Like many teenagers, I truly thought that my parents had never done anything wrong in their lives. I felt that they couldn’t possibly know about the tough moral choices I was facing or the peer pressure that I was under. My parents were perfect, smart and saved. Plus, they had been married all of their lives, so they definitely could not have dealt with relationship issues. It wasn’t until very recently that I found out that I was very wrong. Sometimes, in an effort to protect those we love, we feel that we should not expose them to any darkness in our past. However, by hiding our true selves, we are not protecting them. In fact, we make them uncomfortable and unwilling to communicate when they have a similar problem. If we cannot use our past experiences to try to help those we love, then our missteps are in vain. I heard someone say that if you learn from a mistake, it becomes experience, but if you don’t learn from a mistake, it becomes a failure. I have found that using the lessons I have learned about love and life to help others is essential to healing. It helps me forgive myself and others, and keep moving forward.
Some people are afraid that they will share vulnerable information only to have their valuable advice rejected. Don’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t listen to your advice; we plant the seed and God does the watering. But, no one can ever learn from you if you hide behind an image of yourself that you want people to know. Peeling back your layers is not only a blessing to the person you are potentially helping, but it also serves as praise for the God who has carried you thus far. I know that there are certain mistakes that some people have to make for themselves before they learn to live differently; still, how would it feel to find out that you could have prevented a catastrophe in someone’s life by simply sharing your story? The only perfect human being was Christ, so we should stop pretending to be infallible and start using our victories to be instructional. Ms. EV