Brene Brown writes in her book Daring Greatly,
"When our self-worth isn't on the line, we are far more willing to be courageous and risk sharing our raw talents and gifts... A sense of worthiness inspires us to be vulnerable, share openly, and persevere."
This really hits home for me as I am sure it does for many people. Here is what I believe, though I frequently have to remind myself... I am enough. And I know this because the One who sees behind all the masks of perfection I try to portray says so. He says I am enough and I am so incredibly valuable just as I am, that he was willing to sacrifice Himself for me.
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
My self worth is not tied to my purpose, my performance, or anyone elses acceptance of me. And that is freeing! That allows me to be me and use my gifts and talents and pursue my passions because failure may hurt but it does not define me.
Failure may hurt but it does not define me.
For some reason I have the re-learn this continually even though I was blessed to be raised by parents who always made me feel like enough and am blessed to be married to a man who makes me feel like more than enough and I am blessed to have friends who love me for who I am. And yet somehow I often believe that I have fooled them all. But I cannot fool my Creator which is why it is so important for me to daily listen to Him tell me that He loves me exactly how I am, exactly who I am, exactly who He created me to be.
Brene goes on to describe shame,
"Shame is fear of disconnection-- it's the fear that something we've done or failed to do, an ideal that we've not lived up to, or a goal that we've not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection."
The gospel message again sets me free from that fear. The truth is, I haven't lived up to God's glorious standard, but Jesus made a way for me to connect with God despite my failure. He makes me enough.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ."
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
In a TEDxHouston talk, Brene describes courage as telling the story of who you are with your whole heart. I am learning to love my own story, and the gospel gives me the courage to tell it because I am already loved. Whether anyone likes my story or cares about my story, whether my story makes one bit of difference to anyone else, it is the only story I have and the saddest thing I can imagine is living my life too afraid to tell it.
Aside from living my own story, nothing makes me more fascinated or inspired than seeing others courageously live their own stories.
Brene writes in summary of her decade of research on shame and vulnerability,
"The greatest lesson is this: If we're going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To set down those lists of what we're supposed to be is brave. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly."
Changing our culture with courage and daring to be vulnerable and tell the story of who we really are with our whole hearts might be the most important thing we do as parents, spouses, friends, teachers, etc. Our courageousness might just allow and encourage others to do the same when we recognize that we are all loved and we do not need to compete with one another.
Let's set our children, spouses, friends, students, etc. free from measuring up, free from connecting their self-worth to what they produce. God has already accomplished this with the gospel but we don't live like it. Let's live like it and experience the inspiring stories of a culture set free from shame!
If you haven't already read it, I highly recommend Brene Brown's book "Daring Greatly." I also highly recommend the Bible. I think their messages are complimentary :)