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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cowed No More

What do you do when you blow it?
a. crawl into a hole
b. try to be extra good
c. confess it to God and move on
d. confess it to another person
e. shrug it off
(Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1502).

I address this question in terms of stages of maturity. When I was a youth my typical response upon blowing it would be to crawl into a hole and then try ineffectively and fraudulently to be extra good--or at least maintain a semblance of "cool".  Rather than confessing it to God and moving on, I marinated in a soup of shame, anxiety, and self-condemnation for days. "Shrugging it off" has never been something I have been able to do successfully, nor has secretly confessing it to God been effective for the matter remains thereafter a carefully guarded secret defensively hidden from others. As I have matured, I find it essential for mental and spiritual health to outflank the embarrassment and shame arising from failure. This is most effectively accomplished by confessing the blunder, mistake, or failure to another human being or human beings in an expeditious manner. If you have read my blogs over the past week or so, you will recognize that at times I have used this forum to confess some of my shortcomings. It is remarkably freeing to be able to tell the world of my weaknesses and thus to outflank the tendency to marinade in shame for weeks on end. This is such an effective way to overcome the self-flagellation that accompanies failure that I highly recommended it to everyone. You can outflank hidden shame by being frank, open and free.  You will be amazed at your new-found resilience and strength and suddenly lifted burden.  Without this stance of strength and joy (including the ability to laugh at oneself), one is forced into a field of guarded negativity in which essential trust is missing in action.

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