All the world is waiting for you, 
and the power you possess”
-the Wonder Woman theme song

Check out this video of intro to the first season of wonder woman. I want you to burn that hilariously kitchy image in your heart. Like Diana Prince stripping off those glasses and turning into her fab alter ego, Wonder Woman, it is time for us to shed our shame and embrace the wonder women that we are! It is time to embrace our shamelessness!

Speaking of wonder women, I have some amazing female friends- each fabulous in her own way. Recently my girlfriends (both single and married) and I had an email conversation filled with confessions of our deepest, darkest, most embarrassing fantasies – ranging from silly to poignant. Without further ado (and with their permission) here is our list:

Having Jennifer Aniston’s body; having Jennifer Aniston’s body and flaunting it for revenge in front of old boyfriends; wearing short skirts and dresses with confidence; being Justin Timberlake’s/ Harry Connick Jr’s/ Michael Buble’s muse; being cast as the funky, yet gorgeous mom on the newest tween-Disney show; Having a gardener, personal chef, or professional organizer; becoming a famous gardener, chef, or professional organizer; starring in own HGTV show in order to show off gardening, cooking, and/or professional organizing prowess; being a contestant/winner on any reality show, but especially America’s Next Top Model, Design Star, or Project Runway; winning the HGTV dream house; winning, then subsequently selling the HGTV dream house and using the money to help others, and well, to treat self to some fabulous things; being the lead singer of an all-girl indie rock band and/or lounge singer in a jazz club…Buying a brand new cheerio-free Honda Odyssey; chucking the minivan altogether, and buying a convertible; having more children; having less children; not having to groom/wax unruly body hair (but miraculously being as smooth as a baby’s butt); living in a state of constant vacation; going on vacation alone preferably a spa and/or yoga-type retreat; sleeping in; having a sexy British accent; being wooed by a man with a sexy British accent; possessing a magical ability to consume pumpkin spice lattes daily without gaining weight; getting a tummy-tuck; getting a boob job; having a thick gorgeous mane of hair; having the ability to play the piano effortlessly and brilliantly; having the ability to run and run and run on paths and in mountains over rocks never tiring; that love songs are true and every thing always turns out well…Our memoirs being published/turned into a movie/making me tons of money; being swept away by Robert Redford/ Kevin Costner/David Beckham; being married; being single; moving somewhere warm; running away; 
having a different life.
This conversation made me laugh, but it also revealed some deeper beliefs that many of us share about our sense of womanhood:  I hate my body. I am a bad mother. I am unhappy in my marriage. I am a mistake. I wonder if God really has a plan for my life. I was abused emotionally. My heart was wounded and I may never recover.  I made mistakes sexually and am still carrying them around.  I do not belong. I am alone. I am not enough. 
About a year ago, I was at an “Anti-Superbowl” party with another group of friends. All single adult women (besides me), this gathering is our excuse to be unapologetically girly, watch chick-flicks, eat yummy food, and giggle. In between our viewings of Jane Austen films, however, the conversation took a heartbreaking turn, as we began to discuss dating and singleness. When I asked the women if they felt any shame about being single in their thirties and forties, the wounds were so present – just in my asking, some of the women burst into tears. These are godly, level-headed, beautiful, and successful women, yet they each professed a profound experience of shame in their circumstances. Although knowing deep down that marriage is difficult, and that singleness is a very biblical concept, they still felt a lack of confidence being unmarried. The vulnerability of their questions was gut-wrenching, “Am I unlovable? What do people think of me? Do others assume that I’m gay? That I’m closed off emotionally?” …Deeper still was a sense of having missed the mark: One woman said about her singleness, “Something must be wrong with me… God must not think I am prize worth catching.”
Sadly, this sense of shame in our female identities is not just an American phenomenon. My husband and I spent a year, serving in Zambia, and I had the great privilege of working with impoverished women in Africa – some of whom saved up all of their money NOT to feed or clothe their families, not to take care of sick relatives, but rather, to purchase white-face makeup. These women believed that they were more beautiful, when they were other than how God created them.
Maybe you are carrying around some secret shame, an experience hidden so deep in your subconscious that you’ve never shed light on it. Maybe you are dealing with a situation so difficult you cannot see your hand in front of your eyes, or maybe you are living with a distorted and painful self-image. If that is you, you are not alone, and you have no reason to be ashamed. It is time for you to shed the skin of shame and embrace your  shamelessness! 

 Shameless Women 

I know that the word “shameless” has some negative connotations, but I want you to embrace the following definition of the Shameless Woman: A Woman Who Lacks Any Sense of Shame- An Audacious and Radiant Woman! You are not shameless in the sense that you have no conscience or morals; you are shameless in that your shame is gone. You are an audacious, powerful, and radiant women in Christ- or rather, Christ is shamelessly audacious, powerful, and radiant in you!

“Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame!”
– Psalm 34:5
We will look closer at Psalm 34 in the weeks to come, but for now I want you to know this: the word for radiant in the above verse (nāhar) in Hebrew is similar to the words “rejoice” and “blessed”. The woman who looks to God is a woman whose heart is overflowing and throbbing with joy. Those who look to the Lord are radiant- literally those who look to Him have a face that beams with joy. This is what I want you to know from the top of your head to those manicured toenails, that God wants to tenderly, lovingly, and permanently replace your shame with glowing and radiant joy. He wants you to dazzle, wonder woman!
Shameless Women Question for the week:
Was there a time when you specifically felt ashamed or rejected by a group, or person, or yourself? Can you talk about that time with any of your friends this week? How did it make you feel?
Shameless Moment #1: Stone-Removal
Read Psalm 34 in its entirety. We will be studying that Psalm later in this blog, but for now, I want it fresh in your heart. Next, ask Jesus to be with you, protect you, and help you to face your shame as you practice this exercise: Spend some time in a quiet place, with your eyes closed if that helps, imagining your areas of shame as heavy boulders resting on places all over your body. Try to feel the weight of the shame-boulders, their heaviness, and burden. Name each of the boulders of shame. You might name one “body image,” another “sexual mistakes from my past,” another “discontentment.” Whatever the shame is you have carried, name it and imagine it as a burdensome boulder on your back, shoulder’s, belly, etc…
As silly as it sounds, I want you to physically remove the shame-stones- yes, actually do the hand-motions of lifting the stones of shame off your body. Each time you remove a stone, I want you to imagine (and physically go through the motions) of handing them to Jesus. You may feel safest placing the stones in His hands, or at the foot of the cross. But, each time you hand a stone to Jesus, recite Psalm 34:5 aloud, “Those who look to the Lord are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Try to imagine the great lightness and freedom from not carrying to many shame-boulders around with you as you go about your day. When you are tempted to dwell on your shame, remember that Jesus has it, and will take care of it for you. Then spend some time in prayer:    
Prayer for the Week
“God, I have carried around shame too long, and it has warped my womanhood. So much of the time, I exist out of feeling like I am a mistake, or feeling like I don’t belong, or feeling like I could never overcome some things in my past. I know that I can’t overcome shame without your help. Jesus, thank you that you died on the cross and rose again for my shame. Your word says that I can cast all of my burdens on your because you care for me. So, now I place my shame-burdens on you, and ask that you would help me to begin to understand what it means to live as an audacious, radiant, and shameless woman. Amen.”

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