Oh boy. The change we are working on, that of coming to a place where we feel unconditionally loved enough to love our children unconditionally and teach them to be responsible, can feel overwhelming, taxing, exhausting, painful, shameful and unending!
Hello my friend, I hope you are well today.
As we learn the principles of unconditional love (and TMS), there are several ways we can make the process more difficult, and therefore more tension-building, than it needs to be!
The main deterrent is, buying into a feeling of shame that causes all of the debilitating feelings listed above! None of them are necessary! Let me share why.
But first, what is shame anyway?
Shame is a feeling or belief that I am flawed. Not that I’ve made a mistake or made a mess or even hurt someone else and need to make amends.
No, shame is a deceitful way of thinking that gives us the pseudo feeling of being humble. (Actually shame is proud, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Shame (evil’s voice) whispers that we are bad, that we are broken beyond repair or reconciliation, that after x number of tries at being loving and responsible, we are doomed to failure.
Shame also feels like abandonment, like we are banished to a dark corner and dared to succeed all on our own!
But God doesn’t work that way, and teaches us with the opposite counsel.
No, God doesn’t deal in shame but instead with remorse of conscious and Godly sorrow, which require humility and are starkly different than feelings than “feeling ashamed!”God doesn’t inspire us to hide. He asks us to step into the light and be accountable.
God doesn’t say we are beyond help when we make mistakes, He says He’s got us covered.
God doesn’t condemn us, with thoughts like, “3 strikes and you’re out,” even when we flat-out sin!
Besides the shame response being a trap that keeps us from truly seeing ourselves as we are and then taking the steps needed to repent and turn back to God, feeling ashamed and critical of ourselves can keep us from the real change that makes learning and living these principles even possible: that is a change of heart.
Not only a change of heart, but a change of attribution! Or in other words, God is asking us not to change by ourselves and then strut around because we have cracked the code and feel proud and accomplished! He wants, and is perfectly and beautifully able, to change us Himself, in concert with our agency!
As I see it, He is asking us to allow Him to change us, through His prescribed way of changing, into a loved and loving parent!
Here’s the recipe from King Benjamin:
“Believe in God; believe that he is and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of our sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, (here is the unconditional love we desperately need!) and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, (not to yell or attack or belittle or lie or disrespect) but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.” Mosiah 4:9-15, The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. (Italics and thoughts in parenthesis added by me.)
I testify that God is able to do His work! And, that His work is aiding in our growth and progression!
He has the power to change us.
To forgive us.
To love us in a way that settles our spirit, puts away our stress, covers and quiets our fears and leads us to great success in our families, while glorifying Him!
“And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, …” Mosiah 4:2-3, The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
When we respond to our mistakes and emptiness in this way, with faith in Christ, not faith in ourselves, with humility instead of pride, we will have the power to change without being side-tracked by feelings of shame which comes with exhaustion and overwhelm.
Instead, as we grow little by little through our humility and faith, we will experience a peace in our families that surpasses anything we have known before!
I know this is true.
God bless you with the change of heart you desire, and then may He bless your family through you, with His joyful peace!
P. S. We are learning and practicing this mindset and these skills in Healing With Love. Join us. It’s a deep dive, and will take sincere effort, but is there something else more important than the health, happiness and success of your family?