About the book:
Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame offers hope to those struggling under the burden of shame. This book shines the life-giving light of the gospel on the things that leave us feeling worthless and rejected, directing our attention to the God who promises to forgive and restore us—no matter what.
About the author:
Heather Davis Nelson (MA, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a writer, counselor, and speaker. Heather writes regularly at HeatherDavisNelson.com and has been a featured writer at the Gospel Coalition, as well as a contributing author to the Journal of Biblical Counseling. She and her husband are parents to twin daughters and live in southeastern Virginia.
Where readers can buy book: Link
After reading the introduction to this book I was quickly excited about the opportunity to read and meditate upon it. I would like to share one excerpt from the introduction that I found encouraging. Heather writes, “through union with Christ you are clothed with honor rather than shame, made part of a community to which you will always belong, and given a kingdom that cannot be taken away.” (p.24) I believe that the author is trying to encourage readers to live in the reality of who we are in Christ. Living in shame falls very short of embracing who we really are, in Christ, loved and forgiven. Another quote that I believe others can relate to, “shame tends to resist accepting forgiveness. It wants to think it needs to be earned or that it has never done quite enough, or that the mistakes or sin or imperfection are too pervasive for forgiveness; therefore I am not worthy.” (p. 45)
Heather begins the book by reminding readers about Adam and Eve, specifically how they were naked and ashamed. God provided a covering for them, covering their shame. She uses this biblical account and others to propel into the heart of the book. Shame is real, but, there is a covering, a cure, Christ. She titles this concept, “the great shame exchange.” (p. 32) She elaborates, “Jesus willingly clothed himself with your dishonor, giving his shame-free identity to you you will be united to him in faith.” (p. 32)
We face the challenge of being real with others. The shame that we carry, that we won’t let go, builds walls and barriers between us and others. She writes about Christ-formed community and the importance of becoming transparent. We fear exclusion and punishment, and that we will not be loved and accepted. (p. 52) I would like to add respect, I believe we also fear that others will not respect us. (Just a note, respect is something that Heather could have included) She reminds readers that perfect love casts out fear. Since we experience this love, we can also practice this same love. (P. 53)
Many people experience shame as a result of how they look, appear to others. Heather explain the many forms that this shame can take. We can become embarrassed of our bodies, we can worship our bodies, and we can even make ourselves sick. I could not relate to this concept. As an adult I have never really been concerned about the way that I look. I suppose as a teenager I may have experienced some low self-esteem. Now, my wife always tells me how handsome that I am, so this is no longer a problem. However, I would like to share what I do struggle with. I am sharing this because I want others to know that I tried to relate to the book in every chapter and concept. Since I started college later in life and I started a new career at age thirty-six, I often feel like I am inferior to other professionals my age. I worry about whether I am smart enough, academic, or experienced enough. Since the mind is part of the body, I have found a way to relate to what Heather is writing.
I read, and listened to the great advice that Heather wrote concerning shame in marriage, and shame-free parenting. These chapters are very insightful. Ironically, I have been married almost twice as long as Heather, and I was a parent much earlier than her, but I learned a great deal. And I was challenged. I would also like to point out that she has gleaned from excellent resources, and within the book I discovered other titles and authors I would like to read. The two chapters on marriage and parenting are worth buying the book; I believe the information is that valuable.
In the last two chapters of the book Heather writes about community/church. I appreciate what she wrote, “Rather than confronting the sins of the outside culture, a shame resisting church focuses more on repenting of its own sins.” (p. 158) I suppose that whoever reads this book will appreciate the book in their own way. I believe Heathers purpose in writing the book is to encourage Christians to live a life free of shame, for Christians to embrace who they are in Jesus Christ. Holding on to shame, whatever type it may be, can only lead to more shame. We can experience shame because of sin, some may live in shame because of abuse. After reading this book, I have learned that it is possible to pass shame on to others. Which is not something that I want to be guilty of.
Each chapter included extensive reflection and discussion questions. The book contains two appendices, Clinical Definition of Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Eating Disorders, and Further resources on Abuse. I have already mentioned Heathers use of helpful resources. I would recommend the book to anyone who is struggling with past sin, whether it is their own, or whether they have been a victim of sin. I would recommend the book to anyone who desires transparency with others (freedom), or anyone who struggles with “fitting in.” I believe the book can be a help, a push in the right direction. Heather gives right encouragement, shares her experience, and presents biblical advice (wisdom). The book also offers some healthy preventive advice with the hope that we will avoid causing shame in the life of others.
I am offering one giveaway copy of this book. In order to qualify you must follow my blog and like this book review. If you are a follower and you like my book review I will assume that you want to participate in the drawing. In three days (Tuesday, July 5) I will randomly select one person. Giveaways are open to the continental U.S. and Canada.
In exchange for an honest review Propeller/FlyBy promotions has provided me a free copy of this book. I have given an honest review.
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