For the past two days, I’ve been pretty bogged down. Not in a depressed sort of mood, but times like right now, when the rest of the house is silent and all I’m doing is thinking about a lot, I’ve come to realize that I truly have not let go of some of the stupid decisions I’ve made in my life. I still beat myself up over them constantly. The past two days have been no exception. At one point last night when I was working, I literally became sick to my stomach. Guilt had never quite hit me like that before. I kept thinking about how I’ve ruined future experiences for myself.. How I’ve resisted God.. How I’ve run away as fast as I could.. How I’ve wasted SO much time.. It’s a lot for a person to carry around, y’know?
We’re all aware that God’s grace is enough to cover all of that, so please, no Sunday school answers needed. But after we’ve swiped the credit card of grace, we go on with our lives like nothing happened, but are we truly changed? I know a relationship with Christ isn’t about a feeling at all, but do we really have a heart-felt feeling of being forgiven? This has been my struggle ever since I started my walk with Christ; I never “feel” forgiven. I think I’ve finally figured out why..
The feeling of forgiveness isn’t meant to just come on its own. Hold on, stay with me. I know we don’t have to work for the grace of God, I know he gives it freely. However, I also believe that if you want that “feeling” of forgiveness, then you have to truly know the definition of repentance. Part of the definition of repent is “to turn,” as in, to turn in another direction. We can’t know forgiveness unless we turn from what we’re seeking forgiveness for. You can’t understand forgiveness until you learn to live in God’s grace. Forgiveness is far more than a feeling; it’s a release from being held captive by something that will consume and ruin your life. I’m starting to see that you can’t know forgiveness until you see the importance of living in God’s light and following his will. The importance can’t be seen unless you recognize that your life would literally be hell without his forgiveness and mercy. You’ve been trapped in Hell long enough; isn’t it time to walk away.. “to turn” away and walk the other direction and learn the depth of forgiveness?
I’ve started slipping back into some old habits again. I know the root of the issue, but my problem lies in the fact that I’m not sure how to fix it. Right now, I can do nothing about the true issue, but I CAN change how I deal with it.. It’s just very difficult right now, unfortunately. =/
A few mights ago, on July 23, it was an anniversary. The anniversary of my first re-baptism. (There’s actually been a third baptism in my life, but it’s more of a personal thing) My first year of CIY, I was re-baptized. I was baptized on Easter Sunday 2001, long before I understood the depth and importance of following Christ. I assumed that this just enabled me to take communion. Thus, I was re-baptized by a good friend at the time, Matt Shamp. I walked away with the assumption I knew what I was doing. I did, yes, but the understanding still wasn’t there, hence the third time. I can assure you the third time truly was the charm. Anyway. Back to the story. On July 23, you could say that was my re-committment to Christ. I’ve considered this the first of, hopefully, two weddings of my life. My 5 year anniversary with Christ. We’ve been “married” for 5 years. From the ups & downs, to me running away, to me ignoring him, to me coming full-circle and weeping at his feet for forgiveness. That’s what I did. What did he do? He waited patiently while I lived a sin-soaked life. He cried while I was crying because I was so numb to his love. He watched intently while I teetered on the edge of choosing our relationship against the world.. and furrowed his brow when I chose the world. He wept when I became so hardened to how to feel. He reached out to me when I was at the end of my robes begging for help, for something to change this. And finally, after May term, after nearly five long years of running and running fast, I was pushed over the edge and realized I’d missed out on five years of true love, true companionship, true relationship. It’s funny that some people consider the day they’re baptized their “spiritual birthday.” Indeed, it’s true.. birth into a new life.. but I like to think of it as something much more significant, something much deeper that truly displays Christ’s love for us.
The other night I did something a little out of character, but it was actually really good for me. I wrote a love note to my Savior. As I read back over it, I couldn’t help but notice how PERFECT of an example Christ is for today’s marriage. Obviously I already knew this, but it was one of those moments that it truly hits you as to how much men should be modeling themselves after Christ in order to be a godly husband. Granted, women, we need to model ourselves after Christ as well, but I was viewing this in the light of who I marry. I know I’ve been talking about marriage/relationships a lot lately and I feel as if it’s completely uncalled for almost, but I suppose it’s just been on my mind a lot lately, especially July 23. I was amazed at the close relation between what I’ve been looking for and what I’ve had the whole time! It also put sin in a whole new perspective. Every time I sin, I cheat against my Husband. Every time I choose the world over him, I choose promiscuity. Ouch. Dwell on that one for a while…
But there’s grace.. and repentance..
Lesson I’ve learned for the past week: Never stop learning, never stop growing, never stop searching the depths of Christ’ love for his bride, the church, and for his children.