How many times do you make a mistake?
Wish that you could have taken back the words that have come out wrong?
Made a different decision?
Chosen to be more careful?
There are so many times I wish that I had a delete button to erase the mess ups I’ve made in my life.
Yet, God doesn’t see it like this – He is a God of mercy and He redeems our mistakes to help shape us to be the person He wants us to be.
When we make a mistake it can cause us minor embarrassment – I’m forever putting my foot in my mouth so I certainly knows what it feels like to replay a conversation in my head wishing that I could go back and put across what I wanted to say in a better way.
Or it can cause us feelings of regret, failure and sorrow that we can burden us for years. Many of us live under the shadow of our mistakes. The things we wish that we had done differently. And sadly it shapes who we are.
Our self-identity reflects how we feel about those poor decisions, broken relationships and the things that didn’t work out shaping how we see ourselves.
We become held back from breaking free from these past mistakes and limit ourselves from ever succeeding again because of the times we got it wrong.
And it’s not just the isolated failures is it?
Those one-off bad decisions?
Those moments in our life that stand out as being our all-time greatest mistakes?
It’s the things we do again and again. The areas of our life that we know we let ourselves down in, but can’t ever seem to change. The weaknesses we just can’t break free from.
I’ve been reading this brilliant new book by Stasi Eldredge called Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You which is an amazing hope-filled book for anyone who wonders if their life will ever change – if she will ever change. It’s described as her most intimate book yet and she shares her own struggles with self-worth, weight, and her past.
Yet, it’s a book of hope as she takes us on her journey of understanding how God is unveiling who she truly is, to enable her to lay down her past and revealing His incredible dreams for her instead.
It’s a superb book! I loved Captivating and was impressed by the way that Stasi had described femininity so well, helping us to see how God wants women to flourish in the way He created us.
Becoming Myself is more personal, and a deeper look into the sadnesses many of us carry which affect the way we see ourselves and limit the things we are able to achieve in life.
Let me quote the book with something that I felt spoke particularly strongly into the theme of today’s devotion –
I wish my life came with a do-over button.
If only I knew then what I know now! If only I had just kept my mouth shut! Why did I do that, say that, want that? Still I realise the reason I am where I am is because of the journey I have been on. And not just the lovely “I’d love to do that again” parts of my journey either. The ugly parts, too. I got here from there. I would love to change much of my story and particularly the times when my struggles and failures have caused my friends and family grief.
But God is in their stories as well, and so with an open hand, surrounded by grace, my only option is to learn and begin again. Remember and step forward. Forgetting my life – my mistakes, my victories, my challenges, my sorrows, my story – prevents me from moving forward and growing into the woman I am supposed to be. I must remember. I invite you to join me in remembering. It may seem strange that at certain points in our journey we need to look back in order to continue moving forward, but its true.
The temptation is to look back with regret rather than with mercy. But God’s eyes see clearly, and they are filled with mercy. We can be merciful too.
I love this! How many of us can say that as we remember parts of our lives we have a need to learn how to be merciful on ourselves as our God of mercy is?
Our joy can be disintegrated by the bitter shards of regret that we refuse to let go of.
Yet, our God of mercy has made us women of righteousness.
God has dreams for us that through Him will be fulfilled, despite our mistakes – but we have to let go and be prepared to accept the mercy God has shown us.
…so that I may gain Christ and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Through Him we are righteous! We don’t live bent double under the weight of our struggles, our failures, our mistakes. We wear crowns!
This is nothing about what I can do. We are powerless ourselves to change the past. We can’t erase what we have done.
But God can wash our past clean. He can cleanse us from the things we have done wrong and release us from the burdens of regret.
All we need in order for this to happen is faith and to give ourselves permission to allow God to set us free!
Part 11 – Joy From the One Thing
Now, let’s linkup!!
Photo credit – Zsuzsanna Kilian via Stock.xchng