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  • Writer's pictureKristy Barkley

Brave vs. Unashamed

Updated: Jun 18, 2022

When I was young, I kept a lot of things hidden about my life. I did my best in school to present the happiest version of myself and I hid a lot of pain, fear, and turmoil. It was a survival tactic and a way to fit in. Very few people knew the whole Kristy. Now I look at those times and I am so very grateful for them because they made me who I am, and I am proud of who I am and the strength I have to tackle hard things, straight on.

As I have gotten older, I have often been told that I was an “over sharer”. I’ve been asked if I really needed to tell the whole world (insert whatever I was going through). I’ve been accused of embarrassing other people, while telling my truth. And I have been asked why I can’t just keep things private.

I’ve always answered in the same way…I believe God allowed me to walk this path and climb this mountain so that I could help someone else up their mountain. I don’t believe that God can use my trials for good if I keep them a secret and act as if I don’t have trials. God doesn’t not put mountains in front of me as a punishment, he places them there so that I grow, overcome, get stronger and then lend a hand to help others over the mountain.

If I don’t share my journey up and over the mountain, others will never know that I can help them. They don’t know to reach out to me about being an unwed mother, if they don’t know that I was one. They aren’t sure who to talk to about suicidal tendencies, until they learn that I had them and overcame them. They lose hope when their loved ones have a horrible brain injury, until they hear my story. I could go on and on and on.

Here is what occurred to me last night though, after someone reached out to me about their son who had a Sensory Processing Disorder.

I am not Brave for continuing to share my journey.

I am simply not ashamed of my journey.

And I think there is a huge difference in the two thoughts. People that aren’t embarrassed of my oversharing often call me brave for being willing to share in hopes of helping someone else. I have always accepted that label. Yet I now realize that I am not actually brave, I am truly unashamed.

I am not ashamed that I was an unwed mother, I am not ashamed that I was a single mom, I am not ashamed that I met my soul mate and stuck with him when everyone else called us every name in the book and many abandoned us, I am not ashamed that in the worst depths of my TBI suffering I attempted suicide, I am not ashamed that I am an education “snob”, I am simply not ashamed of who I am and all that has happened on my journey to today.

So, I challenge you to take pride in your journey. Share it with others, you have no idea who God will put in your path, and they may find hope in your story.

God hasn’t put you on this journey to burden you, indeed, he has put you on this path so you can help others a long the way. He has surrounded you with angels on this earth, so it goes without saying that you are likely an angel for someone else on this earth, even if just for a brief moment.

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