Unlovable: How Shame Affects Us

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Welcome to Day 6 of our 30 Day series, A Time to Clean. Today I’m sharing a subject that is deeply personal to me. Regardless of how shame affects us, I want you to know that you are loved.

Shame is so powerful that it can drive you to believe that not only are you unworthy of being loved but that you have no control over your own life. That no matter what you do or how hard you try nothing will ever change. @ AVirtuousWoman.org #ATimeToClean

A Time to Clean: Day 6

If you look up the definition of shame, you’ll find these words: “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”

But, shame is more than a feeling of guilt. It goes deeper than the idea that you’ve done something wrong. For the woman who bears a mark of shame, it’s like the scarlet letter – an almost tangible feeling that she’s not worthy of being loved.

Dr. Brene’ Brown said it well, “Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.”

When You Feel Unlovable

I can personally testify to what shame did in my life and I know I’m not the only woman who has looked in the mirror and wished she was someone else.

As a child I was picked on and teased unmercifully. I was teased everyday by nearly everyone in my class for years. I was the child who didn’t fit anywhere.

And when I looked in the mirror, I agreed with the world. I was ugly. I was unlovable. I was unwanted. I was nothing. Nothing worth having.

Because I believed I was unlovable, I felt a desperation – a deep longing and need – to be loved by someone. Anyone.

I didn’t know what it really meant to be loved by Christ. I only knew how much I desired to be loved and accepted by the people around me, by the world.

I never fit in. My heart was more than insecure, it was damaged and broken. Shattered by the cruel voices that taunted my every moment.

I never fit in with kids my own age. And then I became a mother. Pregnant at the tender age of 14. I felt shamed. Every where I went I could feel the stares, the questions, the assumptions, and the judgments.

The shame lasted. Continued for years, even as I attended church as a 19 year old mother of two. I didn’t fit in with the soccer moms in their thirties. I didn’t fit in anywhere I went. And after two decades of rarely having friends, and never having lasting friendships, of struggling to talk to people, of always feeling ugly and unlovable… I was still desperate for someone, anyone to love me.

By the time I was 21, I was a divorced mother of three. A young mother with no education, no husband, no job, no home of my own.

Shame was who I was.

Your story may be different from mine, but when you look in the mirror all you can see is your shame. So many circumstances can cause us to feel shame – being bullied at school, abuse from your father or indifference toward you by your mother, or even choices you’ve made – drugs, alcohol, sex, abortion.

Shame is so powerful that it can drive you to believe that not only are you unworthy of being loved but that you have no control over your own life. That no matter what you do or how hard you try nothing will ever change.

Shame is so powerful that it can drive you to believe that not only are you unworthy of being loved but that you have no control over your own life. That no matter what you do or how hard you try nothing will ever change. @ AVirtuousWoman.org #ATimeToClean

Shame can leave you feeling powerless. 

Jesus came to save us from shame. He was shamed and scorned so that we can live forever with Him who will never shame us.

There’s a story in the Bible of a young woman, who was caught in the act of adultery and drug out into the streets to be publicly shamed.

Imagine for a moment this scene. There’s this young woman, probably naked or barely covered, her sins have been exposed and there are elders – prominent men who are respected in the community mocking her, judging her, ready to kill her. She’s overwhelmed, broken, terrified that this will be the story of her life.

That this will be her story.

And Jesus comes to her rescue and He tells the mockers and haters to leave her alone. 

“Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” John 8:1-11 {The Message}

Neither do I condemn you. 

Your past is your past. You can’t change it. It’s time to own your own story and claim victory in Christ. Because the ending to your story doesn’t stop at yesterday. You have today. You can choose today to claim the promise of forgiveness and redemption through Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

He is all powerful where you feel powerless. 

When our past is colored by shame, every failure, every imperfection is magnified. We can’t see past our shame until we choose to be set free. As a wife and a homemaker I’m only now beginning to be okay with my imperfect self and yet I still struggle with it! When we hold onto shame, our homes suffer because we can’t find the joy in the mundane because it’s all colored with imperfection and shame.

This doesn’t have to be your story. 

My Testimony

I had the privilege to talk with Tiffani Riveron and share my story. I wanted to share that interview with you here.

Click here to listen to {or download} my interview with Tiffani. 

Today’s Goal

  • Are there things from your past that are laying claim on your life that you need to give to Jesus?
  • Ask Jesus to bathe you in His love so that your innermost being feels loved and worthy of love.
  • Pick up a journal and write down your thoughts about what He has shown you or print my free prayer journal.
  • Choose an area in your home you want to tackle.
  • Fill at least one bag or box full of stuff to give away.
  • Take a picture of your bag. Share it on Facebook or Instagram – use hashtag #atimetoclean {optional}
  • Leave a comment below about what you chose to get rid of and anything else God has laid on your heart.
  • Do your best to wake up early tomorrow and spend time in prayer. Use your prayer journal.

What is your story?

I want to hear your story! If you feel led to share, please comment below or send me an email.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story! It's so encouraging that any story can have happiness even in the worst of times. And you're completely right, Jesus is the only one who can know exactly how we feel and how to comfort us, if we turn to him he will always be there. This has been a freeing experience for me already and I'm excited for the next few weeks:)
  2. I was 20 unmarried when I became pregnant, the father became part-time my parents disowned me, family members harassed me to get an abortion, It never occurred to me that an abortion was an option. I survived working part-time and a small social security check from my biological mother. My son's father helped out a little bit, but I was thankful for any help I could get.I'm guessing that's where I learned to be thrifty. I was raised Catholic so I had found a church that I attended and had spoken to the priest about getting my son baptized when he was born and he told me I had to take classes and I did. I'll get back to that. My son was born In January about 3 weeks early, the Christmas before he was born my son's father went to his parent's house without me, he never told them about me. That Christmas was the worst day of my life, I love Christmas and to be left behind by your boyfriend, that truly was heartbreaking. When my son was born I went to talk to the priest about getting my son baptized and after doing what was asked of me he told me I didn't feel it would be right to baptize a bastard child, not my words those were his. I was devastated. It was really hard raising him all by myself, I was able to get free daycare because I made so little. I was so ashamed for years. Until 4 years later my biological sister had her sons birthday at her church, I was speaking to her paster and he found out my son was not baptized, he stopped the party and told everyone we had a very important thing we had to do. We all went upstairs to the church and he announced we were going to have my son baptized right then, and he was. During the service, he went on about forgiveness and how we are not to judge others and that the biggest gift I could give my son was to forgive myself. That was the day I was no longer ashamed of anything I had done. My foster family did not forgive me. I am 58 and my son is 36, and we have a fantastic relationship. I think we hang on to so much garbage that we waste years being ashamed of our life. Let it go. Thank you for reading this and sorry if I ramble.LOL
  3. Melissa, My heart praises the Lord when I hear about others who God has freed from the deep shame of sin. I cannot imagine how that must have felt. Thanks for sharing your story. I know all too well about shame personally myself. For me, it was living with ‘bipolar disorder’ and the many choices I made, including an abortion that spurred me deep into the occultic practices of the new age seeking love. I’m so glad “He sought me and bought me with His redeeming love”. Jesus came to seek those who are lost and for everyone He saves it is such a miracle. Life is so much sweeter resting in His perfect grace. What an incredible God we get to serve. I encourage anyone who may read this article that Jesus lives. He can and will deliver your shame from past choices and set you free!

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