Happy Thursday! Do you know what I like about a brand new day? I have another chance to grow, learn, and move forward in my life. On this morning, I was praying about resentment I was carrying from past situations I experienced and asking God for healing. That same prayer also revealed something else to me. I was living a life where I was trying to prove my worthiness. I was trying to prove that I was not my sins. I was working to gain approval from certain people when God already approved me. Shame can keep you quiet and have you hiding behind “good deeds” instead of accepting forgiveness fully. When you get into the habit of “doing”, then you can not focus on “being”. I cannot work for forgiveness but I have to walk in it. Today, I want to leave you with some words of encouragement so you can make peace with your past and let go of the shame. This has been my struggle for years because I felt like I had to prove who I was but the truth is that I cannot go back in the past……..but I CAN MOVE FORWARD.
“I am my shame.” If you have been following this blog for a while, you have know pieces of my story. There are things that have taken place in my life that brought shame and condemnation. One of those events was when I became pregnant with my son. I was not married and at the same time active at my local church. I could not face the people at church or myself. I felt like an outcast even more during this time and held on to the resentment toward people that did not give me the full support that I was looking for. I was not looking for support for the “sin” but for my “new journey of motherhood”. I beat myself over that act and even shown that anger and frustration to my son at times. I understand the judgment, the misunderstanding, and those shameful moments of walking into church knowing that not everyone thought the best of me. The problem I was experiencing the last few years was that I was identifying myself by my shame. I was trying to “people-please” my way through life so no one can judge me based off of my mistakes. But what did that bring me? More headaches and tears. God forgives….I have to believe that. My son is not “my shame” but he has been more of a blessing in my life. Do not define who you are by what you did. You cannot go back and change the past but you can move forward. This is not the only, (or last), wrong thing that I have done but repentance allows me to start over.
“I AM YOUR PROTECTOR AND REDEEMER.” This was the statement that I heard from God a few years back. It took today for me to allow that statement to resonate a little deeply within me. I cannot change what have happened to me but I can allow God to change me. I can change how I respond to circumstances and change how I see myself apart from what I do. I thought I had to fight for what was freely given to me by God. I was fighting to be accepted, cared for, loved, and even fighting to prove to myself and God that I changed. All of that resulted in….waste of time. Pain is real. Hurt will cut you. I thought diminishing how I truly felt was going to wipe away what have happened but all I was doing was storing all of that hurt deep within my heart. I am learning this one thing: I do not have to be fake with God. I can confess how I feel to Him because He already knows our deepest truths. Holding on to anger, shame, guilt, and even blame is not going to heal the pain but we have to surrender that to God.
“I don’t need to prove myself.” What do I have to prove? What do you have to prove? I can waste time working hard day and night to change someone else’s mind about who I am or I can accept who I am without their approval. God approved Me. God approved You. There is nothing to add to that. I tried protecting myself from the opinions of others by closing myself off from people. That only resulted in more loneliness and resentment with the potential of running off the people that needed to be in my life. I tried fighting to redeem who I was by playing the role of a “good Christian” instead of just living the life. My life speaks of what God has done and can do. I do not have to prove nothing to no one. If I have repented of my sins, (meaning to turn away from it), I am in right standing with God. I do not care what you have done in your life but do not waste another minute or day proving to people to see you the right way. Yes, you may lose some respect and even trust from people as the result of wrong things you have done but that does not give you the right to hold your head down in shame when God forgave you. God already knows who you are before you did anything wrong so ACCEPT IT. BECOME THE PERSON HE SEES.
I hope I said something to lift your spirit on today and encourage your heart. I am responsible for me and not for the opinions of others. I am not my past but who God says I am….He says I AM FREE.
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