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  • Julie Woodley, MA

The Trap of Self-Rejection


"The Unflinching, unwavering love and compassion of Jesus Christ, the stranger to self-hatred, is the ultimate source of our healing and wholeness.” Brennan Manning


Over the years as a wounded healer, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our lives is not popularity, or power, nor success, but self-rejection. Popularity and power may indeed present a seductive and great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much bigger story, the temptation to self-reject (i.e. Shame). Shame can erode at the depths of who we are. The voices that call us worthless, unlovable. Success, power, popularity may be perceived as attractive solutions. As soon as someone criticized me or I feel rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself listening to the dark side and thinking “I am no good…I deserve to be rejected, forgotten, pushed aside, abandoned.”


Self-rejection is the greatest enemy to our spiritual lives because it totally contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being God’s Beloved child constitutes the core truth of our existence.


In research trauma, I often see that trauma and shame go hand in hand. Another aspect of trauma is shame. They can become a volatile cocktail of tragedy and self-rejection. In studying shame, my heart is broken. As we delve into the sewage of shame we swim in the waters of ruined creatures. Ruined, though still carrying the image of God’s Glory. Studying shame and its ruins has pushed me deep into the heart of God, His restoration of the muck of shame, and His great glory bestowed upon those of us who are marked by shame.


With our discussion of shame, there is much to uncover. We must consider the difference between shame and guilt, the impact of shame, and our responses.  But most important, we must understand the theological pinning’s that need to undergird our thinking and our responses.  




Shame is really about WHO I AM.  Shames effect on us is felt in an inner torment and sickness of the soul.  He/ She feels defeated, alienated, and lacking dignity or worth. 

It is a beautiful paradox that the more we are regenerated to become like Christ, the more we become-the “self” God had in mind before the creation of the world when he had YOU in mind-YOU!  

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