Forgiveness : part two

For so long I have struggled with forgiveness, but once I had that revelation that forgiveness is actually all about processing pain, about facing pain from the past and dealing with it, the journey to truly forgiving someone else has become so much more easier.

I am going to break down the journey to true forgiveness into some practical steps.

First thing to do is to put into words how the person who hurt you made you feel. Ask Holy Spirit to help you identify the source of the pain that you are feeling. Ask why I am feeling this way, what is the entry point for this pain and what lies from my past am I believing.

Next you need to strengthen your broken places, strengthen the weak places in your soul. You need to connect with the pain that you are feeling instead of running away from it. Regardless of the reasons your hurting or your numb, the way out is to dive straight in. Spending time with God to process your past pain is so important. Allow Him to answer questions that have carried hurt. By doing this you will become a master at discovering your pain and healing your soul.

Then, ask the Holy Spirit how He sees that person who has hurt you and experience His compassion for them. Once you feel that compassion for them extending forgiveness is much easier. Then pray a prayer of forgiveness for that person. Remember that forgiveness is a choice. It is an act of our will not our emotions. You cannot measure the depth of your forgiveness by your feelings. As you remind yourself over and over again that you choose to release from punishment the person who has hurt you, the pain in your soul begins to ease.

Your behaviour also needs to change once you have released forgiveness. If I am bitter at somebody and I forgive them my behaviour towards them has to change. If your internal decision of forgiveness does not affect your behaviour, then you have no evidence that you have forgiven. God has called us into a lifestyle of forgiveness and it has to be proven through our actions.

We start our day with what Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

At the beginning of my day I make the decision to live redemptively and that before I am sinned against, before I am hurt by somebody, I prepare to forgive. It is a commitment that I make each and every day, that I am going to live the life of a forgiving person.

It does not mean that all of the abuse, hurt and pain that happens to me is justified or right, it just means that I am not going to become controlled by the sins of another person. I am making the choice to not let bitterness dictate to me my thoughts, my feelings and my actions.

And then in the book of Ephesians (4:26-27)  it says “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold”.

So I start my day as a redemptive person. I decide before anything happens that today I am going to live as a forgiver. I am going to release people and refuse to be bound by bitterness. Then at the end of the day, I do not let the sun go down on my anger. I may have experienced hurt and anger because things have happened to me, but I am not going to let it control me.

At the end of the day I have to make sure that I go to sleep with peace. If I don’t then that bitterness and unforgiveness begins to get worse and worse in my mind, heart and soul and it gets woven into my personality, into my thinking and becomes a part of the fabric of who I am. The longer I leave it there the more it begins to define me.

Jesus wants us every day to have a fresh start. At the beginning of the day we commit to being a forgiving person and then at the end of the day we work through the pain from the day and we clean out our heart and we start new and fresh each day.

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Forgiveness : part one

I had someone who had hurt me. They had said things that were untrue about me, they were attacking my identity. My identity can be my weak spot. I thought I had worked through what had happened and had forgiven, dealt with it and moved on. The further I was from the situation the more closure I thought I had.

But something happened again, and all the hurt feelings came rushing back in.  I wanted the world to know my side of the story, I wanted to stand up and start defending myself and I wanted justice to be served.

But I knew that I could not do that. It was not honourable to start a he said she said campaign, but I was still feeling hurt and absolutely miserable over it and I just didn’t know how to move on.

I was in an environment where I still had to see this person. It wasn’t like I could just walk away and never see them again and each time I would see them I would hurt all over again.

Physically it was affecting me, I would tense up and I am sure the expression on my face was not a good one. I would behave differently around them or at events where we were sharing the same space. My thoughts were definitely not aligned with Gods thoughts for this person and even though I did not express my displeasure of this person to others I am sure that they knew how I felt by watching me.

My unforgiveness and bitterness was changing me.

It had woven itself into the fabric of who I was, and I was becoming a completely different person to who I was actually created to be.

I reached a breaking point where I just cried out to God. I was so busy trying to hide my pain away that I forgot to run to the one who could actually help me heal.

So, I asked God, why is it that I am still feeling this way? There is nothing that I can do about what this person has done, the only thing I can do is work on myself. So, God what is it, tell me how I can get closure over this and stop feeling this pain? And then I was silent, and He began to speak directly to me.

God said to me that I had taken God off the throne in my life and I had put myself there. I was trying to dish out my own kind of punishment and I had forgotten that forgiving someone meant that I give God permission to get justice on my behalf and I release people from my own form of judgment, from my attempts to get justice through punishment.

That revelation hit me so hard and it brought me to my knees in repentance. I could not see that that was what I had done. That I had removed God from the throne and put myself there. That I was dealing out my own form of punishment but all it was doing was affecting me and those over who I had influence.

On the spot I repented for what I had done. I said to God I am so sorry for doing that and I felt God release His forgiveness to me straight away. I love how He forgives in an instant and my heart was able to receive it and really take it in.

And then there was more… God said to me, stop looking to the world for validation, stop trying to make a place for yourself in this world, you already have a place in my heart. He showed me what my pain really was, and He spoke to it.

This person who said things about me was not my pain, they were just the face of my pain, they were pushing the trigger for my pain.  My pain was over my identity, struggling to know who I am and to find a place in this world. Worrying about what other people thought of me when all that really matters is what God thinks of me.

He knew the truth and He spoke it out over me. He will deal with that person’s heart who was speaking lies about me, that is actually between them and God,. They are answerable for what they say and do to God and I need not worry about that and in that moment, I actually felt compassion for them.

After going through this whole process with God I felt so much lighter, like I could breathe again. I felt a sense of closure in my heart. I was then able to walk back into situations with this person who had hurt me, and I now was no longer trying to punish them through my bitterness towards them, in fact, I felt nothing. I was able to act and function from my true identity. They no longer held any power over me.

For so long I have struggled with forgiveness, but once I had that revelation that forgiveness is actually all about processing pain, about facing pain from the past and dealing with it, the journey to truly forgiving someone else has become so much more easier.

Pain is like an onion, you peel one layer back at a time, and I am sure that I have plenty more things to process with God, weeding out the pain from my heart so that I can live truly alive.

There is no victory without a battle

I can be quite an impatient person, I am like a child who is waiting for their birthday to arrive constantly asking my mother how many sleeps to go and talking all the time about all the presents I want to get and what flavour of cake I would like to eat and who I want to come to my birthday party. Everything else becomes so unimportant as all my focus and attention is placed on the up and coming birthday, how can I possibly do anything else but talk and dream about my impeding special event.

But I am learning that I can no longer stay that impatient little girl. I have big dreams and lofty goals that lay ahead of me but I am learning fast that I need to be present in the here and now and to lean in to the waiting process because by looking in to the future too much I am missing out on what is happening right here and now.

Does this feel familiar to you? Are you always trying to run ahead and are just waiting for time, circumstances and everybody else to catch up with you? Well there is no victory without a battle, no testimony without a test, and no miracle without an impossible circumstance (Kris Vallotton)

Here is my advice about what to do while you are waiting for your victory and facing your impossible circumstances…

Be present in the here and now. Don’t get ahead of yourself. It is so easy to want to jump ahead and know everything that is going to happen in your life. To want to know when all the words that have been spoken over your life are going to happen, when your dreams are going to come true, when the hard times are going to come to an end, but it is so important to remember that you need to stay present in your season and learn the lesson of being obedient and trusting in God without knowing all of the tiny details. Let go of the need to control and understand everything, just let go and let God be God in your life.

Lean into the process. The lead up to a dream being birthed or breakthrough coming is the most important part. It is not the dream coming true but the process of you getting there that is the most important thing. God is working on our hearts, stripping away things that need to come off of us or building us up, filling us with the things that we will need to sustain us in the wondrous thing that is coming for us.

The process is sometimes not the most fun thing to go through but I promise you that it is totally worth it. When God is calling us in to new things, having an unhealthy heart can get in the way of you fully walking in your destiny. It could be fear, anxiety, control issues, perfectionism, fear of man or offence. We all have things to work through and it’s important that you lean in to the process that God is taking you on in this season.

There are things that you need to learn now that you will need to know in the next season. Learn to trust God even when you don’t know the why behind things. If He takes you through a pruning process then let Him, He is a good Father and only wants good things for us so let Him take you on that journey, it may hurt at first but there is so much more freedom awaiting you on the other side of the pruning process.

It is in the waiting that the joyful anticipation of our dreams being birthed deepens. But the moment we get tired in the waiting, Gods spirit is right along side of us, helping us along in our journey. We need to stay connected with Him, having a present leading as we are going along our way. God will gloriously complete in you what He has begun, partner with Him in the process and keep going.

So what is God telling you to do in this season that you find yourself in?

I am no longer a slave to fear

 

One of my words for this season that I find myself in is fearless. I have the word fearless on a giving key necklace that I wear around my neck to remind myself that I am bold, brave, courageous and lionhearted. I am fearless. God did not create me with a spirit of fear, He created me to be powerful and have a sound mind. So when fear comes knocking at my door, which it still does, I do not have to answer it. I have all the power and authority over fear and the following is how I train myself to be lionhearted.

I read my bible. But I don’t just read the bible to get my quota of scripture in for the day but I really read it. I read until something jumps out at me, then I stop and read that bit of scripture over and over again. I ask God what He is trying to say to me through those words in that moment.

If I want to know how God thinks and how to hear the sound of His voice then I have to read His words. Then I will begin to understand His ways and His thoughts and His purpose for my life. It also helps me to put on Christ each and every day instead of my fears and worries.

I also find that I may not remember everything that I have read in the word of God right after I have just read it but I know that it is going in to my mind, heart and soul and that it will come to the surface when the enemy comes with his lies. I then have the discernment to know “wait a second, that’s now how God speaks or thinks so that must not be God speaking but the enemy instead”. I can reject destructive ways of thinking and not let fear and worry take a hold of me.

I pray and spend time in the secret place. It is in that place, being alone and totally focused on God that I become refreshed and filled up by the Holy Spirit. But I don’t just have a time of devotion but I am totally devoted to God. He is always there and He is always available to talk to me and listen to me. I can access Him anytime and anywhere. I tap in to Him constantly and as I acknowledge His presence more and I begin to see transformation take place within me.

I worship God in spirit and in truth, with my head and my heart. Worship is not just a service that I go to once a week at church but it is a lifestyle. When the fear and worry begins to creep in I change the atmosphere around me, I turn on worship music. I turn my mind, heart and affections towards God. I focus on His goodness and the ways that He has rescued me and provided for me time and time again. As I connect with who He is, I can begin to hand over my fears and worries to Him thus shifting and changing the atmosphere that surrounds me.

I think that we will always face fears but it is how we choose to respond to them that matter. Fear only has the level of authority that we give to it. Instead of giving in to fear, stay in connection with Gods perfect love. Recognising and discerning fear is half of the battle. Once you see the fear coming at you, you can take authority over it. Remember that you were not created with a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. You are bold, brave, courageous and lionhearted. You are fearless.

Uncover our hiddenness

“God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it.  So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in him, but the unbeliever already lives under condemnation because they do not believe in the name of God’s beloved Son. And here is the basis for their judgment: The Light of God has now come into the world, but the hearts of people love their darkness more than the Light, because they want the darkness to conceal their evil. So the wicked hate the Light and try to hide from it, for their lives are fully exposed in the Light. But those who love the truth will come out into the Light and welcome its exposure, for the Light will reveal that their fruitful works were produced by God.” John 3:17-21 TPT

I have been meditating on these verses a lot lately. How God sent Jesus into the world to rescue us, not to judge and condemn us, yet we are still hiding out in the darkness, hiding our true selves away, afraid to step out into the light because we do not like what is hidden in our heart and we are still afraid of what God might think of us. He came to rescue us from these very feelings so why are we still afraid?

Everyone wants to be fully known and fully seen, to feel valued, important and worthy of love and affection. We long to have someone know our hearts intimately, even the messy parts and still choose to love every part of us.

God designed us for intimacy. Intimacy is into me you see. It is having an uncovered heart, free from fear and shame and every part of you is fully known and fully seen. To be completely ourselves and not live with the fear that we are going to be judged or condemned for how we really feel or how we think.

Even though we long to be known and seen and that God has actually designed us for intimacy we don’t actually live this way. We are still hiding bits of our self, we are afraid of what He may see if we truly open up, so we stay in the dark and cover up the things that are messy or scary. By doing this we are missing out on the power of true vulnerability with Him.

We must remember, the light of God has now come into the world, and we must move our hearts from hiding in the darkness to living in the Light. We need to uncover our hiddenness. God wants to know us, every part of us, but He is waiting for us to invite Him in so that He can see what is really going on in our hearts. Not so that He can judge us for it but so that He can help us mend our hearts.

Being open and vulnerable with God is so powerful because it helps us to walk in freedom from our shame and freedom from lies that we may believe about our self. He will take all the mess and turn all the chaos of our hearts into order.

Vulnerability with God will actually move us out of sin and into freedom but we need to push past the discomfort of vulnerability and have some open and honest conversations with God.

Come out into the light and welcome its exposure. Allow God to search and know your heart and throw off the shame that you may be holding on to and find comfort in God’s words. Find comfort in His truth over your life about who you are and who you were created to be. His words of life and love will empower you into more freedom to be fully yourself.