Believe me, I fought it kicking and screaming. No part of me wanted to finish my first collegiate year having only run two races and not really showing anything for myself. I didn't accomplish all the goals I'd set. I didn't break through and expose the talent I believe God has given me. I didn't do a lot of things.
But what I have done, and am doing, is letting go for the first time. Last week, as I took an entire week off of exercise, I chose to view it as my week with the Lord. I prayed a lot, struggled a lot and wrote... a lot! What I also did a lot of, was ragging on myself. If you've read my blog before, you'll notice that my lack of self-confidence and self-esteem is no secret. To be honest, I struggle with "liking myself." Mainly, that's because of perfectionist tendencies and the false belief that I have to earn the love of others. For that reason, I stepped into last week with a massive amount of self-hatred and disgust for who I was. All I could think was how I had wasted an entire year of running, how I'd screwed up all the plans God might have had for me, how I'd disappointed everyone around me-- especially my family.
|I love screenshotting awesome verses|
That was when I realized it. I realized that for the first time in my life (no joke), I was actually forgiving myself. Yes. I'm 19 years old and I don't think I've ever really forgiven myself before. I still harbor guilt from when I told my dad I didn't want him to eat lunch with my in the cafeteria...in third grade. But I am finally deciding, choosing and beginning to do it: forgive myself! And it feels great.
I beginning to grasp the idea that God's forgiveness it here for the taking, but we have the responsibility to do just that: take it! Once that idea started churning in my head, I experienced such hope. I am so hopeful and joyful looking ahead. I am finally addressing the last of this monster-eating disorder that I never fully killed. I'm finally focusing on God and not "fixing myself." And for the first time in a long, long time: I feel free. I still feel quite broken and sometimes ashamed, but also free. Heck, doesn't the fact that I'm choosing to-- while anonymously-- post this on the internet? I still care a bit too much what people think; I still worry that I'll be judged and talked about. Chiefly, I am afraid that I'll be seen as weak, not the tough and strong girl I want to come across as. But as I'm starting to accept: I'm not that girl. I never have been. That's why I need Christ in the first place. That's why I need forgiveness.
So maybe this post finds you in a similar place. Perhaps you're hating yourself for failing over and over again with a habitual sin. Maybe you're regretting past mistakes and lost time. You might even feel the weight of shackles on your own feet as I talk about my story. I want to encourage you with James 1:12, which says:
Bless is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple. (NKJV)
That is what I want: To focus on God and seek Him alone. As one of my favorite authors, Lysa Terkeurst says, "it's imperfect progress." I won't honor God with my eating every day. I won't honor Him with a lot of things on a consistent basis, but I do seek to honor Him with all that I am. I am ready to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. If we always stick with the comfortable, we'll never move forward into all that God has. So: imperfect progress and eyes on the cross. I guess that's the main theme for today. Remember that God has so much more for you than the shackles of sin and shame and self-hatred. Remember who you are, my friend. Be encouraged and choose to seek Christ and Christ alone. Every action and thought is a decision to either seek Christ or seek your own sinful desires. Just like in a race: Every second matters!
Need some more encouragement? Head over to YouTube and listen to "Eyes on the Prize" by Sara Groves. I recently did a post on my favorite worship songs and this one is at the top of the list! Read the blog post HERE for some other great songs!