Overcoming shame and self-contempt can prove to be a massively difficult part of the recovery process; sometimes even more so than moving into a spirit of forgiveness for others and the wrongs that have occurred in our past.
For me, this was a hurdle I did not realize I would have to jump more than once. I understand everyone’s path is different, but we are all on this journey together, which is why being vulnerable about the hard stuff is so important.
In walking with others, lately I have found myself reviewing things that have happened in years past that, to some, may seem unforgivable. They are memories that were tucked far away, dealt with mostly in my step work, and have all but been forgiven. I could list a multitude of reasons as to why they are coming up again now – so vivid and haunting – but the reason does no longer matter to me because the answer is so much bigger: I am redeemed.
Whenever these memories, bad thoughts and self-condemning things enter my mind, I have learned (through much trial and error) to speak truth over them and myself, regardless of how I may be feeling in the moment. Far too often we get sucked into negative patterns of behavior, which includes the way we choose to process our thoughts. I refuse to go back there and enable the enemy to take hold of me. Often this looks as simple as me declaring that I have been forgiven by my God, my family, and myself, and I refuse to go back to thinking differently. What matters is the life I am choosing to live now… the path that I am on and what my experiences may do to help others not there yet. This is the truth the Lord has given me, and I pray you can find some solace in it too:
When we deeply accept our Father’s embrace, we will be neither self-rejecting nor prideful; rather we will become humble and grateful. When we see ourselves as God sees us, we find true freedom.
My message to you this morning is to fight against discouragement. Allow others to know you, embrace you, and lift you up when you are having a hard time walking in this truth because life can be so heavy. You will find freedom, and this too shall pass. Your pain has been purchased with blood, and it will be used for a greater purpose. Don’t dwell on the past, and even if you can’t shut the door on it, know you do not live there any longer.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)
I know I am redeemed. He set me free. He wiped away every stain. I’m not who I used to be. I pray that you can know this in your heart as well, and if you aren’t there already, you may begin to live in this truth of freedom.
You are ever so loved,