One thing that draws me to people who have wrestled with God besides the humility that comes from their wounding is that they often have also had their masks ripped off in the process and know who they truly are.
Wm Paul Young is one of those people.
A shame lifter.
I went to an event called Where is God When…? this weekend here in Portland.
It was an evening of story and music exploring loss, brokenness and surrender.
He talked about his losses.
His abuse from an early age.
The façade he constructed to cover his shame.
The ways he betrayed and hurt his wife, family and friends.
It reminded me of the excruciating irony that the thing we are so scared of – our shame being uncovered and revealed – is actually the thing that we need to begin to be unburdened and heal from it.
To speak the unspeakable, to finally tell the truth, frees us from the lies and façades that have trapped us.
One of the most devastating moments was the picture of himself as a little boy. One of the saddest things I have ever seen.
Another reason I love shame lifters is that they not only rescue the lost and hurting child inside of themselves by telling the truth and seeking help but they rescue those hurting children in others. They break cycles of pain and trauma and abuse that have occurred for generations. In homes and in churches.
Paul Young lifts shame by holding back none of his secrets.
By standing on a stage and sharing what has happened to him and what he did and showing he survived through many things like the love and wrath of God through his wife, the help of his friends and therapist.
To paraphrase him (and Francis Chan)
Our failures and brokenness are unwanted gifts that can prevent us from succeeding at the wrong things, the things that ultimately don’t matter.
A very powerful evening, I was grateful to be a part of.
During the time the audience was allowed to respond I prayed for several people I wish could have heard what he and the other authors had shared.
I hope the video of the night will be available in the future.