Life is complicated. Sometimes the things that we’ve said we’d never do, or the people that we said we would never hurt, unfortunately, become a part of our story. For what felt like at least a year or two, that was my reality. I made mistake after mistake and these weren’t just any mistakes. They weren’t like Oh, I locked my keys in the car. I made life-altering mistakes—some of which I still feel the effects of today. After most of the damage was done and the smoke cleared, I could barely look at myself. There was no one to place the blame on, no one to be angry with, and no one to reconcile with. I needed forgiveness for myself.
We’re so used to hearing sermons on the importance of forgiveness of others, but what about forgiveness of self? Forgiving the people that have wronged us is equally as important but I would argue that the conflict that I felt within myself was greater than any conflict that I’ve ever shared with another person. I struggled with my self-esteem, with my confidence, and worst of all, I struggled with my sense of purpose. I figured if I couldn’t do well in the simple requirements of life, there’s no way that God would find me worthy of housing anything great. Standing on the other side several years later, I can boldly say that there is nothing further from the truth.
If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with forgiving yourself, let me be the first to tell you that it’s time. It’s time to accept that you are human and that your mistakes are just as much a part of your life as your accomplishments. It’s time to move forward and acknowledge that although you can’t change what happened in the past, you can give your absolute best moving forward. It’s time to understand that you have a choice in whether or not your mistakes define who you are. It’s time to decide that if God can forgive you, then you can forgive yourself. Listen, God is not through with your story. That cringe-worthy moment in your life is merely a paragraph—possibly even a sentence—in the story of your life.Now, forgiving yourself, just like forgiving others, is an everyday process. Every morning will not be the same. But if you start the day making positive affirmations into your life and meditating on God’s promises, things will begin to look different. One of the best pieces of advice that I can give is to be mindful of your thoughts. Every feeling, every action stems from a thought. Our thoughts have the power to keep us in the lowest of lows. When you feel those thoughts of shame and self-loathe trying to show their faces, cast them down and shift your focus to what is positive. It is a ploy of the enemy to control our thoughts. If he can keep us believing that we are worthless, or ‘less-than’ or not capable of greatness, then we will never seek our God-given purpose. Don’t give him the satisfaction. You are destined for great things and this world needs what you have to offer! It’s time to forgive yourself…there are souls depending on it.