I have made many mistakes in my past, most of which I own as things I did myself without provocation and with knowing intent. Owning up to your mistakes is an important part of getting past those mistakes and moving on to being a better person. I still live with loads of guilt for the things I did and the people I hurt, that is just a fact of our life here on Earth. Guilt does not make you better; it tears you down and makes you feel worthless, yet it is a hard feeling to get rid of. Struggling every day to overcome bad choices is one of the most difficult tasks of the human condition, but it is what makes us stronger and better.
As a youth, I tried to blame others for my actions or somehow deflect those actions away from me. I thought I was the victim, always, but no one seemed to ever see it the same way I did. That was a tiring game and one that did not end well. Finally, I realized that I was the one who made the decisions and the one who did the deeds. I needed to accept that and move on. In the down times, I felt worthless and unworthy. In the up times, I felt okay but was always watching for the down times to come back; to hear the small voice in my head replay all the lies I told, relive all the bad choices I made and show me the faces of the people I had hurt.
Prayer, Bible study and talking with other Christians really helped me to understand that the mistakes made in one’s life teach those lessons and make them, hopefully, better and stronger Christians. These experiences can be used to help others who have made the similar mistakes or to help someone who may be on the wrong path. For a little while I felt positive about those mistakes and started to embark on a journey to use them.
During the last few years, I made many bad financial decisions. I allowed my greed and want to get the best of me. I had to have things and lots of them. I used credit to get those things, always with the intention to pay the balances off right away. Then I would see more things I just had to have and my intentions to pay off debt went right out the window. In an attempt to “do the right thing,” I went into debt counseling and started to pay off the debt. The payment was very high and it was hard to make, but I felt it was what I needed to do.
Then I got laid off from my job and my husband was laid off exactly one week later. We had some retirement savings and my severance to get us through. “How bad can it be?” we thought. It was bad, neither of us could find jobs, I eventually found a part time job and hoped we could make it. Unfortunately things did not go so well and we ended up filing bankruptcy. That was something neither of us wanted to do…ever. We could have done it years ago, but chose to try to repay our debts. Sometimes things just do not work out like you hoped.
Fast forward to almost two years later, I left my part-time position to find something full-time and with benefits. Little did I know that things had changed drastically from the time I looked for a new job before to this time. Credit reports and credit scores were now criteria that prospective employers could use to determine whether to hire someone or not. I assumed that worked for positions that required money handling, accounting, and similar positions. Then I found out that any prospective employer could use that to their advantage.
Now a few months later, I am having a hard time even getting an interview. The ones I have had went well, but I do not get called back. I started to think it might be my credit report. So I did a little digging and found article after article that stated up to 43% of all prospective employers look at credit reports. Then I started to feel like I was some kind of criminal. Yes, I made the wrong mistakes and I allowed the wrong things to take priority in my life, but I was not a thief or an embezzler. I was just a jerk who did the wrong thing.
My past refused to let go of me. I started to get depressed and hopeless. What could I do now? No one ever admits to the reasons they choose to use in the hiring process. If it was not my credit report, then it had to be my personality, my looks, the way I dressed or some other thing about me that people did not like. Those feelings just made the depression get worse. I felt so guilty all the time, I lost all joy in my life and I did not know what was going to happen.
Then I realized the most important thing that I had forgotten…God is still in control. He marked out my path long before I was even born. He takes care of all things. I needed to concentrate on getting the things done that I needed to do today and leave tomorrow (and yesterday) to Him. I had totally taken God out of the equation. I let it all fall on my shoulders and my shoulders are no where near as broad as the Father’s. I am still unemployed, but I know He has a plan and I just have to be patient. Some days I do okay at that and other days not so well. But praying and reading my Bible has helped me stay calm and focused. Things may change in a way I did not expect or particularly want, but I am open to His call. I no longer want to bear my burdens all by myself. I just cannot handle doing that and need the Father’s help.
It is funny how we can get so wrapped up in our little scenarios and dramas. It is easy to forget that things work out for the best; just look back on a mistake or two and see how it turned out. I can see many, many times that God’s hand was working in my life, yet I continually forget about it when I am in a present day crisis. Maybe my lesson is to keep looking to God for guidance. Maybe it is patience I need to learn, how to praise in the dark times or compassion for others since I only seem to see my problems.
I think there are a lot of things I have yet to learn. I need to just keep my eyes toward Heaven, keep reading the Word and praying for assistance. I know I will never have all the answers but that does not mean I should quit looking. Situations are going to happen in your life too, instead of getting depressed and hopeless, why not try praying and praising…it just might be what you need. May God’s blessings be with you.