I’ve been on a big journey to forgive myself. I’m a person who guilt trips herself by nature. I’m really hard on myself (raise your hand for all my pressure people) and if I don’t follow through then I feel like a failure. One area that I’ve been struggling in lately is obedience. I’ll be honest: when it comes to my relationship with God, I haven’t been the best at obedience. For the past couple of weeks (or months let’s be honest) it’s been a huge battle between my spirit and my flesh. There were times when I felt super connected to God and ready to do what He was asking of me and then other times...not so much. During those times when I didn’t feel like it, I would say things like “Oh I’ll get to it later” or even worse (really embarrassed to admit this but why not) “I don’t have time for that right now.” Like how crazy is that?! Me telling God: I don’t have time for that, therefore I don’t have time for you. I’m telling The One who created time and created me I’ll get to it later. Like wow. I was being really bold. Yet He still loved me (that right there has me ready to run around my neighborhood with no shoes on).
After a while, the enemy was really speaking to me. I would get up each day and try, but the words of the enemy were so much louder! Telling me things like: you’re not good enough. Why try you’ll just end up failing anyway. You’re a failure. So when the enemy started getting louder than God’s voice, I stopped trying. I allowed my self to wallow and live in sin. Sure there might have been small moments when I felt like praying or felt like opening my Bible, but at the same time, I felt like a hypocrite. How could I open my Bible and pray, better yet encourage others on my social media, while still being unable to obey what God was asking of me??
To make matters even worse, I felt like God was tearing himself from me. During those days I cried. Hard. I was constantly asking and pleading with God: I know that I’m a horrible person but please don’t leave me. Please don’t leave. I got no response except the one I had been hearing for a while: forgive yourself. The funny thing about me asking God to leave is that he has stated so many times in the Bible that He will NEVER leave us. Deuteronomy 3:16 tell us: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (NIV). But I had a hard time believing that when I was so set in my own ways and wallowing in self-pity. God had already forgiven me for my mistakes. He already knew I would make the mistakes before I did and still chose to forgive me anyway. God is so loving and so kind and we beat ourselves up by not allowing ourselves to accept forgiveness. Colossians 3:13 doesn't just apply to our relationships with other people, it applies to ourselves too.
Colossians 3:13: bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. (AMP)
Being in a relationship with God is twofold. He’s not the one doing all the work. We have to move also. God has already forgiven us. He even brought his only son down here to pay the price for all of our sins, the ones we know and the ones we don’t know. Because God loves us so much, we are always forgiven. But if I don’t take the steps to forgive myself I will always be stuck. I will never have the faith to move forward which is the direction God wants me to move in. I will never be able to move on from my mistakes because I was unable to get over the very important principle that “I am not perfect.” When writing this, the statement sounds self-righteous. Why should I expect myself to be perfect? Who told me I needed to be? God has never asked me to be anything but myself and to turn my heart towards him. But if I’m so focused on turning my heart towards myself, where does he fit in??
But, during this silent period when I felt like God had taken himself from me, I had to realize that he was giving me time to realize a few things:
One: I have to learn to forgive myself.
This has been such a journey and something that I am still learning. I have to accept that I am going to make mistakes. Yes, the “tries to be perfect” Faith is actually not perfect. I’m not. Taking that pressure off of myself is something I’m still working to do. But I know that eventually when I do it will be so relieving! I’ve been taking baby steps to get there and it’s been awesome! You can still have expectations for yourself without expecting perfection.
Two: Sometimes I have to figure things out for myself.
When God is silent that can be so scary. It’s like you’re sitting out camping or something with no cell service and all you hear is the During these times I’m noticing I need to do two things: go back to what He’s already said and go back to what I know. God can’t give us something new if we can’t understand what he’s saying and doing now. I think in His silence, we can uncover the truth about ourselves and the true nature of His love.
Three: I don’t have to bring a perfect image to a perfect God. He makes me perfect in His image, not my own.
Yes, the “tries to be perfect” I am actually not perfect. I’m not. Taking that pressure off of myself is something I’m still working to do. But I know that eventually when I do it will be so relieving! I’ve been taking baby steps to get there and it’s been awesome! You can still have expectations for yourself without expecting perfection. I don’t know why I still find myself trying to bring this perfect image of myself to God like he doesn’t see me for ALL that I am. It’s funny when I think about it how I try to hide parts of myself like He doesn’t know they exist. He knows and yet he still loves me anyway. He just wants me to get to a place where I can accept all that I am and choose Him first. He wants his sons and daughters (yes, that means you) to come to Him honestly and openly.
My journey to forgive myself is still going. I’m still working and there are times when I’m going to fail (because let’s be honest I am). But I have to allow myself to take in these moments and accept them for what they are. I have to own up to my mistakes, but also give myself grace just as God gives me each and every day. I have to remind myself it’s a daily thing and it’s a choice. The small choices I make to get up and declare His word and to thank Him will slowly build up and continue to change my habits. I think when we learn to give grace to ourselves we can learn to love ourselves in a new and awesome way. In return, we can love others and receive God’s love without hesitation.