You may ask, why I have been discussing shame on this blog? It is because shame is something that prevents us from accessing the mind of God and living in His purposed Life for us. Shame is literally deadly to our body, soul and spirit and this is precisely why I am coming at shame with a vengeance.
A Personal Shame
I would like to share with you a personal shame that I think personifies the struggle, the lie and the damage. This shame is one I had as a child which has colored much of my life. When I was a boy in elementary school, I had extreme difficult with so many aspects of learning. Probably if I was growing up in this age of teaching I would have been diagnosed with a learning disability like dyslexia or ADHD and more likely than not would be medicated. It seems that so many boys are currently being medicated into conforming and learning.
One exercise that eluded me was dictation. The teacher would read a substantial sentence and the students had to listen without writing a thing. Then she would read it again and after you had to pick up your pencil and write it just as she read it. Then she would read it again after you wrote it so you could check your work. This was an absolute nightmare to me. I never could do it, I would get the first few words in my head and then she would continue reading the next few and I would simply lose the whole. It was impossible for me to do it.
I went into shame about this and accused myself of being stupid. “Other children could do it, I simply couldn’t…hence I must be stupid.” This happened every time this exercise was given for years. I thought, “What is wrong with me?!” And I left this whole encounter with a mar on my self-worth and ability to learn. I felt like I was simply subpar and limited.
Discipline not Shame
Well as I grew up I found out that this was simply not the case. I wasn’t stupid, I was being trained to be focused. My brain works very deliberately, which wasn’t a negative at all, it was a super positive. To this day I can’t have multiple things going on while trying to concentrate. Noise going on while I am reading, writing or thinking, just obliterates my concentration. Yet the other day Martha redeemed it all for me.
She said, “John, you have an organized mind and have disciplined it to focus. You have done the work in your mind and body to training it to be focused.” It is amazing I have overcome much of the chaos. I have ruled my mind and body. I’ve become a contemplative, which is a deep thinker, not stupid.
Yes, I have put discipline in my life spiritually, physically and practically and this is what a disciple is. I have done the work of surrendering to the One who is our discipline. Hallelujah, the Spirit has gained back the ground that I lost as a child in my identity and skills.