2/20/2013

Lent 2013: Giving Up a Vengeful Spirit and Accepting Grace

Hello everyone!

Sorry it has taken me a while to post again. I am still balancing out grad school life but come May 2013 that chapter will end! :^) Anywho, this year I felt led to give up a vengeful spirit for lent. God brought to my attention that I was still carrying around a lot of hurt and anger about people and situations that were far into my past. It has not been easy, but already the clarity that I have received is slowly changing my life in ways I didn't expect it to.

Leading up to the lent season, the prayer group for my program had been reading The Shack by William P. Young, which is an amazing journey of a man who has to face a major tragedy in his life to find forgiveness, clarity and healing in order to truly "live." As I read this book I soon realized  I had my own tragedy that I had refused to address but had no problem holding grudge against. This grudge had become so strong that I dreamed about getting revenge, telling it like it is, telling the truth, and confronting those who had turned on me, stabbed me in the back and judged me based on what they heard not the truth.

Yet in the process of reading The Shack, I realized that I too was judging out of pain and anger. My counselor explained to me the issue with our ego, the voice that demands justice in our minds. Our ego wants  to address those who harmed us, demand justice and show them whose boss, but in reality people will go a lifetime unaware of the pain they cast on others. Some will never care, some will never apologize, but that doesn't mean we can't forgive and move on.

One of the biggest issues of holding a grudge is the reality that we haven't forgiven ourselves. Many of  us are really angry at ourselves for allowing someone to hurt us, allowing ourselves to end up in that situation, be that stupid, and the list goes on. However, once we forgive ourselves, we can openly forgive those who have hurt us. We can appreciate the freedom that comes with it, and understanding that it is not our place to judge because our judgement is unstable and we do not dictate justice. Once you can let go of living in your past and worrying about your future, you can exist in your present.

Next thing you know, you are living! God loves us and he does not desire that we hurt and suffer, but sometimes God won't step in to protect us from everything because certain things must come to pass so that the new can exist. Hardships usually produce blessings and if we do not endure them and allow them to clear out what is old, we cannot accept what is new.

For me God could not expose real love to me while my heart was so hardened by my past, but since I have let things go gradually and forgiven myself and others the concept of love is brand new to me. It's like I am looking at life through a new pair of eyes, and taking in my everyday life moment by moment has made me appreciate things so much more. Every laugh makes me appreciate the person who shared it, every conversation is appreciated because that meant someone wanted to listen, every solemn look that has been greeted by a hug makes me feel cared about. And then I stop and look at it all at once realizing this is real love. Living it and breathing it everyday, but I couldn't see it before through my hate, anger and pain.

The reality is that people are going to hurt us in this life, but those feelings of pain can never overpower love. We will get angry and we will still feel the scars from our hurt but we can choose to confront our tragedies, heal those open wounds and love to overcome. There will be days that I still get angry but I can still forgive. I don't need revenge. I don't need justice. I just need real love. That's all!

So I hope that whatever it is that you are giving up for Lent this year, it transforms your living. This is my journey and all I can hope for is that someone else is inspired to let go too. Stay tuned, greater things are to come!

Simply Me

Simply Me