Sometimes the person we need to forgive most is ourselves

I’m the hardest person on me, because I expect perfection out of myself. When I don’t perform the way I think I should I rip myself apart and replay events over and over in my head as to how I could have done different. That cycles into remorse because I didn’t do what I need to, and in some cases deep overwhelming sadness depending on what it is. I don’t usually have issues forgiving others because I can’t control what they do. I have a hard time with myself because I am the one who does those actions.

What I’ve learned is God’s forgiveness extends beyond my own judgement and harshness. His grace and mercy don’t run out. If he has already forgiven me, when He KNEW I was going to do all these things… How can I not learn to forgive myself like he had forgiven me? His love is beyond our imagining and that is directed towards us, who are in the center of the bullseye of our judgement

Laundry

Life isn’t simple, it’s a complicated mess that is still beautiful. That was illustrated to me tonight in the simple act of doing laundry in a hotel.

To start off, I returned from work early. I saw another person had their laundry in the washer that was done. I had time to spare, so I moseyed around for a couple of hours and came back. Seeing no change, I decided to drop a couple loonies(dollars for my American friends) and get their laundry dry while mine washed. I come back an hour later, still no change and my laundry was washed.

The dryer was quite bad, and I was running out of time waiting for them. I dried my laundry the first time, to no avail. Dried a second time, thinking when it was done (checking quite often now as it was late) I would dry their laundry again. I had just went down and checked, my thick warm sweater was still really damp. I decided to give it more time (another episode of the legend of korra).

I came back to check thinking it might be done, and the clothes were switched. My immediate reaction was anger. I had waited patiently, paid for their laundry, waited more, and I got returned with wet clothes. All this staying up an extra hour so I have warm clothes for work.

I proceeded to think of the best note I could write to leave with two looneys to tell them thank you for what they had done (super passive aggressive right?). As I was raging about a thought came to me that the person stomping around and upset about wet clothes isn’t who I’m supposed to be. Basically, that’s not me.

So I went down to see if the hotel had another dryer. They didn’t, but the older reception lady was really nice. She gave me a refund and offered to finish off the clothes for me while I sleep so I can pick them up in the morning.

But that’s not the ending to the story. Nor will this be the ending you expect. It’s not about being vindicated because I was nice and I got it paid back to me in some way or another. It’s not about having dry clothes either.

The best thing about the whole situation was I got to interact with someone genuinely. I was able to talk to her and genuinely care why she was working late hours. We even got to talk about her fear of bears (I work where there are those creatures). Nothing momentous, but an insight into someone’s life, seeing a little picture of who they are and their story. She lost her job three weeks ago, and found what was available.

I want to ask a favor of whoever reads this, because I think this is an opportunity to pray for someone God loves… Even if I might not see her again. Can we pray for her?

We are given opportunities to change lives for the Kingdom, and let us make the most of them no matter how small or how they come to us. Sometimes, it’s clearly in front of you. At other times, we have to get over ourselves (and things) and see what is truly there.

Grace

A mark of a mature believer is their perspective of God’s grace and love. This is the lens through which they see the world in which they interact, as well as the lens through which they see their own humanity.

I can confidently say I’m not there yet, as my failures have shown me my immaturity in this area. I have a skewed view of God, defaulting to performance to earn His grace when I fail. I am learning to see these things in light of His great love as a father. I am also learning that mercy doesn’t involve performance, just as grace doesn’t either. Both are freely given based on the choice of the one who wants to share those gifts – out of love.

Failure

Our mistakes shouldn’t shrowd our entire perspective of grace. When they do, grace becomes earned and not given. We have bigger things to hope for, all of which lie in God’s promises and His character. Part of that is sanctification as we move on from failures and mistakes. All give you the chance to grow instead of stagnate in a pool of guilt, shame, and worthlessness.

In processing failure, we have a chance to recall God and His character. Only through Him can we become like Him. And only someone like Him can be so loving and patient as we continue our process of becoming like Him. Word for today, leave your focus on your mistakes behind and put your focus on the One who can renew you and cause you to grow.

Focus

We are all trying not to sin. There is always something we are working on, trying to better ourselves. It’s most likely the thing that is our kryptonite and our downfall in times of weakness, whatever that may be. This thing also tends to be where we beat ourselves up the most, causing insecurities and doubting God. At times, it consumes us. At all times, we just want to be better. We don’t want to sin, or in other words we just keep trying our hardest not to mess up.

The thing is, what separates us from an unbeliever in this? Aren’t they doing the same exact thing? It might not be to God, but I know there are loving husbands out there trying to clean up their life for their wife. There are the children who want to make their parents proud. Young adults want to appear professional and turn from the party life for a good job. The list goes on.

What separates the believer from the unbeliever is our position (redeemed) and our focus (on Christ). Many of us fall into the notion that we have to get rid of our sin to be in relation with God. How wrong of us to think that when God wanted relationship with us before we knew grace! It makes me think of Paul telling the church they are still drinking milk rather than eating the food of the Word of God. Being freed from sin is foundational, this happened when we believed in Christ. From that point we grow beyond worrying about our sinful state and begin to focus on the God who gave us life, trusting that as we get to know Him He will sanctify us.

Yes, there will be conviction of our sin. We will be utterly aware of it in the light of His glory. However, we will not be worried about it separating us from the love of Christ. That love of Christ has become our focus and that others know it our goal. We aren’t perfect. We won’t be until we are with Him. We can still turn our focus off of what is wrong with us and onto what is right with Christ. When we take captive our thoughts and fill them with things of Christ instead of negative things we begin to change. Focus on heavenly things (things of God) and not earthly things (our sin for example). This isn’t advocating some aloof person with their eyes in the stars, rather someone connected with God and living that out in the real world.

Thankfulness

I’m thankful I my husband isn’t dying of contagion
He is strong and I’m content with my wages
I’m not where a virus rages

I’m thankful my country isn’t in civil war
Families and friends trying to settle a score
I leave oppression by an open door

I’m thankful it’s not my son there dying
From a war he couldn’t avoid by lying
He’s alive well to continue striving

I’m thankful I’m not a difference race
Missing discrimination just grace
My eyes aren’t filled with mace

I’m just thankful it’s not me
Not my family I have to see
And it’s not my apology

Thankful in our self-centeredness
We’re not embraced with death’s kiss
For lack of trial we are in bliss

Thankful we’ll go to our graves
Ignoring suffering of the souls who’s hunger we refused to stave
Just happy we are saved

Relationship

Do we have a good relationship with someone if our sole focus is to not screw up around them? What if this is magnified by not spending much time with them, so we don’t know what pleases or displeases them? How do you have a healthy relationship with that person? You cannot, but this is how the majority of us spend our lives in relationship with God. We are fearful of screwing up around someone whos character we don’t know.

A way to start from a book I’ve been reading on how to know of Him:

God is patient, and He is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. God does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. HE always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.

Adapted from 1 Corinthians 13, based on “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

Who will win

This overwhelming weight of sadness
It’s starting to drive me to madness
It wants to be filled with something
Anything just won’t do

Simply left emptier and more sullen
It felt like the world has utterly fallen
Slowly crushing breath from my lungs 
Searching for something to do

Whatever can satisfy the thirst and ache
Whatever can ease the sting while awake
Trying to be rational
In the end that is filler as well

The only thing that fills my lungs with air
As I slowly asphixiate on this chair
Is knowing no matter how much I focus on me
I’ll never break chains and be free

Setting my mind on truth
There is one Savior in a world of sadness and sin
He’s the one over all of this will win

Easy company

Beaten down with my hands in the snowy sand
Mortars whistle overhead bullets whiz
A foxhole right now sounds grand
Instead I’m bleeding out

Pinned down on a cold night
Men screaming for a medic
Terror in his eyes as he rushes to their plight
Another life couldn’t be saved

Finding humor in the darkest of things
A Christmas present not to surrender
The smallest giving hope it’s wings
Fighting for another day

Another battle won for easy company
Blood shed fighting war on the fly
Not surrounded on that day don’t you see
101st held their own

Watched band of brothers tonight. This episode they survived the battle of the bulge, which inspired this