As I was looking through my sisters wedding pictures, I came across a photograph of a makeup artist hiding my flaws. In this picture, I am covering up any imperfections displayed on my face. I am putting on makeup, or a mask, before entering a ceremony. The people in the wedding did not know that I had paid $75 for a makeup artist to doll me up or that it had taken me 1.5 hours (at a minimum) to get ready for this special day. Everyone in attendance at this wedding only saw the end result. They only viewed my outward appearance, which to them may have seemed easy and effortless. That’s when I began to realize that most people only know of the success I have had regarding personal and financial circumstances; they do not know my struggles, my pain, or my hardships. God has been challenging me to live a life of transparency and to see the beauty behind vulnerability.
There are a few particular stories in my life that stick out to me. A few years ago, my cousin got conned into purchasing lotion for $200.00 at a local mall. Every time he shares this story, my family laughs because of the sarcastic tones that he displays. He knew he made a financial mistake, and he isn’t afraid to share it with people. Obviously, he was not proud of it, but he’s learned from it.
My cousin is not the only one who has made a financial mistake. Last summer, I paid a small fee for shipping to receive “free” make-up. Long story short, the “free” products were simply a 14-day trial which ended up charging me $195.00 (I recommend reading the fine print before making any electronic transactions). Needless to say, I displayed financial ignorance.
While I am willing to share this story now, I am not so sure that would have been the case if my cousin hadn’t shared his mistake with me. Rather than educating others to thoroughly check the products and the companies before purchasing items, I probably would have hidden my financial mistake from people. But through my cousins’ example of vulnerability, I was able to see how to properly respond to an unfavorable situation.
As great as it seems to uphold a flawless life, it may actually serve more harm than good. For example, would you feel better about your hardship if you knew someone else had experienced something similar? If we hide our pain, we enable Satan to deceive others by telling them they are alone in their circumstances. However, the truth is, someone else has been there before you, and they understand the pain you are experiencing.
In Ephesians 5:12-21 it states, “For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil… Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
The above passage illustrated that we need not to be afraid of judgment amongst others, rather we need to share with them how God has redeemed and restored our lives.
For instance, have you ever thought that your past financial trials could benefit someone who’s experiencing a similar trial? Have you ever thought that your mistakes with money could serve as a precaution to someone else? Don’t you see, our hardships or “weaknesses” may actually be used as someone else’s strength? That’s why I believe sharing our testimonies, including financial testimonies, are so valuable.
“It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me”. –Daniel 4:2
If you choose not to share your testimony, how are you able to show God’s individual wonders?
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”. -1 Peter 3:15
If you choose not to share your testimony, how are you able to give a reason for the hope that Christ has given to you?
“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples”. -1 Chronicles 16:8
If you choose not to share your testimony, how are you able to proclaim the deeds that God has done in your life?
Vocalizing mistakes to people is never easy. Fear and pride are two obstacles that hinder individuals from sharing vulnerable mistakes. However, it is crucial that we, as people, own up to our financial mistakes and share the lessons we learned from those circumstances. Our negative experiences may be used as an opportunity for God to display his magnificent grace, love, and power.