Can I Shake the Shame That’s Constantly Piled On? With Jasmine Holmes [Episode 266]

Shake Shame Jasmine Holmes

According to the Scientific American, women are twice as likely as men to experience shame and are more affected by its toxic impact. Just as Adam and Eve hid in the garden and covered themselves with fig leaves, we too are inclined to hide under the cloak of shame.

But unlike Adam and Eve, our feelings of shame don’t necessarily mean we’ve done something wrong. Often it means we’ve begun to believe lies about our identity.

So today’s guest, author and podcaster Jasmine Holmes, will expose shame’s slimy roots and help you understand the difference between shame, guilt, and conviction. She’ll also explain why the typical methods of throwing off shame don’t actually work but keep us locked up in a negative cycle.

As we talk about Jasmine’s book, Never Cast Out: How the Gospel Puts an End to the Story of Shame, Jasmine shares how she watched God break the power of shame in her life through the power of the gospel. And my friend, He can do the same thing for you too!

Because although the grip of shame can be strong, the One who carried your shame is much stronger. He covers you with His grace and clothes you in His image, so that means … shame off you!

Meet Jasmine

Jasmine Holmes is the author of Carved in Ebony and Mother to Son. She is also a contributing author for World on Fire, Identity Theft, and His Testimonies, My Heritage. Jasmine and her husband Phillip are parenting their children in Jackson, Mississippi.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Shake the Shame That’s Constantly Piled On? With Jasmine Holmes [Episode 266]

Jasmine Holmes: I think that women experience shame and kind of recognize it more easily. But also just, like, womanhood in general, right? So am I far enough in my career? Am I married? Am I supposed to be married? Did I get married too early? What is my husband doing around the house? What am I doing around the house? What does our relationship look like? How does other people's relationship look in comparison to our relationship? There's so many entry points for shame to come into womanhood and female identity.

Jennifer Rothschild: According to the Scientific American, women are twice as likely as men to experience shame, and they are more affected by its toxic impact. Well, today's guest, author and podcaster Jasmine Holmes, knows this shame struggle way too well. Just as Adam and Eve hid in the Garden and they covered themselves with fig leaves, Jasmine hid also. She hid under the cloak of shame. But God has broken the power of shame in her life through the power of the Gospel, and he can do the same thing for you too, my friend.

So today Jasmine will expose shame's slimy roots and she'll help you know the difference between shame, guilt, and conviction, and you are going to learn how Jesus puts an end to shame once and for all. This is some really practical and powerful stuff today, so here we go.

K.C. Wright: Welcome, welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, hello, our friends. That was K.C. Wright, my Seeing Eye Guy. It's two friends and one topic and zero stress here in the podcast closet.

K.C. Wright: Woo-hoo!

Jennifer Rothschild: Which smells like some really fine coffee today, doesn't it?

K.C. Wright: Oh, man, yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know. That's my favorite part, is -- besides you showing up, is the coffee showing up.

K.C. Wright: Aw.

Jennifer Rothschild: So anyway, it's going to be a good day today. And we are talking about shame, not something a lot of us really want to acknowledge. Here's the thing, though, K.C. Lots of us don't even really know we have it.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: And that's one of the things I'm loving about this opportunity for us to hear from Jasmine today. She really exposes what it is, where it comes from, and then, of course, the best news is that Jesus breaks the power of shame.

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: So it's going to be a shame-off-you kind of day.

But you know what? When I was thinking about Jasmine in this conversation, K.C., I remembered -- and I've probably told this story on the podcast, because it's one of my favorite stories. I remembered our childhood dog. Okay? I was a little girl, I don't know, maybe eight years old, and my two little brothers, and my mom and dad decided we could have a dog. But, of course, they got a pre-owned dog, a used dog from the used dog lot. And she came with her name. She was pre-named. We tried so hard to change her name, but she would not respond to anything except her given name, which was Cannoli.

K.C. Wright: Cannoli.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: How adorable.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Because she was this fluffy white poodle who had never been cut. You know how they shave the poodles to look like a poodle, right? No. This one was just covered with just white fluffy hair everywhere. And so evidently she kind of looked like a cannoli. And maybe her pre-owners were Italian. But anyway...

All right, so we get Cannoli. And we loved Cannoli. Well, she had only been with us a couple months and my mother decides that Cannoli should have a proper poodle haircut, you know, with the fluffy behind and the poofy tail and the shaved middle, and she takes Cannoli to the groomers. And Lawson, my brother -- and my baby brother was too little to know. But Lawson, my little brother, and me are just waiting for the dog to come home with Mom. So we hear her getting to the front door, and we run to the front door to see Cannoli. Well, evidently Cannoli did not like her haircut.

K.C. Wright: Oh, no.

Jennifer Rothschild: So my mom opens the door, and that dog, who usually could not get enough affection, ran past us, totally ignored us, ran straight into our living room and tried to hide under the couch. So she's trying to smoosh her oversized body in this, like, four-inch opening under the couch to hide.

K.C. Wright: Oh, no.

Jennifer Rothschild: And we're like, "Cannoli, Cannoli." And she stayed -- she could only get halfway under. But she stayed with her front half stuck under the couch and her bottom half sticking up with her little powder puff tail. She is shivering and she wouldn't come out, and we could not get her to come out. And finally my mom says, "I think she's embarrassed."

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Because she -- maybe she feels naked or -- she's never felt this way before. And so it was her instinct to hide.

K.C. Wright: Oh.

Jennifer Rothschild: Even though she couldn't totally hide --

K.C. Wright: Uh-oh.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- it was her instinct. She felt ashamed, she felt embarrassed. She felt exposed, she felt vulnerable. She felt all those things.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: She hid. She had unconditional love from us, we wanted to hug her and love her, and she hid. I just thought -- I mean, I've remembered that my whole life, but as an adult, I was able to make the application. Wow. Is that not us? Right?

K.C. Wright: That's good. That's good.

Jennifer Rothschild: We feel embarrassed, we feel ashamed. I mean -- you know, shame is just this feeling of guilt for just being who we are. Not anything necessarily we've done, but just being who we are. And we hide. And Jasmine's going to talk about hiding under this cloak of shame. And it's a sorry substitute from being covered by the love of Jesus.

So I can't wait for you to hear this. It's going to be super practical. So you've heard enough now to know you've got time to call your BFF and let her get on the podcast with you so y'all can talk about this when it's over. But, K.C., let's introduce Jasmine and get this going.

K.C. Wright: Jasmine Holmes is the author of "Carved in Ebony" and "Mother to Son." She is also a contributing author for "World on Fire," "Identity Theft," and "His Testimonies, My Heritage." Jasmine and her husband, Phillip, are parenting their children in beautiful Jackson, Mississippi.

Jennifer Rothschild: Jasmine, we're going to talk about your book. And so in your book, you write that shame is often associated with wrongdoing. Okay? But you say, "The older I got, the more I realized that I didn't have to sin to feel shame." So very interesting. So here's the question. Where does shame come from and, like, what makes it different from guilt or conviction? Unpack all that for us.

Jasmine Holmes: Well, I think shame comes from the Garden. It comes from sin entering the world and it comes from Adam and Eve originally feeling separated from God and feeling like he wouldn't forgive them, right? Like they'd only known goodness from his hand, they'd only known kindness from him. But as soon as they sinned, they expected wrath from him, they expected eternal separation from him. And he offered them a way forward, he offered them Christ. But they almost weren't even able to receive that offer because they hid from him. And that's the shame, the thing that caused them to hide away from him.

And so when I think of shame, I think of it as -- it is something that can be associated with guilt, it can be associated with wrongdoing, but it's also associated with that humanness of just feeling like we're not enough. Feeling like we have fallen short of a standard, whether that standard is the Word of God, whether that standard is the Ten Commandments and something that we've actually done wrong, or if that standard is just some social convention that we feel like we have to live up to.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's a good differentiating explanation. But what you also said, that I think is super clear and helpful, is if it makes you want to hide, it's shame. Because conviction -- when we are walking with the Lord, conviction is what draws us to Jesus, not makes us want to hide from him. So, okay, knowing that that's our kind of picture -- and it's a good picture from the Garden, it's a hard picture. Shame makes us want to hide. So that's kind of a negative hard feeling, right? Okay. But so is repentance. So if repentance and shame both feel kind of negative at times -- they're clearly very different things, so explain the difference of those two things.

Jasmine Holmes: Well, I'll explain the similarity first, which is that they both need to lead us to Christ. They both lead us to coming to him for either forgiveness or for clarification or for identity or for solace. And so both of these things really ought to, if we're believers, drive us to God. When we feel shame, we go towards God for the answer for that shame, we go towards God for the answer for that loss of identity. Because that's what shame is, it's this disequilibrium that causes us to feel like we've lost our identity, right? Like we've lost our center, we've lost our sense of purpose and sense of belonging.

Repentance comes from a heart that is centered in its belonging. We repent because we know who we are. We repent because we know who God is. We repent because we know that we are going to receive forgiveness from his hand. Shame kind of robs us of that knowing and kind of has us in a state of like, okay, who are we? Who is God again? It's a state of forgetfulness.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow. Okay, that's powerful and that's good. And I also know it's personal with you. Okay? So let's get personal here for a second. Because you mentioned in your book that for you, messages about what it meant to be a woman of God were laced with shame and should -- okay? -- and it really affected you as you grew into womanhood. So I would love it if you would kind of tell us about that.

Jasmine Holmes: Absolutely. So for me, I grew up in very conservative Christian surroundings. I always joke with people who grew up like me -- and they know exactly what I mean when I say it -- but fundamentalist adjacent. So not quite what you would -- when I was a kid, I grew up in Texas, and so we just saw a lot of, like, FLDS stuff all over the place. So not quite to that level, but next-door neighbors with that. So everybody homeschooled. I went through this phase where I only wore skirts, I didn't wear pants, because I thought that pants were not glorifying to God. Everybody, you know, wants to get married before they turn 21 and everybody wants to have eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve kids, and everybody wants to -- and so there's this mold of womanhood that is very specific and looks very the same across the board.

And I don't think that's just unique to my upbringing, right? Even if people didn't grow up in fundamentalist adjacent surroundings, we have this mold of womanhood that kind of belongs to whatever subculture that we're involved in, and it kind of teaches us what we're supposed to be, what we're supposed to be aspiring to. So for me, my aspirations were very caught up in what I perceived to be Godly womanhood.

Jennifer Rothschild: Your story -- okay, because that does seem, for many of our listeners, kind of extreme. Right?

Jasmine Holmes: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Jennifer Rothschild: But everybody's got their story, as you said, and so we all deal with this sense of shame, should. And so I'm curious, in your experience, now that you're on this side of liberty, which it is -- thank you, Lord -- what do you see as some of the most common ways that women do deal with their shame, and, like, how can we identify that, and then how do we change it?

Jasmine Holmes: Motherhood plunged me into an entirely new world of shame. How we birth; how we feed our children; if we vaccinate them, what vaccines we give them; where they go to school; what they eat. Is it too much chicken nuggets? Is it not enough chicken nuggets? Is it too much mac and cheese? Are they -- does your child walk around with a celery stick or a French fry? Are they clean? Are they dirty? Do you know what I'm saying? Like, it's just --

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, girl, I so know what you're saying, yes. Oh, my gosh, yes.

Jasmine Holmes: So that's like one of the major things that comes to mind, is mom shame. Which across cultures, right? Like, even if you have -- fundamentalist adjacent sounds crazy to you, and going to a church where everybody homeschools sounds crazy to you, maybe the idea that you have to breastfeed your child until they're one, 18 months, two, three, seven years old doesn't sound crazy to you, right? Maybe that's something that you've been exposed to. Or maybe the idea that your kids should be in private school, never public school, maybe that sounds more familiar to you. So motherhood is often this place that I think that women experience shame and kind of recognize it more easily.

But also just, like, womanhood in general, right? So, like, am I far enough in my career? Am I married? Am I supposed to be married? Did I get married too early? What is my husband doing around the house? What am I doing around the house? What does our relationship look like? How does other people's relationship look in comparison to our relationship? There's so many entry points for shame to come into womanhood and female identity.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and you think about it, it did begin -- as you mentioned earlier, it began in the Garden. And it's when we lose our sense of identity and belonging that we do. We just become these big shame inviters into our life. But, Jasmine, I don't think we know we're doing it, because often we're just trying to compensate for something we already have because we haven't totally embraced it. And that's a powerful part of your book.

Well, Jasmine, you do share a story in the book where you were dealing with your own shame. And, you know, women are -- I think the thing about shame is we're like -- we cover it because we're afraid people are going to reject us even more. So can you kind of give us a picture of what that feels like? Like, have you ever been in a situation where you were rejected because of that shame, or were you embraced? Kind of take us there.

Jasmine Holmes: I think that -- something that I talk about over and over again -- and, in fact, to the extent that -- in a talk separate from this book, before I'd even written this book, someone was like, "Is it weird for you that you're supposed to be this, like, you know, independent woman, who doesn't need a man, and is just, like, standing on God's promises by yourself, and every time you talk about your journey to a more, like, gracious idea of womanhood, your husband is, like, so central?" She's like, "Does that ever make you feel like you're not a good feminist or like you're not a" -- I'm like, "I don't know if I'm a good feminist or a bad feminist, but I am so grateful for my husband and the way that he has just really ministered to me when it comes to my own shame."

And it honestly started when we were dating. I wanted to be this ideal for him. I wanted to be this perfect woman who was just like -- I just wanted to be -- I call her in the book the Cool Girl. I just wanted to be the Cool Girl. I just wanted to, like -- I wanted him to feel like he had a prize. Which is funny, because my husband came into the relationship like, "I am marrying you. It's happening." So I don't even know why I was thinking that I had to be impressive, because obviously something that I did had already brought him to that point.

But I remember when we started dating, he reached out to me and he said, you know, "This girl that I was dating before, she's having a really hard time with how quickly I moved into our relationship." Because our relationship was a whirlwind. We started dating in March, got married in October. And so he was like, "She's just feeling kind of strange about how quickly I, like, moved on, and so I'm wondering if I should, like, sit down to coffee with her and have some closure." Immediately the voice in my head was like, "Heck, no." Like, no, I don't want you to go do coffee with this girl.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right.

Jasmine Holmes: But quickly on her heels comes this shameful voice of like, oh, you're one of those girls, that you're -- oh, you're insecure. Oh, you're one of those girls that needs him to, like, only ever talk to you. Oh, you're one of those girls who -- and it's just this voice that keeps you from being true to who God has made you to be, and it's a voice that keeps you from speaking your needs, saying what you need and saying what will be helpful to you and helping the other person know how to love you better. And so I said, "Oh, man, I think that you'll make the right decision, so I'm just going to pray for you." And I prayed for him on the phone and then we got off.

Well, later that night -- because, of course, we're, like, newly dating, so -- and we're long distance, so he calls me, like, three times a day. So later that night he's like, "Hey." I said, "Oh, how'd it go?" Like, "Did you talk to her?" And he goes, "No. Actually, it was a really bad idea. I talked to someone else, a mentor, and he told me that it was a really bad idea." And as soon as he said it, I saw it. And my husband and I had kind of known each other before, and so he goes, "I'm really surprised that you were okay with that." Because, again, before we had started dating, he just knew the regular me -- right? -- the not Cool Girl me, the me who was like, "Heck no, that's" -- like, if he would have come to me for that advice, I would have been like, "That's terrible. Go apologize to your girlfriend." So he goes, "Man, I am really looking forward to learning who you are under this perfect girlfriend act."

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

Jasmine Holmes: And I hated it, and we had a really big fight, and then I was like, "How dare you say that to me." And then after that fight, he was like, "This is the version of you that I really like."

Jennifer Rothschild: Interesting.

Jasmine Holmes: And that's how he's always been, just like -- whenever I am allowing shame to kind of guide my steps, he's like, "Man, I'm really excited to find out who you are behind who you think you're supposed to be."

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that is so powerful. And, you know, Jasmine, I love that that is who God gave you to marry. But, you know, we can be that for each other. Friendships, all our relationships, that's who we should be in Christ. I love that example.

All right, so this is so good. And I think what puts us into this shame place, and us living there, is believing lies. Okay? So I know in your book you talk about three faulty gospels. Okay? So I want you to tell us what those three faulty gospels are and tell me, how do they keep us in these negative cycles rather than giving real freedom from shame?

Jasmine Holmes: This is actually one of my favorite parts of the book. And I can say that boldly, like, as the person who wrote the book because I was talking about all of the false ways that we deal with shame. And my editor, being an amazing editor, was like, "It sounds like they fit into these three categories." And when she said it, I was like, "Oh, my gosh, they do fit into these three categories. You're brilliant."

And so the three different categories, the first one is -- I think what people might be afraid of when they look at the book -- especially more conservative Christians might look at the book and be like, you're getting rid of shame. I don't know about that. If we get rid of shame, then the world will just be completely unchecked. So that's the cast-it-off way, the way that's like, oh, we don't need shame. I'm perfect. I should never feel bad about anything that I do. If you feel bad about anything that you do, just shut that down immediately. Don't feel bad about anything that you are. Even if you hurt people, even if you are doing things that are not kind, even if you're doing things that are against the Word of God, that's okay. Be bold in who you are and be bold in your wrongness.

And I think that that way is kind of how a lot of Christians can falsely categorize the world, right? We're like, oh, the world is so shameless, the world is this, the world is that. But even people who are complete atheists still believe that we owe other people something. We owe them not harming them. We owe them looking out for their good, looking out for the good of the world. And so even common grace tells us that a shameless world is not a safe world for vulnerable people. So cast-it-off doesn't work because it's the purge, and we don't want that.

The second way that we often deal with shame is as a motivator. And so this idea that shame will help us become the people that we want to be, shame will help motivate us into being better people. I read a book last year, and it was a -- it was, like, a self-help book for women, but she kept saying these really derogatory things, like, oh, get up off the couch and stop being fat and go exercise, or, you know, oh, the thing that's keeping you back from living the life you want is just your own lazy self. Like, you know what I'm saying? Just like very shaming language. But for some people, that feels like a really pleasant, like, kick in the pants, like, okay, yeah, I will, I will get up off the couch and I will stop being fat and I will stop being whatever, fill in the blank. And I'm not even going to get into using fat as a derogatory language. But it was just very much that derogatory shameful tone. But some people are motivated by that tone. They think that that tone is the way to get stuff done. People like me are crippled by that tone.

Jennifer Rothschild: Me too. I would be motivated to eat more ice cream and stay on the couch if somebody did that to me.

Jasmine Holmes: Yes, yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, gotcha.

Jasmine Holmes: Right. It's like, okay, you're going to talk to me like that, I'm just going to sit here then. Thanks so much for absolutely nothing.

Jennifer Rothschild: You confirmed I'm a loser. I'm just going to sit here and be a loser.

Jasmine Holmes: Right. Exactly.

And my husband is more of that person who, like, if somebody comes to him and they're like, oh, I bet you can't do that, I bet you need -- he's going to be like, oh, I bet I can, and I will, and I'm going to do it twice as hard as you said I was going to do it and I'm going to -- you know. But that's not me at all. And so that way doesn't work for everybody. And it doesn't make us -- it makes us very -- not compassionate people. It makes us very ugly people. It makes us very judgmental people who are always trying to find the chinks in other people's armor in order to, quote/unquote, motivate them to be better. That's gross.

And so the third way is the way that we call the shake-it-off way -- or the cast it-off-way. And the cast-it-off way is passing it to the next person. And I think that as women -- let me speak for myself. Let me not impugn other women. I'm going to confess for myself. It is very easy to fall into that when we are feeling shame and want to compare ourselves to other people.

So the cast-it-off way looks like this. Well, okay, my house is a mess, but it's not as messy as her house. Or, okay, my house is a mess, but at least I'm not one of those moms who can't spend time with her kids because she's so busy cleaning up. Well, my career is not going as far as I want it to go, but at least I'm not that mom who's just so into her career that her kids are at daycare, like, starting at, like, three months. Or, oh, man, my career is not going as far as it should go, but at least it's going further than her career. So it's just -- it's shame by comparison. It's getting rid of shame by comparison and just kind of casting it on to the next person.

And we really see it in the Garden with Adam and Eve, right? Like, who gave you the fruit? Why did you do this? It's that woman you gave me. It's that serpent that you put in the Garden. Just that getting it off of our shoulders and on to somebody else's.

And so those would be the three false gospels that we use to kind of manage shame.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. And clearly they do not end well. There's only one Gospel that really can help us.

All right. So, Jasmine, that's going to lead us to our last question. Probably the simplest and most complicated of the questions is this. So then how is it that we can deal with the problem of shame once and for all, like, done?

Jasmine Holmes: It's such the Sunday school answer. It's Jesus. He nailed our shame to the Cross. He took our shame to Calvary. That's what the Bible tells us. And that doesn't mean that we never experience shame in this life, just like we experience other hardships in this life. The Bible tells us creation is groaning for Christ's return, that the earth itself is crying out for Christ's return. And that shame that we feel that crops up in our heart is our heart groaning for the return of Christ, groaning for him to make all things new. And so we look forward with hope knowing that we do not have an eternity with shame. Our stay with shame is very short. It's as short as our time on earth. And the fact that walking in the knowledge of what Christ has done can really help to dial shame down in our lives and help us to tell it where to go when it does crop up.

K.C. Wright: I am so beyond thankful that Jesus took our shame. We really are covered by his righteousness, his forgiveness, his love. We are hidden in him, so shame off us.

Jennifer Rothschild: Shame off us. I love it.

And I also like, K.C., how she described that we still can feel shame sometimes. I thought that was a good clarification. So if we do, though, we don't need to feel ashamed for feeling shame. We need to let it serve as a prompt, like a reminder that our heart is longing for our ultimate restoration. Our eternity is not shame, our people. Shame is an earth thing. So when you feel it, look to the Cross. Like K.C. said, shame off you.

K.C. Wright: Yes. Yes, shame off you, off me, off all of us, in the name of Jesus.

Well, fam, I hope this conversation ministered to you, because it really ministered to me personally. And you may need to review what Jasmine said, so hop on over to the Show Notes right now at There you can read a full transcript of this wonderful healing conversation. Plus, we will have a link to all things Jasmine, including her book, on the Show Notes as well. That's

All right, dear ones whom we love, you can shake that shame that feels piled on you because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

K.C. Wright: If any man be in Christ, he's a new creation.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Hallelujah.

K.C. Wright: Amen?

We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. So our position with Christ is not a feeling, it's a position.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's a position.

K.C. Wright: Amen.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's a fact.

K.C. Wright: And let's be honest, we have all had a bad haircut like Cannoli once in our life.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, we are.

K.C. Wright: Been there, done that.


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