Out of hiding.
BY IDA PAHUS
If there’s one struggle that has been the most common in my life, it’s probably shame. And it sucks because it has a way of making me want to hide and feel like there’s something wrong with me.
And recently it showed up again when I failed my practical driver’s test. Here in Denmark, you pay many thousands of dollars and have 22 hours of theory lessons and 18 hours of driving lessons on top of that before it’s time for the practical driver’s test. So a lot of sweat, blood, and tears had already been shed before you reach the point of your first driver’s test.
Most people I know--or at least those who share about their driver’s test--pass the first time. And so came my turn for the practical driver’s test . . . and I failed. And I went for the second driver’s test, which cost hundreds of additional dollars and failed once again. And haven’t taken my third driver’s test yet.
When I failed once, I was bummed. The second time I failed, I was devastated. I just wanted to hide the fact that this girl who everyone expected would pass the test the first time just failed again and disappointed. I went home, and I pretty much cried my eyes out. I let shame and defeat steal my joy for several days.
That’s when I realized that I had placed a part of my identity in my accomplishments and proving to people that I would excel in this. But I realized that’s not who I am, and every time I was hiding from people how I had failed again I was letting shame win.
But shame doesn’t have the final word. Not in my story and not in yours.
So here’s some things I’ve done to not let shame win this time:
001. Realizing that my identity and worth are not found in my accomplishments or anything that happen to me.
No matter if it’s my fault or not. No matter if I could have done more or not. My worth is so much more than that and cannot be changed by my circumstances.
When I decided to share my failing experience I finally realized how I was not the only one who had experienced failing at something that mattered a whole lot ,and shame lost the power over me. Darkness cannot own what’s covered in light.
003. Remembering the bigger perspective.
Even though I might have failed more times than what’s normal at my driver’s test, there are still so many other things going on in my life, and there must be something to be thankful for – even if it’s “just” food and water. Also, there is always more to come, and my life is not over because I failed twice. Time spent living in shame is time I could have used for thriving in freedom.
Even though my experience might not sound like the toughest thing to move past, and you might have a different struggle right now, let’s not disqualify or compare our pain to anyone else’s pain.
Let’s instead fight the battle together of overcoming shame in our lives. This is not the first time I have had to fight shame in my life, and there are going to be more battles to fight. It is all so much better when you know that you are not fighting alone. I’m here with you in this fight, and so is your Heavenly Father.