Today, as I sat in church listening to the message many thoughts ran through my mind. It wasn’t your typical sermon for Mother’s Day (which was kind of a relief in some ways). It touched on how God allows both joys and sorrows in our lives. And in particular, how it seems we learn the most from sorrows (or difficult situations). It’s true. Whenever we go through joyous events, we’re not really thinking, “what am I learning from this?” We are just reveling in whatever amazing thing is happening. But, when we experience the tough stuff, we go through the full gamut of emotions and thoughts. We ask “Why?” And it also causes us to be more reflective.
In reflecting on these things, my thoughts turned to some tough situations I have gotten myself into over the years. As much as we all want to believe we pretty much have life “together”, there are times when we lack judgment or experience or good sense. There are times when we’ve thrown caution to the wind and acted on a whim and it’s come back to bite us in the rear end.
As someone with perfectionistic tendencies, I’ve often beat myself up over these kinds of mistakes. Also, I’d falsely think, “There’s no way God is happy with me. No way he really loves me after this (whatever the mistake was).” It took a long time for me to realize that God loves me regardless. He may not be happy with all of my choices, but, his love never ends. His grace never ends. And he forgives when I ask sincerely. I’m sooo thankful for that!
Then there’s the topic of forgiving other people. That’s reeeeally rough to do sometimes. Especially when you know they don’t deserve it. But, I’ve learned that forgiveness is more for MY heart, than for their benefit. I forgive so that I can live free from bitterness and anger.
The last thing, yet possibly one of the biggest hindrances to our overall well being is self-forgiveness or lack thereof. ‘Can I or will I forgive myself?’ Can I forgive myself for messing up? Being human and flawed? Lacking judgment in that instance? For saying that thing? Or doing that thing? I think forgiving ourselves can be one of the most challenging things to do, especially if we hold ourselves to a high standard, and if other key people in our lives do, too.
But, forgiving yourself is part of loving yourself. It’s part of healing. [This is not the same as excusing repeat bad behavior. If you know you have a pattern of doing something wrong or harmful to yourself or others, then you should seek out professional help.] But, if in the normal course of life, you make mistakes here and there, or you really mess from time to time, then it’s imperative that you forgive yourself. Love yourself enough to do yourself that favor. On this journey of life, we’re all learning and growing and hopefully trying to be better people all the time. We do have to remember that we are flawed but as long as were trying to learn and grow and be the best we can be, then we’re on the right track.
©Kay Dee Speaks “Forgiving Yourself.”
photo credit: google pics and here