From the look of it, Christine Caine has everything. She’s an internationally sought-after preacher, the cofounder of two influential organizations (A21 and Propel)—and now she’s a best-selling author. But her journey was anything but smooth. In her new book, Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny, she shares her story of being adopted as a nameless child only to be abandoned and abused throughout her childhood. She recently sat down with RELEVANT to discuss how she learned the importance of true, vulnerable community that ultimately helped her heal those wounds.
RELEVANT: After such a painful upbringing, was there a point in your life where you decided you’re going to finally let people in?
Christine Caine: My husband Nick was the start, in terms of our marriage relationship. It was maybe two years later that a girl from church really went out of her way to go beyond a surface-level friendship, and that was so scary for me. But thank God, she persevered. I mean, how she still likes me only the Lord knows, because I was so dysfunctionally crazy.
I think Christians ought to be the most relationally functional people on the earth, because by this we’ll only know that we are His disciples—by the love that we have for one another, not by all the things that we do for God.
But I think in many cases we’re relationally dysfunctional, and we don’t have authentic love for one another because we are not willing to put our hearts out there and be ready to be stepped on, misunderstood, misinterpreted. It’s just safer—especially here in America where Christianity is a lot more individualized. You can basically have your whole Christian life online, and not have to do the hard work of being vulnerable and transparent and authentic in real relationships. And I think that’s a real danger for this generation.
RELEVANT: It seems sometimes that it’s easier to show love toward non-Christians than Christians.
Absolutely. The Bible says be careful to do good to all, especially those of the household of faith.
It’s a lot easier to stand up for justice and go, “Let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya and be unified”—as long as I don’t really have to do daily life with you.
I’m hoping that the book helps move the needle a little bit on all of that, because otherwise we’re just going to waste another generation and Jesus is going to have to wait until another generation arises that will get this. Because there is no dancing around it: At some point we’re going to have to do true community the way the Bible tells us to. And that’s how we’re going to be salt and light in a dark world.
RELEVANT: Your book’s subtitle is, “Pick up your freedom and fulfill your destiny.” What does that look like for you?
It’s getting up every day knowing that Christ in me is the hope of glory, and that I can do what God has called me to do for that day.
I think I was so riddled by shame for so much of my life that I never thought I could do what God called me to do. It means that today I can put one foot in front of the other and hold my head up high and go where I feel the spirit of God is calling me.
I think that is what walking shame-free is. It’s that I’m not going to allow my own limitations or what people have said to me or what people have done to me define where I’m going. In other words, I think most people go into the future but they are just totally stuck in their past. They’ve allowed their history to define their destiny.
Once you decide that you’re going to drop your baggage and deal with your stuff, you can step into your destiny for the first time in your life—and you are just not living an eternal yesterday.