It was just a difficult day. My thoughts had been all over the place and I wanted to do something- anything- to numb the pain. Truth is, if I weren’t in the middle of a Corporate Fast with my church, I would have turned to some sweet treat to drown out the emotions that were overwhelming me.
Yet, the good news is, I was in the middle of a Corporate Fast with my church and the only outlet that I had for my feelings was God Himself.
The Fast had restricted my ability to turn to junk, sweets, and even tea- all of my defense foods- leaving me with only my thoughts and prayers to God. So I did what I often do in restricting situations, I ran for the hills and attempted to elude all levels of responsibility. While this is not an effective method of problem solving or one that I would ever recommend to others, it had served me “well” in the past and I was willing to try again. However, in my search for the perfect avoidance activity, I solicited the opinion of my best friend and, naturally, she told me to worship God. She apologized for not having the true answer that I wanted, but told me that worship is how she allows God to conquer similar moments in her heart.
I knew she was right, I mean, she often is, but worship seemed so hard in the moment. I wasn’t mad at God or anyone else, but I was disappointed in myself for not being perfect. It’s ok to laugh at me; I kinda chuckled a bit as I wrote that myself. It was Monday- Monday during Holy week- and I was set to deliver the first of the Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross at our Good Friday service. Oh Beloved, you know which one that is; it’s the one on Forgiveness… so, naturally, I had been wrestling with Forgiveness for weeks. And last Monday I finally realized that my greatest struggle with Forgiveness was not forgiving others, instead it was about me forgiving M.E.
As I sat in my car at the park, I realized that I have never forgiven myself for the mistakes that I have made in my life and that the weight of unforgiveness was truly running rampant within me.
- I wasn’t mad that my now ex-boyfriend had nude pictures of women in his phone. I was upset that I never addressed it the first time I noticed how important sex was to him.
- I wasn’t upset that my father left me as a child. I was upset that I, in many ways, had become just like him.
- I wasn’t upset that my professors had assigned too much, redundant work. I was upset that I had added too much to my plate and now struggled with balancing it all.
No, my anger or frustrations were not with others for their actions, but instead with M.E. for not addressing issues when they first arose. Basically, I was upset with myself for not surrendering to God before this moment.
I didn’t hate myself, but I was extremely disappointed in myself and the unforgiveness was poisoning everything that I even attempted to accomplish.
- Every new romantic relationship was poisoned by my unforgiveness of my behavior in past relationships.
- Every new job was poisoned by my unforgiveness for work completed in the past.
- Every new, was poisoned by the past and did not stand a chance of survival.
I sat in my car Monday afternoon, watching others play in the springtime weather, as I listened to “The Great Shepherd” by Psalmist Raine. I softly exhaled, releasing tears as I realized that the words I heard were truly the words of a loving God, Who was desperately begging me to release the guilt that I carried over my actions and forgive myself.
I wish I could say that by the end of my worship session, everything had been healed and instantly restored, but the truth is, it wasn’t. Just like forgiving others is a continuous process, forgiving oneself is ongoing and requires just as must grace as forgiving others. And for that grace, I did just as Lysa TerKeurst suggested. I wrote down all of the things that I was mad at myself for and then I prayed over each one, declaring that I forgave myself for each act. And, like Lysa said, whenever I thought that I could not forgive myself, I declared that the blood of Jesus could cover that, too.
I’m tired. I’m super tired and I can’t continue to live like this anymore. I have to release, casting all of my cares upon the Lord, for He is the Great Shepherd and He desires to carry every burden for us… even the burdens that are deeply rooted in unforgiveness. Friend, please pray as I continue to work on Forgiving M.E.