Are you ready to break free from shame and embrace the grace and joy that comes with understanding your ADHD brain through a Christian lens? In this episode of the "An ADD Woman" podcast, host Lacy Estelle dives deeper into the topic of ADHD and shame, following up on the previous episode that left some listeners with unanswered questions.
By addressing the shame-guilt dynamic in the context of ADHD, Lacy offers a perspective that will resonate with Christian women struggling to reconcile their faith with their neurodivergent brains. She emphasizes the importance of understanding God's unconditional love and forgiveness, reminding listeners that Jesus died for all sins, past and future.
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ADHD and Shame: Unanswered Questions
[0:01] Hey guys, and welcome back to An ADD Woman Podcast. I'm Lacy, and today we're going to talk about ADHD and shame again.
We're going to talk about it. I'm going to do a follow-up from an episode I did two episodes ago on ADHD and shame.
We're going to get into a little bit more because I spoke to a few of you after that episode aired, and some of you said, you know, you still felt like there was some unanswered questions. You know, the whole shame versus guilt concept was a little difficult to wrap your mind around. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna keep going with that. And I'm gonna talk a little bit more about it. And hopefully we can answer some questions better. So let's do it.
Welcome to an ADD woman podcast. I'm your host, Laci Estelle, a Christian, a wife, a mother, a fellow ADHDer, a writer, and now a podcaster.
This is the podcast where we talk about ADHD from a Christian woman's perspective, and everything it intersects with.
Our moods, our work, our relationships, the list is endless.
We're going to dig deep into the core of our faith.
[1:15] We're putting our brains under a microscope and measuring ourselves based on the truth of God's word.
It's not going to be easy, but I know it will be worth it.
So are you ready to embrace joy, peace, and even some self-discipline?
Or are you perfectly content with life passing you by while you procrastinate doing the dishes for the 600th time?
The truth is, understanding our ADHD brains won't always be comfortable.
In fact, I'd venture to say, the more I know my brain, the more frustrated I can become with it.
But there is wisdom in embracing it. And there is joy and peace in molding it to a mind of Christ, not of ourselves.
But you have to want it. So do you? Do you want more peace, patience, and productivity?
If so, you are in the right place.
[2:02] One thing I want to talk about that I think I touched on in the last episode, and that
Shame vs. Guilt: A Christian Perspective
[2:07] was that shame versus guilt.
I talked about how shame a lot of times can be self-blame. Something's wrong with me.
I'll never get it right. And it's not very motivating, whereas guilt is actually motivating.
And a lot of people assume that these are the same words or that they're synonyms of each other.
Not exactly synonyms when it comes to the way we perceive them and the way that we utilize them in using like our self-talk.
And I actually think that if you really keep going when you're talking about shame versus guilt, you recognize that there is a huge thing at play in that aspect when it comes to our faith as Christian women.
Time tends to make you believe you need a works-based salvation, and guilt helps you to recognize that we have a gospel-based, a grace-based salvation.
And I'm going to explain that.
[3:08] If you grew up in the church at all, and I say I grew up in the church, but at the same time my primary parents didn't really come to Christ until I was in my teen years, and At that time, most of the basis for my Christian faith was friends, youth groups that I attended, my grandmother, who was really wonderful, but also very much kind of a Bible thumper.
She wanted to kind of hit you with the gospel like a brick rather than, you know, with a lot of mercy, which is fine.
But a little hard to handle when you're a rebellious teenager.
So there was a lot of things that I was made to feel very ashamed for.
Typical things that, you know, are hormones come into play with.
But, you know, I know a lot of people talk these days of why purity culture is so toxic and all those things.
And that's probably a whole different thing for a whole nother episode.
But ultimately, if you did grow up in the faith and you grew up with maybe, you know, kind of lukewarm parents or your faith walk was, you know, based on wanting to do what friends were doing or wanting to go and you didn't really.
[4:15] You didn't really study your Bible. You didn't, you didn't do those things at the time. You were just trying to live by the rules, right? And so you were made to feel very ashamed if you were struggling with something like, you know, engaging in sex before marriage. Or maybe these days, I know a lot of people struggle with same-sex attraction. And instead of being presented a gospel point of view for those sort of shortcomings, we were instead presented a, you know, get right with God point of view. And it perpetuates this shame feeling of, I'm never going to be good enough, right? And what happens is when this, as a, as a young girl, or even as an adult woman these days, when you are experiencing this, especially if you have ADHD, It doesn't make you want to run to God, instead it makes you fearful that God is angry with, you, that he is upset with you, that you can't go to him with any of this, that, you know, it's basically, you know, living this, this whole idea of why would God want me if I can't live up to his expectations, right?
But that's, that's not what the gospel teaches us.
[5:31] The one thing that my mom told me a while ago, and that was that somebody a lot of times, Christian, baby Christians, who, you know, they get into the faith and they're like, yeah, I'm going to do it right. I'm going to follow and I'm going to do all these things, right?
And then they stumble.
And then they kind of, it makes them question, you know, how, how can God still love them if obviously after they turned to him, they messed up and stuff.
And she just asks them, well, were you alive when God took the cross?
Well, well, no. Okay. He already died for all of your future sins. He died for all sin.
Okay, so He already knew what you were gonna do before and after.
He already knows all of that because He already took the cross even before you were born.
Struggling with Sin: Shame and Pride
[6:17] For a long time, that concept to me was really difficult because I was like, okay, yes, but like at the same time, how can he deal with me?
You know, I can't even deal with me sometimes.
I can't even stand the things that I do that I mess up, you know.
And it sets us up, like I said, to ponder a workspace salvation.
[6:41] And we can never achieve that on this side of heaven. Now, I know that there is a lot of talk out there from a lot of Christian women who say, you know, you can go to God and he will equip you and he will help you to not stumble and to not sin. Yes, he will. But I need for you to understand something that does not always mean that the minute you start going to God about it, that he is going to immediately sanctify you from that sin.
It doesn't work that way, and I know that perhaps in some Christian circles, okay, I know in a specific Christian circle that I used to be in, okay, and I'm not gonna speak on what denomination that was or anything along those lines, but I'm just telling you, sin was skirted under the rug, okay? We all knew we probably were committing it, but nobody was talking about it, and that's That's a problem because if you are not able to talk about something you're struggling with, a sin you're struggling with, and receive mercy, but also righteous discipline for that struggle, I'm sorry, but your church family is all wearing masks.
[8:01] They are all wearing masks. Now, is it difficult to admit, like, okay, maybe I got this wrong or I'm struggling with this and it is hindering my walk and therefore maybe I shouldn't be a leader in the women's ministry at my church?
Or maybe, okay, what if you feel righteous in your choice, okay?
You mess up or you go gambling and you tell yourself, well, I can do that because my husband drinks all the time.
Again, this comes back to this shame spiral and pride, because ultimately what shame is doing, okay, when shame tells you, look at you, you're just going to keep messing up, you're broken, you're unfixable, you can't get it right, you're dirty, you're naughty, you're all of those things, okay, when it tells you all of that, it tells you, why would God want me?
And then it furthermore, it says, you can't go to God with this, because you can't go to the church with this, because you can't do that. Oh, you know, you're the worst sinner.
You're the worst sinner out of all these other people. They're not struggling with that.
[9:14] Just you. Just you're struggling with that. And so then pride takes over and pride says, well, if I can't win, I might as well lose. So yeah, I have a gambling problem, but Susie
Struggling with Guilt and Comparison
[9:26] over there has a drinking problem or, yeah, I struggle with sex before marriage and I, you know, I'm doing this and I'm doing that, well, you know, but my boyfriend won't marry me.
Okay. But, you know, I know that so-and-so over there, they did the same thing, but they got married and, you know, how come it's okay for them and not okay for me?
And it makes you sit back and tell yourself, oh, well, I can't win, so I'm going to lose.
And that is works-based salvation.
That is not how it works.
The gospel says that Jesus died for us even while we were still sinners. He knows.
He knows that we will sin. He knows that we will continue to struggle.
He knows we will do all those things.
And when we blame ourselves and we shame ourselves and we tell ourselves what we are really doing is we're telling God, we don't need you.
Yes, we're going to mess up, we're going to get it wrong, but rather than come to you and surrender these struggles to you, we would rather just sit in it.
[10:33] Punish ourselves for it, and become prideful. And that is so damaging not only to your faith walk, but it's so damaging to your mental health, most of mental health. You go to CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, if you go there for any length of time, you're going to find out very quickly that most of it is about helping you to tell yourself what you need so that you can change your behaviors, okay? But as Christians, okay, we have the Holy Spirit within us.
Now, I'm not a theologian, but I'd venture to say that telling yourself stuff like you're just wrong or you're broken or you're, you know, you're dirty and all these things that you tell yourself every time you screw something up and you further push yourself away from surrendering these problems, these struggles to God, I'd say it's borderline blasphemy.
[11:30] Because Paul talks about how sexual immorality is such a terrible sin because it is, it is a sin against your own body.
Okay. Now I'm not saying that, you know, sexual immorality is like the top sin.
Okay. From what I have always understood, all sin is the sin.
It's all against God.
It's all worthy of his wrath. But the thing is, is that we have the Holy Spirit within us.
So when you struggle with anything and everything, your temper, your mood, your timeliness, your lack of sensitivity, or your seeming lack of caring for others, apathy, if after you're done you're wallowing in your shame and you're just telling yourself that you're just dumb or you'll never get it together, what are you saying to the Holy Spirit within you?
You're saying, I suck, but I still won't turn to you.
You're saying, I can't get this right. And even with you within me, you won't be able to strengthen me, empower me, or change me.
So why bother? Why bother?
As he took the cross.
[12:32] So, we are guilty. Our lives as Christians are made of us standing in a courtroom, guilty as charged against every accusation God has for us.
We are sinful and guilty of rebelling against Him. That guilt should drive us to beg for mercy, to beg God for help, to cry out to Him in our weakness.
Grace, in response, says, yes, you are guilty, but Jesus will bear your sentence and did that at the cross.
So instead of wallowing in our shame of all the things we do wrong every day, we need, to surrender these things over to God. We need to give him our guilt because he's standing and ready to take it.
Surrendering Shame to God
[13:13] And guess what? He can bear it. We cannot. We cannot bear that shame. It's too heavy.
But with his help, we can keep going. We can keep moving forward.
Having ADHD, any mental illness, is going to feel like a battle every day.
Do you want to enter that battle with only your own flesh and blood?
Or would you prefer the king of kings to instead step in front of you?
Come on. Come on.
You know the answer. Shame is always going to be there. It will always be there every time you mess up.
It will be there to kick you and tell you just give up. There's no use.
You'll never be perfect. Cut the Christian crap.
[13:47] But shame is not the end of the story. It's a lie and it can't stand against truth.
Now this doesn't mean we shut off our feelings of shame or guilt.
In doing so, we can easily end up in a trap of just taking advantage of grace.
And that's really not what grace was. It is a free gift, but where I spoke in another episode and I talked about the fruits of the Spirit, okay, our faith walk, our love for Christ is supposed to bear fruit that that fruit is the proof of our surrender to a God bigger than us.
[14:24] So we don't, we don't get to take a shortcut. We don't get to not feel the shame and guilt.
That's not how it works.
What instead we have to do is we have to take that shame and we have to change it into guilt and we have to surrender it to God and we have to bring it under his domain because, ultimately we can't do anything with it.
Let me ask you this. If you've been shaming yourself for the last however many years, okay, oh, kicking yourself for this or kicking yourself for that.
What has it done for you?
Has it made you change? Has it caused you to change behaviors?
I'm willing to bet that it hasn't. It has not done that for you.
No matter how many times you tell yourself you're dumb, no matter how many times you, tell yourself that everybody's staring at you, that everybody sees what you did, that everybody knows what's wrong with you, that everybody wonders what's wrong with you, you, it does not change you.
The only thing that can change you is the God who lives within you.
[15:29] So the next time that you have these feelings and you're tempted to say something like, oh, I'll never get this, I might as well give up.
I want you instead to say something like, God, I know you can use my mistakes.
I have faith that you will.
Please give me strength to persevere through this. Give me joy while I wrestle with my own brain.
When you're tempted to throw in the towel in a new habit and you just want to tell yourself something like, I'll never lose the weight and I'll never feel beautiful or nobody will ever want to marry me or nobody will ever want to be with me, I might as well just give up already.
I want you instead to say, God, help me see me the way you see me.
Help me see others the way you see them. I surrender this to you because I cannot do it alone.
I want you to keep in mind all of the verses that I referenced in the first episode, but I'm going to read a few of them to you.
So 2 Peter 1 3 says, As his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him, called us by glory and virtue.
[16:33] Romans 15, 13 says, Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel. This is Romans 1, 16.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek or the Gentile.
Peter 1.5, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.
Ephesians 3.16, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man.
I'm sorry, but none of those tell me that we're supposed to beat ourselves up about it with terrible self-talk and then just continue on wallowing and telling God that we don't Instead, what those tell me is that continual surrender to God for the rest of our lives over our perceptions of what is best versus what God's will actually is, is the recipe for peace you crave and the joy you are missing.
So you have to stop stealing that from the Father who wants nothing more than to show you how much he loves you.
Shame is a Lie, Embrace the Truth
[17:48] Now I'm sure that you may need to go back and re-listen to this episode because I think I just kind of word vomited all over everything.
But the point I'm trying to make is that shame is a lie and the only thing that can stand up against a lie is truth.
[18:05] So are we supposed to not feel shame? No. Are we supposed to not feel guilt?
No. That's not what I'm saying. I'm not saying you decide to continue your life and just pretend like, you know, even Even though you're a sinner, that you can just do whatever you want because, hey, you have grace.
Instead, you're a sinner. You're a sinner.
What I am telling you is that feel all those feelings, feel the shame, feel the guilt.
Recognize that yes, we are in a broken state and even beyond that, yes, you have an ADHD brain that makes your behaviors look erratic and careless and silly and lazy, but you really are none of those things.
And the God who dwells within you is capable of filling the gap for you between the person you are and the person you want to be, but he's going to mold that for you.
Having Faith in God's Plan
[19:03] You don't know what that looks like.
You don't have an idea of who he's going to shape you to be.
You don't know how he's going to use your mistakes or how he's going to use your life or anything along those lines.
You have no idea. And I'm going to be honest with you, you might never find out, but you can have faith that he will do all those things instead of trying to have faith in just yourself.
[19:27] So that's gotten us nowhere, okay? It has gotten us nowhere.
I'm going to leave you with just a small perception of how God can use something and the way that we see it and the way that other people see it and the way that God uses it is so different.
So if you've listened to my podcast for a while and you've listened to like my life story of ADHD in your 20s and you've heard all of the crazy things that I went through and all the things I did and impulsive decisions I made and, you know, I, you know that I was a single mom for many, many years and I was a young single mom and, you know, I lived in a lot of shame and guilt surrounding my circumstances.
Shifting Perspective and Finding Contentment
[20:08] I felt like I had displeased God to the point that I could never have a close relationship with him, that he would never want me.
And I also felt like it was pointless because I just kept screwing it up.
So what was the sense in that?
[20:23] And a lot of those years I lived, you know, paycheck to paycheck.
I was always barely making ends meet.
I had an apartment with my children and I managed to actually have that apartment for three years.
And all I ever saw the whole time that I lived in that apartment was the mess it was, that, it was tiny, that it wasn't big enough for all of us, that it didn't have a backyard, that it didn't have a swing set, that my kids couldn't just go out front and run around.
All I saw in it was all that it didn't have, okay?
When I got it in my head that I needed to give my children a bigger place to live, they needed to have a house because if they didn't get a house, what kind of mother was I to just always have them an apartment?
And so we got a house and I was renting it and it was outside my means and I was still struggling monetarily, but hey, at least now I had a house and a backyard and a sidewalk out front for them to play on.
And I'll never forget when my oldest son at the time, he was probably about five or six, and he asked me point blank, he said, mom, when are we going back to our big house?
[21:34] And I said, our big house? We've never had a big house. I don't know what you're talking about.
Our big house? He said, yeah, you know, our big house. The one over by grandma and papa.
And I was like, our old apartment building? Well, to him, that old apartment building was just a big house to him.
And he said, yeah, when are we going back there? I said, well, honey, we moved out of there.
And he said, oh, I miss that place.
[21:59] It was right around that time that I started to realize that all of these things I had in my head of that place being like this mistake, you know, this this thing that's going to make my kids embarrassed or they're going to feel ashamed that I live in an apartment Or that, you know, their mom's house is messy or whatever.
They didn't, they didn't worry about any of that stuff.
And really all my oldest cared about at that time was that it was me, him, and his brother, and it was home and it felt like home to him.
He knew where his bed was. He knew where his stuff was. It smelled like home when we walked in.
We lived there for three years. So I had this idea in my head of how things should have looked.
And God, that whole time was molding me and molding my kids to instead look at the good and not worry about the bad, let Him conquer the bad, let Him deal with the bad.
It was not too far after that that I started to work towards humbling my pride and recognizing that not every thing in my head that I think, every box that I need to check, do I need to have a college degree?
Do I need to do this? Does it need to look this way?
Do I have to do this to have worthiness or to be worth something?
No. No, I don't.
[23:16] God determines my worth. God determines my value. And then He places me wherever He wants me to be.
I can lean into the faith that He will complete the works within me and that even though I'm going to wrestle with sin, I'm going to wrestle with shortcomings, I'm going to stumble in this life that he is a good God and that his plan is way bigger than mine and that I don't need to sit around and waste time wallowing in self-pity and self-doubt and instead just look to him.
[23:52] What I want to encourage you to do, look to Him.
Hey guys, it's Lacy Estelle with An ADD Woman podcast, and I just want to say thank you.
I was nominated for a Spark Media award for a Christian podcast, and I feel extremely grateful and just really can't believe that that's where we are right now.
But I did want to ask you to do just one small thing. If you could also go to Spark Media, the Ignite 2023 Awards, and vote for me as favorite female podcast host, I would really, really appreciate it.
The link is in the show notes.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate you listening and reading and reaching out to me this whole last year and the growth that the podcast has seen has truly been humbling.
So regardless of whether or not I win or lose, I just can't tell you how much I appreciate you. So thank you so much. If you feel led to do that, the link is in the show notes.
I'll be talking to you soon.