Saturday, September 7, 2013

I'm learning

I'm learning to be okay with me.
I'm learning to allow myself to be set free.
I'm learning that I am enough
I'm learning that I am okay
I'm learning that it's okay for me to heal
I'm learning that it's okay for me to be happy
I'm learning that I am wanted, valued, loved

I'm learning.

When I was in my early 20's, I spent a good 5 years in counseling. During that time, I made choices that deepened the ingrained belief that I was not worthy of true love or happiness. I also learned tools that when push came to shove, I was able to realize my mistake and heal from it. I learned it was okay to take the time to heal before moving on.

What I didn't learn was that it was okay to not lock myself into the consequences of a future mistake. See, I got myself engaged to a man who didn't really want me. In fact, he told me at one point that he was only with me until "someone better came along". It was a month before our wedding when that someone better came along. I was heartbroken, but I think (looking back) that I was more heartbroken about the wedding being cancelled than I was about him breaking up with me... I think I expected it to happen sooner or later. Now, I'm eternally grateful to God for breaking us up because he turned out to be a lousy husband, a philanderer and abuser.

The other thing I didn't carry forward was into my next relationship the forgiveness towards myself for past relationships and mistakes. See, I had made myself a promise and when that promise was broken, taken away, I still felt I had to honour it. I decided that I had "made my bed and must lie in it". I was mistaken. If I had been able to forgive myself, to set aside my actions and feelings from the reality before me, I could have saved myself from more heartache and disaster.

I made my choice. If I had to go back, I'd probably make the same one because I can't imagine life without my boys, but if I could advise a woman in the same situation, I would give different advice.

For example, just because you slip up, make a mistake, sin, fall, however you want to word it, you aren't stuck with a bad choice, with a bad relationship because of it. I would advise that you step away from that moment, action or decision and look at the relationship outside of it, would you stay with that person if that moment had not happened, if that activity did not exist? I wish I had asked myself that question - in fact, I went out of my way to not ask myself that question. I thought I owed it to God, to myself, to my family, to my reputation.... to do the "right" thing. I did the wrong thing.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm in a state of reflection lately and while I regret my thought processing in this matter, I cannot say for sure what decision I would have made if I had thought it through differently. I'm not the same person today that I was then. I've come a long way, done a lot more healing, educated myself better about relationships.

Which is to say that relationships still terrify me! I pray that should God provide a next relationship (and I pray He does), I will be wiser, freer, and more careful.  Should I make a grave mistake in my judgment, in my actions (in my own eyes!) I will be more forgiving, give myself grace and not allow it to be the basis of a long term decision.

God has brought me to a forgiveness for myself. He promises that He does not hold our past sins against us, that when He forgives, it is gone. As long as I choose to accept Him, my sins died on the cross with Christ, all of them. If He does not hold them against me, if He has already taken the consequence up on Himself, if He has already washed them clean, what am I saying or doing when I cling to them? If I cannot let Him take them away from me, if I insist that I still must face the eternal consequence for them, I have not accepted His gift and I negate the sacrifice that He made for me. I'm grateful for His Gift, His sacrifice and I have no desire to throw it back in His face or devalue it.

With this forgiveness... and some days I must remind myself of it when Satan is out to try to make me forget it! ... comes a freedom previously unknown. It means that I can walk with my head up. It means that today is a fresh start... that today is a clean slate... that tomorrow can also be a clean slate.

It means that I can dream, and love, and live, and dance lightly, happily and joyfully as I move into the future.

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