If you’re like me, you have made mistakes in the past. These mistakes have caused a great deal of pain in your life, and these very mistakes are what are holding you back from becoming closer to Christ and bettering your life in general. You may feel like you have distanced yourself from your relationship with God so drastically that there is no way to get back to where you were before. You may feel that the regrets you have are too powerful to forget or even consider forgiving yourself. There may have even been mistakes made in your life that have life long consequences.
Mistakes of this caliber are usually made when going through a very stressful, hurtful situation or when undergoing significant change. Sometimes they are made because of a combination of the two. Some mistakes are made after we have invited Christ to come into our lives. Others are mistakes made far before we had learned the Truth.
The important concept to grasp here is that we all have made mistakes. Big or small, with little or large consequences. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.” This universal problem is one that we all face. Personally, knowing that I am not alone in that department provides hope for my life. It gives me a reason to push through the mistakes and person I have been in the past because I know that the people I look up to the most have even gone through this issue. It allows me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While it may still be hard to reach the end of the tunnel, I know that there is a way. I may have to change myself, but I know that someday I can get there.
I have made just as many mistakes as the next person. There are many regrets that I have and I would do anything to go back in time and just handle situations differently. Some mistakes were words spoken, some were action taken. I still make mistakes… on a daily basis. I do not pretend to be a perfect Christian. I also will not pretend that I have figured everything out. I am simply a lost girl who has felt convicted enough to fall to my knees and realize that the only way for me to truly live a purposeful life is to turn my life to the One who created me.
There are really three steps that I have been taking to try and make a change in my life.
1) REPENT. Some mistakes I have made in the past tend to be baggage. I drag the regret around and am not able to easily move on because I refuse to let go. Not because I choose to remember what happened, but because Satan does not want me to forget. The devil desires to make us feel that we are a reflection of the compilation of mistakes that lurk in our past. I greatly believe that the reason we may not be able to get over the baggage is because we have not swallowed our pride, fallen to our knees and repented of the sins we made. In Luke 5:31-32 we see that Jesus wants to help take the pain away. He proclaims, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repent.” We are not expected to be perfect, and we can not set unrealistic expectations for our selves. We may still be engaging in sinful activities that cause us to feel regret on a daily basis. Unfortunately, our human nature makes it extremely hard for us to just change over night. Our peers also tend to make these changes hard for us. Many people tend to remember the bad you have done and not the good. They may feel self-guilt after seeing your desire to clean up your act and lash out by responding “remember what she/he did?” The awesome part of repentance is that we are not obligated to repent to the whole world in order to make things right… all we must do is repent to Christ. Acts 3:19 says “Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come to the Lord.” Sometimes part of truly repenting may be asking for forgiveness from someone you may have hurt or wronged. You may have to step into an uncomfortable situation in order to relieve yourself from the pressure you have placed on your life. However, I truly feel refreshed and ready to move forward after I have truly repented my sins to God.
2) MOTIVATION. The next step for me is to ask myself some questions. I must ask myself why I acted the way I did. Some days I have to really pray that God shows me what my motivation was. Sometimes I may have had an agenda. I wanted to achieve a goal and knew what I had to do to get there. Sometimes I may have just been so desensitized to the things of this world that I was not even currently aware of the damage I was doing. I may have spoke false words about someone in order to defend myself. I may have drank a little too much or wore an outfit that did not reflect my true intentions. The point being, we need to ask ourselves why we do the things we do. We need to soul search, spend some time alone, turn off the cell phone or the TV and get to the bottom of our own business.
3) CHANGE. The next step is to enforce the changes in your life. Make adjustments to distance yourself from your sinful nature. This may mean that you change the music you listen to or the shows you watch. This may mean that you spend less time engaging in sinful activities with certain friends who tend to encourage the behavior that causes sin and regret in your life. It is important for us all to remember, these people did not MAKE us do anything. We are our own decision makers and it is because of our weakness and lack of self control that we partake in many activities of sin. I challenge you to pray daily for these friends. Pray that just as you have felt convicted, so will they. Pray that God will make his presence known in their lives. Pray that they are not being bound by mistakes in their past. Many people who “change” for the better and to become closer to God tend to become very judgmental. They only see the bad and sin in the people that surround them rather than having the same unconditional love that Christ has for us. Many of those “changed” souls tend to completely cut the people who they were closest to out of their lives and judge them saying, “I just couldn’t hang out with someone who acts that way.” We put down, judge and blame. Is that not sin? Should we not be leaving the judgment up to our King who is worthy of judgment? Matthew 7:1-5 says it best for me. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Moving past regrets and changing is extremely complicated. Deciding to live a life that is not about you but about HIM is also challenging, but it is a life that is worth striving after.
As I said before, I am not perfect and most definitely not the epitome of what a Daughter of Christ should look like…. but I am making changes. I am owning up to my sins. I am letting go of the past. I am forgiving myself and others for words and actions that may have shaped the person I am today or the ways I view myself or others. I am still making mistakes and I know that it will be a long journey until I am happy with myself, but I refuse to live a normal, secular life. I want to be remembered for more than the way I looked or who I hung around. I want to be remembered for more than how I performed in sports, school and my career. I want to help others on their journey and I want to become the best woman that I can be.
My hope in this journal is not to tear anyone down or put myself on a pedestal. I hope that I can encourage others to look at their lives differently and to share what I am learning on my journey. I ask that if you actually took the time to read this that you keep me in your prayers. If you are going through the same walk I am, I would love to talk with you and pray for you! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can always message me on Facebook. <3 Until next time…