What’s wrong with me?!!

It’s a question we seldom voice but is being answered anyway. A multitude of images, voices, nuances, remind us daily, without fail, that we are ‘not [_____] enough.
[insert: fit, smart, wealthy, liked, connected, fashionable, loved, respected, successful.]

This friends, is the voice of the shame. Author Curt Thompson calls the little voice in our head reminding us of our short-comings our Shame Assistant. I like to call that implicit voice my Shame Butler. Yep, my Shame Butler is right there when I wake in the morning to remind me that I’m tired and shouldn’t have stayed up talking till 11 PM. He’s faithfully there to tell me my T-shirt looks old and that I really should be reading my bible before I read my emails. As I look in the mirror on the way to the shower my Shame Butler reminds me I should work out. And he’s faithfully there to remind me that my 18 year old car is old, embarrassing, and makes me look poor as I drop the kids off at school, ‘You should get a new car’, he often reminds me. And this is all before 8am! All day he picks away at my humanity; that which my Creator calls ‘very good’. Ever notice how full of should our Shame Butlers are?

But, I’m slowly learning to discern the voice of my Shame Butler and his covert operation is being exposed. I have discovered some ways to shut the pesky little shouldhead up. Now, I can report that I tried declaring Scripture at him and telling him what I think I know about myself but he’s so irrational. I have tried crafting a public persona that looks more acceptable to my peers and even leveraged social media in this campaign but that seemed to make things worse. You see, shame operates in the realm of feelings and emotions so don’t bother arguing facts and trying to convince your Shame Butler with performance-based Likes and applause. I should also mention that he’s also impossible to ignore, so ignorance doesn’t really work either. You’re welcome.

So here’s the strategy; I’ve been blowing his cover and instead of hiding, I’ve embraced more and more of my weaknesses, limitations and losses, and brought them into the light off my Creator and a community of others who are committed to loving me. My Shame Butler’s ‘not enoughs’ are being overruled and silenced by vulnerability and being lovingly known by those who I have a covenant connection and safe relationship with. I have also found that if I limit exposure to people, messages and events that reinforce my Shame Butlers script, he’s less likely to speak with the authority of allies.

Friends, I don’t know if our Shame Butlers will never leave us, but I do know we can send them on extended breaks and gradually challenge and silence their ‘not enoughs’ with the Good News message of ‘Loved and accepted as I am.’  Slowly but surely, if we allow ourselves to be known, the True Narrator of our story will scorn shame and we’ll be able to hear the glorious songs of grace and redemption He’s singing over us. [Heb 12:1,2]


  1. Deb June 2, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Loved this, how do you walk this out with God and others (as per your article)?

  2. Joan Westaway September 14, 2019 at 1:27 pm


    What’s wrong with me?
    I try
    What’s wrong with me?
    I cry
    Everything I do is wrong
    Dear God
    I can’t do enough
    Can’t be enough
    From the top of my head
    To the tip of my toes
    There’s all of me that knows
    I’m never good enough

    Toughen up Kid
    Put a lid on it
    Stop that crying now
    You just don’t have what it takes
    Never make it
    Even if you fake it

    Can’t even fake it
    Just no good
    No damn good
    For anything
    A good-for-nothing
    And you’re-to-blame

    Shame shouting
    Dishing it up
    A presentation setup
    You’re the best
    The best ‘no-good’ there is
    And that stings
    Brings tears to my eyes
    Shame trickles down
    Blaming me
    Shaming me
    Staining me
    Stinging again-and-again
    That’s the game
    I’m all wrong
    That’s Shame’s song
    All along

    And the tears roll down
    Is this mess really me?
    And I wish
    I really wish
    I really, really wish
    That somehow
    I could dish this crap
    That’s been dished up to me

    I breathe
    I wish
    I double-wish
    I hope
    I double-dare
    Must be someone who cares
    Wipe away the tears
    Sight sort of clears
    I hear
    I hear something
    I feel something that’s real
    More real than I could hope
    Hope spoke
    Wanna know a thing-or-two?
    I love you
    And I know
    And you know
    You are not good at everything
    I have made you good at some things
    So many things
    To shine
    To be bright with my light

    Shame has shouted his foul lies
    Presenting those foul lies
    Till you took them on
    Believing them as true
    As belonging to you

    But here is my song
    My plans for you are good
    Good and strong
    You may have done wrong
    You have done wrong
    But you-are-not-wrong
    You are not a wrong
    Repeat after me
    I–am –not–a–wrong
    Agree with me
    Align with me
    Dear child
    You are mine
    Made for me
    By me
    To be you
    Fearfully made
    Wonderfully made
    Made to be you
    To glorify me
    I love you
    You are mine!

    Joan Westaway© September 2019

  3. David Tensen September 15, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Love it! Thanks you, Joan. Sharp, as usual.

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