Sunday, August 12, 2012

Forgiveness: A Reminder from my Past

Tonight, I discovered an old notebook I used awhile ago, and found an old journal entry that was inspired during a very low time of my life.  I'm not sure if I posted this, because this journal entry was written back when blogging was a more frequent thing for me.  But I felt that I wanted to share with whom ever decides to read this:

1 Thessalonians 2:8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

All today I have been under the pressure of conviction at having behaved in a way that doesn't align with God's purpose for my life.  A great public confession is not needed, just know that I suffered great disappointment in myself at no one's fault except my own.

Remorse and contrition are not my favorite emotions, and this is the first time I've experienced them since being healed from the shame of my past.  But a contrite heart I indeed had.

And, of course, being the performance-focused person I am, I have been wanting to hide all day.  Being in an airport didn't help, having so many avenues of literal escape.

I gritted my teeth, and sat in my seat with low spirits.  All the failures and flaws suddenly weighed on me like a rock around your neck before being thrown into a lake.  My Bible felt like a concrete block, and my Beth Moore homework was menacing.

I opened up to the week on Gentleness, the eighth quality of the fruit of the Spirit.  Not the gentleness like, "I gently laid the sleeping baby on the bed," but gentleness as in, according to Beth Moore and her extensive inspired research, praotes (it's Greek).  Praotes involves having humility, stifling and emptying pride, replacing it with Jesus Himself.  It involves putting myself in the proper place in lieu of God's grace.  (Thanks, Beth Moore, btw)

That means, as John said in John 3:30, "He must increase, and I must decrease."

So for about an hour, I let go of the shame, as it threatened to become a stronghold and excuse to give up.  I emptied out the self-disappointment and self-loathing.  In fact, I took the "self" out completely and replaced it with TRUTH.

God loves me.  I am His sheep and He always carries me back when I've wandered from the flock.  He is the Father patiently waiting for the prodigal.  

In only a few moments, as I practiced (and it is a practice) humility, laying my soul face-down at the feet of Jesus, I was healed of shame and the resulting spiral into despair and loneliness.  Then, I was struck by such kindness.  Such empathy, sympathy and encouragement to keep fighting the good fight.

As I began feeling the relief and freedom of forgiveness, I felt set right again.  But it didn't stop there.  He continued to speak to me.

I came upon 1 Thessalonians 2:8, written by Paul to his friends in Thessalonica.  I had just experienced the lovingkindness of the Lord, read this verse, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me about my ever-lingering loneliness.  He reminded me that out of His consuming and powerful love for me, came people who loved me enough to tell me about Him. 

There were many given the thankless job of planting seeds in my heart.  There were those who saw the actual transformation happen.  Next were those who fed me the spiritual "milk" I needed and whose friendships protected me from the enemy's many attacks.  And now, God shows His love for me through those whose fond affection for me prompts them to impart wisdom through their lives to me.  I have become dear to them.  

Oh how my heart not only has been forgiven and set free, but my soul has been soothed and cared for.

I am ashamed no more.

I am lonely no more.