Monday, October 7, 2013

Learning to Forgive Yourself

We’ve all experienced some sort of disappointment, hurt or wounding from others. That’s just a part of life, but have you ever noticed that you bring those same issues into new relationships? Do you find yourself reacting to silent emotional triggers that send you into the same responses, even though the person you are dealing with may not be anything like the person or people that previously wounded you? What about deep rooted issues within your own heart and mind…Do you find yourself struggling with negative thoughts about yourself? Do you find yourself angry, short tempered and constantly struggling to overcome a negative self-image or thoughts that leave you feeling defeated and depressed?

An example from my own life: every time I went to the gym, I found myself immediately angry and faced with defeating thoughts. I instantly found myself depressed and discouraged. I had enough insight to know that there were some deep rooted issues regarding former lovers, self-image and low self-esteem, and I found it easier to deflect blame on them for how their selfish desires made me feel. I blamed them for my hatred of anything that was connected to exercise because emotionally I connected it to having to please some one else's selfishness in order to gain their acceptance and (false) love. I had a lot of silent triggers that sent me backwards in time every time I thought of exercise, but I had developed a lot of inner rebellion towards self improvement in that area of my life. There was still a stronghold in place that needed to be torn down, because the enemy was certainly flying his flag of victory in that part of my mind. Inwardly there were many thoughts connected to the resentment I felt towards my weight and negative self-image, and a whole lot more. While it’s true that I was mistreated many years ago, I found myself at a crossroads. I had transferred that anger and negativity towards others onto myself, and twenty five years later I was still carrying around the weights of the past! Truth be told, it was myself I was angry with. I was angry and disappointed in myself for allowing my weight to get out of control and the lack of love I felt towards myself. I was still blaming men from the past for what I perceived in myself as someone unattractive and undesirable. The reality is that I really needed to forgive them AND myself. I had never even realized I needed to forgive myself because I was still comfortable shifting blame onto other people and avoiding taking responsibility for my own failure to love myself and take good care of myself. But that truth was a whole different can of worms to open, and there was a lot there I needed to face about myself. I had to decide whether I wanted to be free, or hold on to the same negative thoughts and keep struggling with myself.

Sometimes we still blame others and continue to make false judgments about ourselves as well as others in our life because we are still reactive to old emotional triggers. When we carry unforgiveness towards ourselves or others, we will struggle with the things mentioned above.

The truth will only make you free if you submit to it and accept it. One thing about truth is that God’s grace actually helps us surrender to the truth so that we can let go of the false judgments we’ve made about ourselves and others. Sometimes the very thing that we need in order to heal is to forgive ourselves. You may have heard that before, but have you put it into practice?

You need to hear yourself say it; to you…as the child you once were. What was your nickname perhaps, or your birth name? Tell that person, I forgive you for all the mistakes you made. You were a child. It is over. Your heavenly Father forgives you, too. YOU ARE FORGIVEN. You need to speak to that little child as though YOU are the Lord and tell that child (using the name you were at that time), “YOU are forgiven.”

You need to hear yourself say it; to the youth that made many mistakes growing up. Speak them out loud. Pull those things out from the cover of darkness and don’t let them hide anymore, because what is cloaked in invisibility has the potential to whisper dark things in your soul.

I don’t know where you are at in life, but you need to hear yourself say the things you have condemned yourself for, and speak to the person you are now, “I FORGIVE YOU.” I know why you did the things you did, and I forgive you for the mistakes you made. I forgive you for putting yourself though things that brought you shame, embarrassment and made you begin to reject the person God made you to be.

What ever you are still carrying around inside...some secret sin or a miserable failure of some need to tell yourself as if you are talking to a friend: "I FORGIVE YOU FOR THAT." Maybe it's a relationship failure and you're still carrying around the name of someone that is no longer in your life. Perhaps it's regret from something else. Tell THAT person…I FORGIVE YOU. I know why you did the things you did; why you didn’t love yourself enough to take care of yourself or make better decisions. I forgive the poor choices you made. I forgive the things you did to yourself that left you holding the burdens of shame, regret, and all the things that you did that left you having to pay the price of those consequences of wrong choices. I FORGIVE YOU, and your heavenly Father forgives you, too. Carry those burdens no more!

To the person you are today, by whatever name you have today, tell that person, I FORGIVE YOU. You need to hear yourself say the words, “I FORGIVE YOU, and I will no longer punish you with self-hatred, rejection, and unloving thoughts. YOU ARE FORGIVEN, and you are now free to love yourself. You are free to like the person you are today. You are free to unload those heavy burdens and slip that yoke of self-inflicted oppression off your weary shoulders. Until you confess your sins (and refusing to forgive yourself is a sin!), you cannot be forgiven. When you don't feel forgiven, your mind and heart will feel the weight of judgment. A heart that is under the heavy load of feeling judged is angry, defensive and judgmental towards others, too. But 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28-29, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.…”

You will never learn to be gentle towards others if you cannot be gentle and kind to yourself. You will never learn to understand others and truly forgive them, if you cannot forgive yourself. You cannot let go of your past, until you let go of the unforgiveness, regret, shame, insecurity and false judgments you’ve made towards yourself. How can you expect to genuinely love others if you have not truly learned how to love yourself? Loving yourself means telling that child, that young person or person you were at every stage of your life the powerful most loving thought you can say to someone: I FORGIVE YOU. YOU ARE FORGIVEN, AND I CHOOSE TO LOVE AND ACCEPT YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE.” Once you can do that, loving yourself and accepting yourself will come easier. It all starts with you.

Father God,

I thank You for giving me the grace to help me forgive myself. I thank You Holy Spirit for helping me surrender the negative thoughts, self-image, and all the excuses. I choose to no longer blame others for my disappointments and wounding. I forgive everyone that has hurt, offended or disappointed me. I will not continue to blame myself, either. I take responsibility for my part. I own the truth. I reject all false judgments I have made about myself and others. I ask Your forgiveness for rejecting the truth of what Your word tells me about the person you created me to be. I choose to no longer reject myself, but to accept the person I am today and to know that You have a plan and a purpose for my life that is greater than what I can see at this moment. I am loved and accepted in Christ according to Ephesians 1:6. I release all false burdens and ungodly yokes. I will not wear them anymore! I choose freedom and I choose to accept myself. In Jesus name, amen.

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