Forgiving Yourself.

IMG_5092Forgiving Yourself.

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

C’mon Trust Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Monday!

Let’s talk about TRUST today. Ooh, fun subject I know!  Wait, wait please keep reading. I know just the word “trust” strikes a negative chord with many people. Immediately there comes to mind that woman, man, friend, foe, coach, teacher, family member that was supposed to be trustworthy and they betrayed your trust. It brings a bitter taste to your mouth. Believe me, though I may not be able to relate with your specific situation, I do know what it’s like to have trust betrayed. We live in an imperfect world, full of imperfect people. When someone who we deem trustworthy betrays our trust, it’s a BIG deal! Scars are left. Walls go up. Hurt & wounded feelings remain and it can take years to heal, depending on the situation and our willingness to go through the healing process.

Mad at God

Bad experiences may negative impact on belief in or trust in God. Because our world is imperfect, when we experience the death of someone close to us or perhaps a situation we were praying about that did not turn out like we thought it should, we blame God and cannot trust Him. We feel He let us down. I don’t pretend to be a theologian and I most definitely do NOT hold all of the answers. I can only speak from my own experience. A couple of times, even as a Christian, I felt as though God totally failed me. I didn’t understand WHY those things happened and WHY He hadn’t answered my prayers and WHY didn’t He step in and save the day, and WHY bother having faith if bad things were going to happen anyway, etc. I had a lot of anger and a lot of questions. I still don’t know all of the answers, but, here are a few things I have learned and re-learned. (1) However you want to say it, we live in an imperfect/sinful/fallen world. And because people aren’t perfect (and unfortunately some people are twisted or have major issues) they choose to do bad things to other people. (2) I cannot control another person’s choices or behavior. Pray as I might that God would intervene and make that person do what’s right… God gave that person a free will, and they can decide to do the opposite of what is good or right, even if the right choice smacks them in the face time & time again. (3) For those of you who aren’t Christian, this may not hold much water, but, I’ll share it nonetheless: In the Bible, God never promises that we will not go through troubling times. In fact, He tells us the opposite. He promises that we WILL go through hard times, but that He will be there WITH us to help us through the difficult times.

I can attest to one particularly heart wrenching situation. I received some bad news about a medical situation. Right in the midst of receiving the news, the strangest and most powerful calm and peace came over me. When by all accounts I should’ve been freaking out, I was enveloped in peace. I had always read the scripture that the “Peace of God which surpasses our understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” But that was the first time I had truly experienced it. Was that situation automatically fixed? No. In fact, more troubling related incidences occurred afterward. I personally went through a time of anger, frustration, grief and questioning. But, through my lament, I remembered that peace and held on to the promise that one day I would come through this trying time. I did come through it. But it took quite a bit of time. I know that if God had not been there, not to mention supportive friends and family, I would not have come through the situation nearly as well, nor with my faith in tact.

Trusting People Again

Trust is a very difficult thing, especially when it’s been betrayed. And whether your trust issue is with a person or with God (or both), it takes time for trust to be built back up. That person who betrayed your trust will have to work hard to build it back up. They will have to be consistent and patient and understanding. The sad thing is that the person may choose NOT to build that trust again. But, that doesn’t mean that you should allow them to ruin forever your ability to trust anyone. Maybe you’re extremely guarded. Maybe you’re unable to trust right now, and that is okay. It takes time. But, there ARE trustworthy people out there. Just be careful not to equate trustworthiness with perfection…because there are NO perfect people. We all make mistakes. But, there are people, who are indeed good, quality people full of integrity who will exemplify their trustworthiness consistently. The thing that’s hardest to do after betrayal is trust again. Take baby steps. But don’t close yourself off completely from the idea of trusting anyone. You could be missing out on some really great friendships / relationships. If you’ve endured traumatic experiences, it may take a lot of time to heal and even some good quality counseling or support groups to help you work through what you’ve experienced. There is no shame in that. And, if you’ve been hurt by church people let me say that I am so, so sorry! All Christians and churches aren’t bad, I promise. Please remember not to let a few rotten eggs spoil your view of Christianity or church.

Forgiving God?

If you feel as though God has let you down, there’s no easy answer. For ourselves and our inner peace, we may have to go through the process of forgiving God. Yes, I said it.  For all of my Christian friends, yes, God is unfailing and without sin.  But, if we’ve felt let down or betrayed by him, we have to do a work in our own hearts and go through the process to forgive God for wherever we feel He’s let us down.  We have to cleanse our hearts of bitterness.  For everyone,  I’d say to pray sincerely (your prayers matter and God hears them) and read the Bible for yourself. God truly loves you, more than you can imagine. There ARE credible and reliable teachers of the Bible out there. There are radio and TV ministries as well…find the good ones. The more CORRECT teaching you can get about God and the Bible, the better your understanding will be. If you still decide that you hate God and will never trust Him or you just don’t care for Him very much. Okay. But I pray that one day you’ll come to know His immense, intense and unending love for you.

You are loved.
Toodles ♥

Just a few supporting scriptures: John 16:33 and Psalm 34:18 and Philippians 4:7

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net