Shame

Leonardo Da Vinci said “It is not enough to believe what you see, you must also understand what you see.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown.

I’m still trying to understand her thoughts completely but I think Christians can learn a lot from her about shame and vulnerability.  I also think secular research and wisdom can only take us so far and need to be tempered with and answered by Biblical wisdom.  Here’s the video and some thoughts:

I agree with her that “connection is how we’re wired,” however, I don’t think mere connection is why we’re here.  (Psalm 86:9, Romans 11:36, 1 Cor. 10:31)

She says to live whole hearted lives, we need courage, connection, and vulnerability then we’ll achieve joy and belonging.  She also says we numb both the good and bad emotions to try and protect ourselves from the bad, amen and amen.

Brown’s Advice for whole-hearted living:

1 – Let ourselves be seen

Yes, but seen by whom?  Who will see and know us in this life and continue to love us completely?  I don’t think humans have the capacity for that(unconditional love) but its what we’re all longing for.  God is the only and most important One who can know us completely.  (1 Chronicles 28:9, 1 Samuel 16:7, Psalm 139)

2 – Practice gratitude and joy

Yes.  Absolutely necessary, that’s why God commands us to be thankful and joyful.  (1 Thess. 5:16-18, Deut. 16:14, 1 Chron. 16:34)

3 – Believe that we’re enough

This is where I most disagree, yes we are loved by God, but its despite our unworthiness, not because of our worthiness.  For me, when I’m trying most to believe/convince myself that I’m worthy of love and connection is when I’m least likely to be vulnerable and truly known as she prescribes.  We don’t measure up, we’re not enough.  (Romans 3:23, Eph. 2:1, Eph. 2:8-9) In Brown’s words, “we’re hard wired for struggle.”  In the Bible, we can see that we’re both valuable to God and completely depraved.  Here’s a really helpful and short post on self worth at Desiring God that has helped me to understand this.

Anyway, I don’t know very much about psychological research at all but found Brown’s conclusions interesting and helpful.

If you’re interested, her follow up talk is also quite good and is here:

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Lastly, back to my boy Leo –

“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”
―Leonardo da Vinci

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