplest way to understand it is to think back on a moment when you experienced it. You may have felt embarrassment, discomfort, or self-consciousness. (I was a middle-schooler with pink and purple braces and bangs up to the clouds, so I know self-consciousness!) Shame can also express itself in much weightier emotions, such as when we feel humiliated, inadequate, injured, or abused.
Another difficulty with shame is that so many of us live under the weight of it without realizing it because we’ve been conditioned by culture and life experience to accept that feeling as normal. Shame is simply always there; it’s that familiar yet profound feeling that we don’t measure up.
Add to all of that, the pressure in our Christian culture to operate above reproach all the time, we can feel ashamed when we make even the tiniest of mistakes. We may even believe that, if we aren’t shaming ourselves, we’re in danger of becoming prideful. So we beat ourselves up as the “better,” more Christlike option. It’s a vicious cycle. At its core, an identity of shame is the belief that, in whole or in part, I am not enough.
Throughout Overcomer, I share my own history of “not-enoughness,” along with stories from others who’ve overcome shame in their lives— ranging from situations of abuse to struggles with body image and eating, to everyday laughable imperfections.
The ultimate message of Overcomer is this: in spite of the overwhelming nature of shame, there is good news. The promise of Scripture is that when we look to Jesus, our shame is transformed into sparkling, beaming joy (Psalm 34:5). There may be moments in life when we feel condemned, but when our identity is centered in Christ, we can discard the dark covering of shame and rise in radiance.
2. In your new book, Overcomer, you share the seven lies shame tells women. Can you go into one of those for us?
While shame tells us many lies, ranging from “My past is unsalvageable” to “I’ll never be free from shame,” I believe one of its most insidious lies is that because of shame in our pasts, we are unfit to be used by God in powerful ways. Regardless of the form your shame might take, sooner or later it will try to make you feel disqualified so that you question your ability to be a good anything—leader, employee, friend, date, spouse, parent, even child of God.
But the truth for us today is the same truth that empowered Paul in 2 Corinthians. The grace of God is sufficient, not in spite of our weaknesses, brokenness, and shame but smack-dab in the middle of them. That’s where the power is, according to Paul, who wrote:
[The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ … That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses. … For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9–10).
In other words, if we believe we’re insufficient (and even if in some circumstances we are), it doesn’t even matter, because Jesus is more than sufficient and he qualifies us—for grace, for mercy, and for meaningful service in the kingdom of God.
3. The title of your book is “Overcomer.” What does that word mean to you? What will your readers take away from it?
About a year ago, a friend heard the book title and asked, “Who’s the overcomer? You? The reader?” Her question struck me as funny at the time, because I initially thought, “Well, of course it’s the reader! Who else would it be?”
But then I realized something that changed the roadmap of the book:
The only reason we can overcome our shame is because we have an Overcomer in Christ.
Jesus endured the ultimate shame so that we no longer have to. That’s what I want readers to leave with – the truth that even if they still battle shame at times (and we all do), they have, in Jesus, a Savior and a Shame Remover—a Sovereign Ruler who compels our shame to bow down before his authority.
In other words, even if your past is dark, even if you’ve spent your entire life feeling like a replica of yourself, even if you think you don’t measure up, even if you’ve been hiding in shame for years, you can overcome shame because your Overcomer, Jesus, already has.
4. The phrase from your book, “shame flourishes in silence” is really powerful. Can you explain how this happens and what we can do to stop it?
Related: Read about what I got for being transparent for more about this subject.
The root of the word shame is actually derived from the phrase, “to cover.” Just as Adam and Eve were so ashamed of their sin they covered themselves with fig leaves, over and over again we instinctually follow their lead. Anytime we feel ashamed, on any level, the last thing we want to do is broadcast those feelings to the world around us.
Shame loves to isolate and isolation loves to keep us from experiencing the benefits of community. Far too often we believe the shame-lie that our imperfections equal our inadequacy, and that exposing our flaws will reveal spiritual immaturity or lack of faith. So we suffer silently, saying nothing about our inner pain.
In the meantime, those shame roots grow deeper.
There is greater freedom and deeper joy to be had when we are willing to break the silence of shame and reveal our authentically-flawed selves to each other. It’s ironic, actually. As we disclose our weaknesses to others, that act actually strengthens us and our communities to continue overcoming shame. Acts of vulnerability produce contagious courage.
At the end of the day, vulnerability doesn’t have to be overly complicated, excessively dramatic, or heavily programmed. In fact, the most powerful moments I’ve experienced in community are the organic ones; when one person talks about a struggle and another says, “Oh, I struggle with that too, but I never came to you because I assumed you had it all together.”
Overcomer equips readers with the courage necessary to begin coming out of the darkness, kicking down the walls of shame, and embracing freedom and future in Christ.
This book’s launch has already been hot, hot, hot. Go grab your copy of Overcomer by Aubrey Sampson from Amazon today, before it sells out! Remember, in Christ, you have honor and blessing–not shame!
The product links above are my affiliate links. This means that, if you click through my links to purchase a resource on Amazon, Amazon will pay me a small commission (at no additional cost to you of course). Thanks in advance! And if you enjoy legalese, you could entertain yourself for hours by reading, parsing, and translating into Latin my disclosure policy here.