Many of us go through life wanting to be a pillar of strength for all of those around us. Often, to do this, we concentrate only on the positive aspects of our life and present only the best version of ourselves. While constant positivity and perfection can seem like a great idea, it often limits your true reach when striving to help others.
There are people around us that are fighting constant battles we know little or nothing about. They’re crying out for God’s guidance and looking to others to see which way to go. If they look to you what will they see? Perfection? A life that seems perfectly unaffected by the trials and tribulations they are struggling with? While you don’t have to go through the same things to help someone with a situation, you do need to allow yourself to be humble and authentic.
This is a lesson that has taken my entire adult life to understand. As someone who has experienced extreme trauma in life, I understand the motivation to hide those experiences from the world. I’ve been abused, homeless, and I’ve been hopeless. For many years I allowed the shame of my past to control what I allowed the world to see in me. I planted a smile on my face and remained positive in all things, never mentioning anything that wouldn’t bring happiness to others. Unknowingly, by minimizing my own experiences, I harmed myself and missed the opportunity to meet people in their darkest hours and help to lift them up.
One of the most basic human needs is interaction with others. It is one of the reasons God made Adam and Eve partners in life. We look to others for comfort, love, and fellowship. No one wants to feel alone. So how devastating to know there could be many people in your own life that have found themselves lost within their personal struggles and left feeling completely and utterly alone? I felt this way for years, and never spoke a word to anyone, not even in conversation to God.
It wasn’t until I finally faced my shame, and cried out to the Lord for healing, that I was able to speak the truth out loud. The truth about things that had only been hidden in darkness and protected for fear of allowing the hurt to spread. And when I allowed God to remove that shame, something amazing began to happen. I began to liberate myself from the chains that had held me. I allowed my flaws and my traumas to become visible to those around me. I was no longer a perfect pillar of strength. I had become a survivor and a testament to the LORD’s strength in healing and purpose. By sharing my past, my process of healing, and my truth - I opened the door to allow others close to me to share their truth as well.
Sometimes we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel until someone uncovers our eyes. Allowing God to use my journey to help others is my honor. And should be your honor as well. God is not the cause of the bad things that happen to us. However, He is the means to heal, to become better than we were, to forgive ourselves and others, and to share our journey to help our brothers and sisters who may be facing those same challenges.
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. To do this we must love ourselves enough to forgive and move forward in life and love others enough to share our experiences if they may help them to heal and grow. So instead of allowing shame to keep you isolated from those around you, allow God to help you and others by revealing the true strength that comes when we let Him replace that shame with His love, mercy, and grace.
Cheerfully in Christ,