In today’s world, as a woman with any title, career, family status, marital status, or body type – you have probably struggled with shame over something.
Maybe its your infertility and you think its your fault?
Maybe its over your husband’s sexual sin – or your own sexual sin?
Maybe its because your children regularly disobey you in public settings?
Maybe its because you binge or purge with your relationship with food?
Maybe its because your house doesn’t look like a Pottery Barn magazine like the rest of the homes in the neighborhood?
Maybe its because of the debt that you know has a hold on you – and your checkbook?
Maybe its because you are the only single woman at your high school reunion?
All of these situations can produce shame. But, they don’t have to. If you are in Christ, there doesn’t need to be any shame. You are righteous in Christ. You can not be condemned (Romans 8). He is yours and you are His. Sin, rightly so, needs to be repented of and turned away from – but you don’t need to feel shame. Shame even happens in relationships in our churches. Maybe we don’t live up to certain standards. Oh, friends, don’t let shame run your heart and mind.
Laura Dingman recently published a study on shame and how we can let the Word and Jesus help us. I got the opportunity to ask her a few questions (to help you get to know the book and her better). Keep reading and there will be a great giveaway at the bottom of this post:
Why this study? Why now?
I think a lot of writers end up penning what they’ve learned firsthand. That’s my experience, anyway. I feel like I can only write about that which I have lived. These are lessons God has taught me over the past several years. Lessons about who I really am in Christ. Lessons about why I really hide and how I deal with shame. Lessons about what it looks like to partner with friends for the sake of the Gospel. Lessons about God’s relentless love that just never quits pursuing. So, the short answer is it happens to be what I’ve been learning. The other piece is it seems to be a conversation I’m having a lot with people I’m doing life with—whether in ministry or just life in general. Shame cripples us and keeps us from so many things. The conversations about connection are growing right now as well. The Gospel story offers a solution to shedding shame and connecting with others. It seems to be relevant in our current cultural climate.
As you teach women to study the word, what is the one thing you hope they walk away with?
I pray they have a greater understanding of how Christ actually views them. That Jesus loves them enough to give his life away. That He values them and they matter to the Kingdom. I pray they know they were once lost and now have a place at the table with the King.
For those who want to be a writer, or ministry leader, how do you balance ministry life and personal life?
This is something I’m still trying to learn!
Don’t be afraid to say no.
Don’t be afraid to prioritize the relationships that matter most—the ones under your roof.
Beth Moore has a great quote: “God will never call you to sacrifice your intimacy with Him on the altar of ministry.” This is so true. I think it’s also true of intimacy in your most important relationships as well. If something is suffering—your family life, your relationship with God, the fruit of the Spirit, your awareness of God’s presence—you’re probably doing something God hasn’t called you to do. It’s that simple.
So much of the time we do more than we need to do. We are driven by “should.” Wayne Cordeiro wrote an excellent book called Leading on Empty in which he talks about your 5%. He explains that as leaders we typically focus on the 95% instead of the 5%. Your 5% consists of things only YOU can do. For me, I’m Matt’s only wife (and I’d like to keep it that way!), and Abigail’s only momma. No one else can substitute for me in those areas. No one else can care for or steward my body for me. These are the things in my 5%. I’m a writer. Other people can write. I’m a worship leader. Other people can lead worship. I’m a Bible teacher. Other people can teach the Bible. If I lose sight of my 5% because of the 95%, I’m out of balance and in need of recalibrating. It’s hard to say no in our culture because we don’t want to disappoint people. I’m a recovering perfectionist and a people pleaser, so it’s extra hard for me. But when I do exercise the power of a well-placed no—which ultimately leads to the even greater power of a well-placed yes—the difference astounds me.
The more my identity is secured in Christ, the easier it is for me to stay balanced. I’m not searching for approval and acceptance based on what I’m achieving. Instead, I’m allowing the Creator to love me and give me worth. And from that place, I can do good works He planned for me long ago.
Laura’s book, I Am Found, is helpful with Scripture, probing questions, and her desire is for you not to be perfect, but to rest in and pursue Jesus. His love for you – let that be where you find your identity. If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment here or on social media with a verse that helps you when you have those less-than-perfect moments. Thankful that she wrote this study and allows women to come wholly to the Word to experience freedom in the gospel.
Thanks Side Door Communications for the book and the giveaway. All opinions are my own.