Without realising it, many of us are living behind an invisible veil whereby irrational ways of thinking and behaving have become the norm. Because we are yet to set ourselves free, and/or forgive those who have wronged us, subconsciously we are making decisions which are coming from a place of doubt, anxiety, low self-esteem, worry, hate and pain. Following a recent conversation with a friend, I realised (again), that this was me a while ago, and for a long period of time. I was living in a dark place where I did not love myself; I did not believe in self-worth; I did not feel comfortable with being myself and I doubted goodness was my portion. The most worrying thing was that I knew I was living behind this veil. I was so hurt and broken at the time, that I refused to trust anyone; I closed all doors and as a result I was obscured from seeing anything beautiful coming out of my experience and so lost hope in a promising future. I smiled and laughed like no other when I was around friends so that they would not ask questions, but I was crying and dying on the inside. I rested my head on damp pillows from crying, night after night; I was always tired because I spent every minute of the day, working to “distract myself”; I hardly socialised because everything enjoyable seemed so dull. I was a mess. But that was then and this is now… and now it is your time to set yourself free…
I give all the glory to God that I am no longer in this miserable place! Read Jeremiah 29:11.
I cannot promise that the following suggestions will erase your past or your current situation, but they helped me and I have hope that if you just attempt one, two or all four, you may well be enroute to freedom…
Hand Your Anxieties, Doubt, Low Self-Esteem and Self-Condemnation to God… Literally!
Openly name and hand over to Him, every single feeling/thought/mood/behaviour of worry and concern that is keeping you under hostage and attacking you in any aspect. Tell God, “I trust not in my own strength or power, but in your Spirit Lord. I hand over to you, this feeling of ____”. You may not have experienced something so daunting as described above; you may only be worried about a job interview outcome, a test result or even, how people may receive you in a new setting… Hand it over to Him! You may be experiencing rejection, heartbreak, a loss; Hand it over to Him! It is not your battle to fight.
Read Exodus 14:14.
I did not realise it was possible to forgive myself. When I was a victim of pain, disappointment and betrayal, I thought the only person I had to forgive was the one who hurt me… well, I weren’t totally wrong but for so long I had forgotten to forgive one other person; myself. I was also hurting me; I was telling myself I am not beautiful; I was starving myself of peace and happiness by constantly reminding myself that I am* broken, hurt and unlovable. I kept running back to the person, people and places causing me pain – I knew the damage I was causing myself but continued, and I refused help. I needed to forgive myself for dwelling in the place of darkness, and for so long. I needed to forgive myself for not seeing and valuing my worth which meant I allowed for constant hurt. I needed to forgive myself for not respecting myself enough to walk away from trouble. If God could wipe my sins and completely forget them, why was I holding onto the things which were destroying me and using it as an excuse to live in misery and negativity?
Read Colossians 2:14.
Forgive Those Who Have Hurt You
From reading the previous point, I knew about forgiving others but I did not totally forgive because I did not forget. It is one thing to say that you will no longer be angry about something that someone has done towards you, or that you will no longer hold their mistake or wrongdoing against them, but it takes a lot of courage and strength to say that you will completely let go and forget about that wrongdoing and agree to love that person unconditionally. I tried ignoring and avoiding those who hurt me after I had “forgiven” them, but this soon proved to be tedious and tiring. It was from the moment I decided to forgive, forget and love that I felt total freedom. I did not wait for an apology either; because I was so desperate to be set free, I had to take control over the situation and decide to show kindness despite how I felt towards the person/people and whether they said sorry or not. I always tell people to try and “care from a distance”, for example, praying for those who have hurt you, especially when it may seem more damaging to care when feeling like your kindness is being thrown back in your face.
Struggling to forgive or understand the importance of forgiveness? Take a moment to catch up on UNFXP’s 7-day daily plan on “Forgiveness” to help with this.
Forgiveness; Day 1/7
Celebrate Your Strengths and Recognise Your Purpose
I, for one, know this is easier said than done, especially when you’re already in the state of feeling worthless or as though you have nothing going on for yourself. It was hard but I had to be intentional with this; I took steps in recognising my strengths and what I was good at by writing them down and looking back at them at a later period to remind myself that, hey girl, you have been tough on yourself but look at what you have managed to achieve; look at how great you were at this; look at what you have overcome… I celebrated, and continue to celebrate these, by giving all the glory to God because it is Him who has carried me through every single uncertainty, struggle and pain. Trusting that God has a purpose for me has helped me understand that I am equipped with particular skills, talents and gifts which give me every reason to feel valuable and fit to serve and fulfil my destiny. At one point in life, I may have felt useless or incapable of achieving good for myself but my strengths are good enough… I am not competing to be better than anyone but the person I was yesterday and I am not living to please anyone but God.
Read Colossians 3:23
Have and Accept Options
Okay, this for me has been a difficult one to do but I am working on it… so let’s work on it together. I have had to accept that is it okay to not think so linear and limit myself to one thing. I have learnt that, because everything in this world is temperamental, it is too risky to stick to one thing and not consider anything else which is equally as good or beneficial. Relating to my previous point of having particular skills and gifts; I have strengths in different areas which I ought to explore and discover so it would be a waste to abandon the other great things I am good at. I know that my struggle(s) with wanting or accepting options is my passion for loyalty; worry of being perceived as unstable and unsure in life; fear of losing control or focus and striving for perfection rather than progress. But I am happy and ready to break out of rigorous ways of thinking because I understand and appreciate the importance of progress. How can one learn and grow if one is not willing to experience something different and outside of their comfort-zone? The invisible veil becomes a barrier to taking advantage of different options and a comforter for when you are less willing to “take risks” and step out of your zone. This concept can also be applied to your relationships and social circles; be willing to accept the option of loving again… Do not be closed to push everyone away just because you have been hurt by one particular person. Set yourself free from the burden of heartache and isolation by realising there is joy in trust and love, especially when it is not based on past experience or conditions.
Read 1 Corinthians 16:14
This post is for you. You who is broken. You who is trapped. You who is worried. You who is weak. You who is helpless… Set yourself free from self-condemnation and experience God’s goodness and mercy.
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