This past week I attended a conference called “The Soul of Shame” by Dr. Curt Thompson, psychiatrist, and author. In the evening, Steve was gracious enough to appease me with these questions I formulated during the conference.

Sitting outside with a glass of wine, we discussed what fear our parents operated out of. Then we shared what fear we thought we parented from. It was interesting to hear what each of us shared. For Mother’s day, I’m going to ask my kids for the gift of “conversation” around that question. I’d like to know their perspective on the question.

When the concept was presented in the conference, I prayed for the Spirit to show me where my parents operated out of fear. Interestingly, I couldn’t see any fear from my mother. I shared with her what I learned and what I sensed from her parenting. She proceeded to share something with me I never knew about her. Her mother and father were fearless. She never grew up hearing, “Don’t do that or you’ll hurt yourself.” It wasn’t until she became a mother and was around other mothers she realized how fearful women were.

I never knew that about my mom. She must be still percolating on my question because a few days later she texted me another thought.

I thought I’d post some of the questions we’ve been chatting about in our friend/family circle – maybe you’d like to ask them, too. Being known is risky but it’s also soul filling. It’s what we are made to be – to be known.

1. As an adult looking back on how your parents parented, what were they afraid of? Not afraid of for you so much as how they operated out of their fear. What fear did they operate out of?

In your parenting, what did (do) you communicate you were (are) afraid of?

2. Certain parts of our brains weren’t developed as a child because our parents taught us not to “pay attention” to that part; i.e.: sexual abuse, feelings/emotions, etc.

What did your family train you to not to “pay attention to?”

3. We don’t know what we don’t know. We need others to ask us questions to help us come to know ourselves.

What questions have you been asked that helped you to know yourself?

4. Practicing what we want to become. Perseverance is practicing over and over without knowing for sure the outcome (hope).

Draw who you are in 5 years. Now draw your daily practices. Do they get you where you want to go? What practice will?

5. John 1:29, Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
1:35, John’s disciples follow Jesus. In verse 38, Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?”

Genesis 3, “Where are you?”

What do you desire? Is this really what you want?

6. You are a “creating being.”

What are you creating? (As a worker, sisters, mothers, brother, father, daughter, friends, theologian, fireman)

7. Shame says we are bad. Shame makes us hide. Shame makes us believe no one is coming back for us. When we hide in shame we need someone to come and get us. We need God. We need others. Who has come to find you?

Where does evil come to find you?

8. Our brains are constantly taking in information and giving meaning to it. We, humans, are meaning makers. We constantly tell ourselves stories of who we are.

Consider the following about yourself. “When I awake and walk out the door, I am an agent of redemption.”

Is this the story
you’re telling? If not, what narrative are you living in right now? Is it true?

Evil intends to come in and shame you with a broken narrative. How’s that going?

9. God is in the business of doing things over a long period of time. We live in an Amazon/iPhone world of instant gratification. But goodness and beauty take a long time.

What do we want right now that God seems to be taking a long time to make?