Fighting Our Shame with Silence: a lesson in finding the truth through gratitude

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As human beings, I think if we are really honest, the painfully quiet moments are the hardest for us.

In those moments, we hear ourselves.

In those moments, we dream.

We grieve.

We speak.

We believe.

Or, we absolutely doubt.

And there, most of us are looking more at what should be than what is.

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Years ago, monks flogged themselves as they roamed the halls of their holy places, a punishment and form of killing off their broken human parts and their sins.

Even though the practice is not as common today, I suppose you and I still flog ourselves, too.

When it’s really quiet and we aren’t making excuses to anyone or defending our causes, we are hurting.

We are lonely.

We beat and bruise ourselves.

We’ve missed it again.

We punish.

We are afraid.

So when we’re tired of the quiet and we can’t stand the voice any longer, we run to the chaos, to the loud, to the TV, to the music, to the drink.

There are stories of Native Americans stopping after they’ve hunted an animal to thank them for their life before they kill them.

There, a moment of silence.

There, honoring a life and giving thanks for it.

We are afraid of the quiet because we don’t know how to be thankful for who we really are.

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Forget what your neighbor said about you two years ago, or what your best friend thinks you should spend your time doing.

Forget the hurt your brother caused or the unforgiveness that’s still lingering there.

Instead, stop and give thanks for your life.

Instead, stop and look at yourself.

Stop and receive the spirit of your living, breathing, gifted self.

We are not just skin and bones rattling through the days as best we can.

We are life and breath, voice and vision, flesh and blood.

“Healing may come through medicine, through prayer, through presence and scent and calming touch, or through the consecrating of the journey as holy, dignified, and not without purpose or grace.” -Rachel Held Evans

There is something about the journey of stepping through our shades of pain or hurt and walking through to the light, that brings us healing.

And our gratitude, speaking the truth over who we are and what we’re called to be– that’s what brings us out to the light, away from the shame that constantly grips us.

The lie is that God only finds us when we are good, when we are full of light and hope and there are no lies in us.

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But the reality is, those beings don’t exist, and in our quiet longings, He is our friend.

In our quiet longings, in the battling of lies and the resting of our souls, He is the hunter who calls us good, who thanks us for our living, for our gifts, for the love we bring.

And then He kills off the hurt, destroys the unrest, calls us to the light, and walks with us into glorious living.

Hallelujah and amen.

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