I recently read a book by Ed Welch called Shame Interrupted. When I told my husband that I don’t really struggle with shame, he challenged me on this: “What about your legs?”
The significance of the shame I have of my legs is that I have a condition called ichthyosis combined with eczema. Ichthyosis causes my skin to look pretty bad. In fact, it’s rough, scaly skin akin to that of a fish-like quality. You’ll never catch me wearing shorts or a short skirt without pantyhose outside of my home. That’s shame.
The reason I thought I didn’t deal with shame is because I viewed it as victimization shame, something I have limited knowledge of. I’ve been fortunate not suffer from any physical or sexual abuse so when I think of shame, I often think of the shame associated with being abused. But there’s shame that comes with being picked last for a team in school. There’s shame that comes when everyone knows you got passed over for a job. There’s shame that comes when you realize that you no longer fit into your old clothes because you’ve gotten too big.
So the more I think about it, the more I realize shame is a subject with which I am far too intimately acquainted.
Ed Welch suggests overcoming this a lot of this shame by recognizing Jesus took on shame for us when he went to the cross and died. When he rose again, he also conquered our shame. By trusting in him, we are made clean rather than unclean. We are consecrated rather than contaminated.
But I will probably still wear pants and long skirts.