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Getting honest about shame is more difficult than getting honest about garden-variety sin and woundedness. So when I’m teaching about healing from shame, I use an exercise to help folks have courage to take a step toward vulnerability.
Everyone receives a blank cardboard mask. I ask them to write on the front of their mask what they want everyone to believe about them. On the back of their mask, I have them note what they hide about themselves, what they don’t want anyone to know or see. Then I lead the way by sharing my own mask.
On the front: “I want you to believe . . .”
I have it all together.
I’m fully healed from childhood wounds.
I never doubt God or myself.
My anger issues are completely in the past.
I trust God completely with my kids and grandkids.
I’m a great pray-er—and understand the whole Bible.
Fights with Carla are rare—and always end with Communion and the Lord’s Prayer.
On the back is the vulnerable truth:
I miss my girls terribly and shed tears over them . . . a lot.
I fear losing one of them—and am afraid my faith wouldn’t survive.
I have big problems with God over why he doesn’t heal more people physically.
Sometimes the pain around me and in the world is so intense, I doubt God’s existence for a second.
I often doubt my effectiveness in ministry.
I’m exhausted after almost forty years as a pastor—sometimes I think I missed my calling and should have been a police officer.
I think I swear too much.
If I let myself, I think I could abuse alcohol—I don’t, but I think I could.
I usually feel spiritually and emotionally naked after disclosing my shame—and a little afraid because I know how judgmental and dismissive some of us can be. But I also know appropriate disclosure with close brothers and sisters in Christ is the only pathway to healing and freedom.
Why don’t you try this exercise?
You could make your own mask from a piece of paper lying around. Or use an index card. It could be a courageous first step toward healing your shame.
A courageous step toward freedom!
Kevin’s new book, Free, releases on April 6. You can buy at your local bookstore, online, or at NavPress.com. We hope you read it, post a review, live into an abiding life of love with Jesus, and share that love with everyone you meet.
The journey is winding down, but conversation can continue! Facebook @jkevinlovecarla and @navpresspublishing // #bookfree
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