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

Get back on the horse!

 

I’ve been watching a few reality shows lately, most of which feature a handful of contestants who have overcome great odds to audition or compete on their show of choice.  One contestant overcame homelessness to become a youth pastor and inspire others. Another overcame the death of a parent and was competing on the show with hopes to win and make life better for the siblings he now cares for. And another person overcame a life of gangs and drugs to adopt a life of physical fitness and trains others in his particular area of expertise. This made me think of life and how sometimes in life we’re knocked off of our horse, so to speak, either through difficult external situations that are thrust upon us or, because of difficult circumstances that we have brought upon ourselves through bad decisions. BUT, the overwhelming message from these people’s lives is this – when you get knocked off of your horse, GET BACK UP and keep riding!  They didn’t stay in their negative situations. They made the decision to stand up, dust themselves off and try again – whether that involved taking steps to come out of homelessness; or taking their talents and using them to make life better for their family; or making a conscious decision to come out of a destructive lifestyle, get the proper help and choose something that would improve their quality of life and benefit others.

Maybe you’ve made some mistakes or some bad decisions lately. Or maybe, through no fault of your own, you’re just going through a tough season of life right now. You are not alone. And whatever predicament you may find yourself in, this predicament does not have the last say. You do. Just like the people I mentioned above, you can get up, dust yourself off, hop back on your horse and keep on riding!  God gives us the strength, the inner fortitude to rise above even the most trying of circumstances.  And even if you are where you are because of the decisions you have made… if you’re still on this earth (alive and kickin’), you still have the chance to change things for the better.  I just read a quote online that said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Winston Churchill.  How many times have I been guilty of seeing only problems instead of possibilities?  One thing I love about God is that He’s a loving God that helps us and gives us the wisdom and resources to change our lives and to continue to move forward. And if we mess up, He truly forgives us for all of our mistakes and helps us to heal and grow, if we let him. So, I encourage you today… Get back your horse! Keep on riding! Better days are yet to come!