Tag Archives: shame

Called to the ‘Same Kind of Different’ Life

***Spoiler Alert*** If you haven’t read Same Kind of Different as Me, you may want to skip this post until after seeing the movie.

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Years ago after reading Same Kind of Different as Me, I dragged my three young children to Barnes & Noble in Waco to hear Ron Hall and Denver Moore speak. To be honest, I don’t remember what they said (probably because I was working hard to keep my kiddos still), but I do remember humility, and humor, characterizing the way they interacted with one another. It was refreshingly, not normal: this wealthy, white art dealer and a black homeless man sharing such an authentic friendship.

But had it not been for Ron’s late wife, Debbie, Ron would’ve never stepped foot in the homeless shelter where he met Denver, let alone navigate a relationship with someone so different from him. At the time they met, Ron had been having an affair, and Denver was the most violent, hard-to-reach man at the shelter. So no one would’ve predicted the transformation that would come for both.

In the movie we get snippets of the Halls pursuing after Denver, the Halls fighting for their marriage and then fighting Debbie’s cancer. Can you imagine the emotional exhaustion they must have felt? Plus, they had teenagers! The fact they didn’t throw in the towel is but by the grace of God.

Speaking of teenagers, with them in the Hall’s home, and the fine paintings and other high-dollar items they had, I think most of us would’ve been too afraid for Denver to even know where we live, let alone come spend the night. But Debbie inviting him into their home was the catalyst for the change in Denver, and the shift in their relationship.

For Denver, this invitation made him feel valued, loved and trusted, which then freed him to share his darkest secrets. And while I’m sure he still feared rejection might come when the Halls heard about his past, their response and unwavering acceptance reflected what God’s love is like.

I hope this story – this movie – will move in more of us to take up the “torch” (as Denver called for at Debbie’s funeral) to invest ourselves in the muck and mess of others, and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. For some this will be to the homeless populations in our cities. For others it will be to the refugees, sex trafficked, poor, homebound, elderly, disabled, sick, abandoned, addicts and others. For some, this will be overseas. But for all us, this should also be happening in our churches, workplace, schools, and neighborhoods!

All around us there is brokenness, hurt and need.

All around us there are those hiding their past, or current, struggles in fear of rejection.

All around us there are those who need a friend who isn’t going to walk away when things get too hard.

All around us there are those who feel such shame and hopelessness that to know just one person cares could change everything.

But I also know, like the many at Debbie’s funeral who gave Denver a standing ovation for his speech, the idea of doing what Debbie did is one thing, the putting into practice another. Why? At the heart level, there are at least two reasons: 1) our time, our things, our schedule is more valuable to us, and 2) our distracted, self-focused lives keep us from even seeing the needs of others.

Pouring ourselves out for others takes time. It’s a commitment and sacrifice that will not leave us unaffected. We will get entangled in other’s problems that will seem easier left alone. But like Ron Hall discovered, life interrupted was of far greater value than anything he owned. May we see this too.

May we be a people who see ourselves as the same kind of different as those around us. May this create in us humility, and the eyes to see and love our neighbors as ourselves. And through the loving others better, may hearts be transformed, communities changed, and in the process true joy discovered through the giving up of our lives.

Moms & Dads, Is This is Us?

Have you see this week’s episode of NBC’s ‘This is Us?’ If not, consider this your partial *spoiler alert!*

I think everyone in America loves this show because it depicts what real life is like dealing with the messiness of relationships and muck of this broken world. We identify with the characters, and see in them some of the same heart issues we struggle to deal honestly with. For some I imagine the flashbacks to the shaping events on the characters’ lives have struck a chord. But hopefully they have also challenged us to see the shaping influence we are on our own kids.

This does not mean we must be the perfect parent to keep from  negatively affecting our kids.  No, we can positively shape them as much (if not more) by how we deal with our sin and struggles, than in doing all the right things. So, don’t buy into the lie or the pressure that we must be perfect; God can and does use even our failures to shape them for his good.

But with that said, our words and actions do have a huge impact on our kids. From this Season 2, Episode 2 we see this through Kate’s relationship with her mom, Rebecca.

Even as an adult, Kate believes she fails to measure up to her mom’s standards. She sees her mom as everything she is not, so anytime Rebecca is around her insecurities are heightened. From her weight, to the way her house looks, how her boyfriend is perceived, and her singing and performing on stage, Kate feels she is not enough for her mom. And, therefore, not enough.

Through the flashback scenes and present day dialogue we see why. Rebecca sings beautifully, She also has a much smaller physical frame than her daughter. But the reason these are so problematic stem from her damaging words. Rebecca’s compliments of Kate come along with some form of correction or a how-to suggestion for getting better. She means it as encouragement, but these backhanded compliments fuel Kate’s feelings of inadequacy and become the source of shame she can’t get out from under.

Because of the shame, even when her boyfriend compliments or encourages her, it is never louder than the voice in her head that deems her worthless. Her whole identity hinging on her mom’s critique.

As I watched the show, it broke my heart for Kate. But it also broke my heart to know at times I have come across just like Rebecca (the mom, not my daughter Rebecca!) and have unintentionally led my daughter Rebecca (and probably others too) to feel less-than.

The mother/daughter relationship is especially tricky, and the father/son one can be too. We project onto our kids who we want them to be and push them to be better. But that measuring stick of our performance and successes can be a glaring reminder to them of where they fail to meet up to our expectations, accomplishments or appearances.  I think this occurs often when our kids do the same sports or activities we did. However, our different personality types and natural abilities also affect the way our kids see themselves compared to us.

So, Moms & Dads, do you see how this is us?

We heap shame on our kids even with well-meaning intentions. But the good thing in it being revealed is we can do something about it. That’s why seeing your sin is actually a good thing! Because only when you are aware of your sin can you confess and repent of it.

Therefore, instead of burying your failure underneath shame, or denying messing up, let’s deal honestly with our kids about the hurtful things we’ve said and will say, or the looks we’ve given. Let’s even ask them to point those things out to us; the things we aren’t even aware of. Can we do that?

By God’s grace, may we approach them with humility, be willing to listen to their perspective and make needed changes. May we start by asking for their forgiveness, and ask God (and them) to help us see when we still create insecurities in them. This is something I’m learning from my daughter. It hurts to see where my words or performance has led to insecurities in her. But I am thankful to be learning, and know it is growing ‘us’ closer.

Dealing honestly, even when it’s hard, is what will change the course of the shaping influence our sin and failures will have on our children. So let’s take a cue from ‘This is Us’ for the growth and good of our relationships by examining our hearts and living redemptively with one another.

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Face Time Podcast Episode 002: Striving for Perfection with Mary Carlisle Crehore

Today Mary Carlisle Crehore from the RUF campus ministry at the University of Texas is with me as my second Face Time podcast guest. She knows well the pressure to be perfect – the same goal so many teen and college girls are striving to attain. But Mary Carlisle can now reflect back on her years in high school and as a Vanderbilt University student to see the self-imposed standards she was living under for what they were. You will hear her talk honestly about the shame she carried, and the anxiety and fear that stole peace from her in the quest for perfection.

In case you missed the first episode with Martha Kate Stainsby on trying to be good enough as it relates to self-worth, body image and eating disorders you can listen to it: here. The idea behind each of these podcasts is to share the stories of young adult women who endured past struggled with various issues common to teen girls.

I hope for the parent listener and for the teenager, you will glean insight into the mindset (or the root) underneath these struggles as you listen to my guests discuss the lies they were believing about themselves and how they tried to secure an identity in false ways. And then as you hear how the reorienting truth of who Jesus is broke into their hearts, my prayer is you will feel better equipped and hope-filled to speak the gospel into the heart of your daughter or to yourself.

Thank you, Mary Carlisle, for sharing your story!

Show Notes:

  • To learn more about RUF, the college ministry Mary Carlisle was apart of as a college student and now as an intern go to: RUF.org
  • The favorite book referenced by Mary Carlisle is: Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney Martin
  • Scripture references for further reflection: Zephaniah 3:17 and Psalm 139
Mary Carlisle is from Charlotte, NC, graduated from Vanderbilt University, and now lives in Austin, TX as an RUF Intern at the University of Texas. She spends her days being outdoors as much as possible, running perpetually 10 minutes late, dancing in the car, getting excited about puppies and hanging with students and pizza. Her life goals are to love God and people more than she loves herself and to love the parts of herself and others that she finds unlovable (which will probably take her whole life). She loves to sail and gather around tables with friends and eat delicious food.