Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Thoughts on Forgiveness

If you are not interested in this subject, please bear with me - or feel free to ignore me :)

I see forgiveness as an act of obedience rather than something we obtain - where once we “get it” (the ability to forgive a person) in a certain situation, we are done with it. Forgiveness is a choice (sometimes a daily one!) Obviously, we do not forget the wrong done– (which is many times a good thing because the knowledge offers us assistance in making future decisions.) On the other hand, when we are hurt deeply, and at times we don't forgive, it can be a constant thorn in our side – with recurring thoughts leading to anxiety, sleepless nights, headaches, depression, drinking/drugs, worry, and the list goes on because if there is a situation to forgive, odds are there are a lot of ramifications attached to the wrongs done and they affect other areas of our lives.

In my own personal life, even once I have forgiven a person or people, I can easily let the situation creep back into my thoughts and if I run with those thoughts I can find myself fuming (or crying) once again. I would hesitate to say that I did not really forgive the person, but that the wound is still open, or has been re-opened and it hurts. What I am responsible for is how I deal with the situation when it comes to mind again. For my own good and because it is the right thing to do, I need to be aware of where I am headed mentally and take action. SO easier said than done. I can choose to think about something else (which is hard for me because I am a thinker and I can pick a topic and think it to death!) or choose an activity I know will occupy my thoughts. For me, some situations are so raw at different times, that the only way I can keep my thoughts, emotions (and connected physical state) under control is by praying and telling God I need help getting my thoughts under control (fact is, I always need help, but sometimes the need is so obvious I actually admit it!), or I grab my Bible and read some of God’s promises so that they can fill my mind rather than my continuing in the direction I am headed. I would like to say that I am more successful at this than not, but that has not been the case. What I find SO wonderful about God is that He asks us to give things over to Him and not fret – but He knows we are incapable of letting go – so He offers to do it for us, we just have to be willing! And then we reap the rewards of work He did in us! How great is that.

I believe that God allows the situations to reappear in our thoughts not merely to ‘test’ us, but give us an opportunity for growth and to see what progress we have made (or not)…for our own benefit. It could be to teach us things about ourselves, about others, teach us lessons in dealing with difficult people and situations. Personal growth is often best accomplished hands-on (unfortunately ☺).

It’s funny (well, not lol funny), but just now, while writing this I received a phone call and got some information that really…well, made me mad and hurt and stirred up old frustrations, disappointments, irritations, etc. So, my issues came back to me and I was given the opportunity to practice what I am now talking about! This time, I did stop and pray and tell God I know my negative thoughts will not change the situation, so help me to hand it over to Him. Help me to spend my energy on the things in my life that are positive and can benefit from my time (my family, friends, etc.) I want to be open to what I can learn in these 're-opened wound' times – but I don’t want them to consume me or make me ineffective. I want to know how to take what I have learned and truly move on. I don’t want the things I have gone through and worked on in the past 12 months to have been in vain.

I don’t believe anything happens by accident. For me, this week, I believe God knew what information would be placed in my lap today. Given my past history in dealing with this particular issue, God prepared me in a number of ways: 1)the message at church on Sunday, 2)the email waiting for me on Monday morning, 3)the reading I did on Monday night, and now my wanting to re-address this topic on the blog today! I guess He figured I needed a heads up and a lot of help! Well, it worked. This time (finally) rather than going into a downward spiral, playing out a hundred misdeeds of others in my mind and getting all worked up – I was reminded of what this was. An opportunity to practice and realize (flesh out) some of the growth I have made over the past year in dealing with these circumstances.

The past year has shown me how completely inept I am at forgiveness, conflict resolution (even conflicts in my own mind!), communication, and the list goes on. Yet, I can experience peace in the midst of the turmoil life hands me by calling on the Lord who is strong enough to accomplish those things for me and through me. When I accepted Jesus into my heart, I was given access to so much peace and joy (unexplainable peace and joy). That does not mean I don’t struggle and I don’t fail - but I don’t walk the road alone. Also, God doesn’t always miraculously smooth a situation over in my life or mind. I am not happy about wrongs that affect myself and others; but I am now choosing to not let them overwhelm me. This is not something that is easy for me or comes naturally; it is a process of healing and growth. God can also use talking things through with others and friends and counselors (when I am seeking health, not a time for wallowing as I have been know to do ☺ ) I'm fortunate that my husband is a great listener-but God has shown me also, that for some things it is best that I let God work it out in my life before involving others; other times He wants to use my husband to help me work through them and other times He has a completely different plan. Sometimes the simplest things can assist in working through some of the stress and strife-and I believe God offers guidance through many avenues. I am learning to stop trying to do it alone and ask for help-first from the Lord because He is best at sending appropriate help my way. I know that I will get opportunities to see my growth in action when the issues arise again. With practice, I am becoming a little more successful each time it is handed back to me.

1 comment:

Saved by Grace said...

Kristin!!!

Thanks for sharing, I know I'm up late. I had to print some stuff for the week, stuff I just didn't think of coping before. So I am checking out your blog and it is scrapalicious and scraptastic!!!

I love it, how did you get the background,so cute by the way?

Well I hope to talk to you more soon. And if you don't mind, could I add you to mine? Your blog is soo encouraging and so well said.

Anywhoo, let me go get some rest, talk to you soon. Are you going to church tomorrow?