I love this quote. Brené Brown is the master of all things #RadicalResponsibility. It did get me thinking though… (Are you surprised? 🤣)
Owning our full experience and sharing our full story is not merely about our own healing, it is also about helping others walk through their own similar journeys. With the Lord’s help, we can make good use of our struggles. They not only serve to grow us, but also serve to encourage others and/or offer wisdom in similar circumstances.
***I want to clarify that my thoughts that follow here are specifically in the context of sharing your story of overcoming something you are not proud of (as opposed to a struggle that life circumstance found you in). I am asking you to place the context onto the kind of thing you might still not be proud of, but you have moved to a place of healing from and can say you no longer need to be ashamed of. The thing you initially thought you could never share with anyone that you struggled with. The thing that you have now overcome. You have started to recognize that your experience might actually need to be shared. This is something that you know could have been your great downfall if you hadn’t been able to overcome it. The thought that you could help someone else avoid heading down that path (or even to return from it) starts to be more important than how much you fear the judgement of others.***
Do you ever shy away from sharing your full story with others? The truth is that sharing your testimony (as it relates to anything, not just your faith testimony) requires that we are open and honest about *all* aspects of our journey (with the caveat that you share it with those who can be trusted with sensitive details… i.e. do not cast your pearls before swine). Leaving out parts of your story that you feel cast you in a negative light does the other person a disservice if you are truly trying to help them learn and grow. If you do not share the full story, it can be end up misleading them in how to navigate their struggle, and that can actually be worse for them in the long run. It would be like giving someone directions to a location and leaving out one turn that takes them on a connecting street to the next turn. How confusing would that be? It is a similar process in your journey to healing from a sin stronghold, or a difficult work situation, or a relationship struggle, or a crisis of faith, etc. Each of us may have our own unique process, but if we don’t lay things out openly, we cannot expect our advice to be fully digestible and that the other person can implement the lesson.
Now let me be very clear—I will always advocate putting some time, healing space, and clear boundaries between you and your struggles before asking you to share your journey and wisdom with others for several reasons:
First, it gives you the ability to evaluate objectively and glean the value of each part of the process which can then be shared with others.
Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to fully shed every ounce of shame that you may still carry about the dark places you have been. You are not your past. It does not define you. It does, however play a significant role in developing who you are. Romans 8:28 says that the Lord can use all things for our good and for the good of others, and I want you to embrace that truth.
Thirdly, if there is any possibility that Satan still has a foothold in that portion of your life, trust me, he will attack you once you begin to use your past to free others from their chains. You want to make sure that you are fully prepared to handle the battle that will ensue, and that means being secure in your standing with the Lord as an overcomer.
You will know when it is the right time to share it. So, when you reach that point—the point where your story is too much for you to keep safely tucked inside—don’t run from it. Own it. Share it. You are not who you were. The world needs to know it. Give the Lord the glory for your ability to overcome and He will empower you to have an impact on the lives of others.