Do you battle with perfectionism and/or depression? Both are very difficult and often lead to moments of despair. As Christians, we know that we need to depend on God and focus on God's Word. However, knowing something and actively believing and following it are completely different. As the bible states in Mark 9:23-24, “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” I pray often for God to help my unbelief and to strengthen my faith. Sometimes this can be very difficult as past failures/sins are brought up or the foolishness is replayed continuously in our minds. This leads to dwelling on past sins and failures and constantly seeking God's forgiveness by repenting over and over again. We know He loves us and died for us to be set free, but the guilt and shame of the failures overtake the knowledge of God and God's love. How can we overcome this vicious cycle? How can we let go and accept God's love?
Recently, I have been reminded of God's love and that I am not called to be perfect. I am not called to be sinless. I am an imperfect human living in a sinful world, born with a sinful nature, but set free from the bonds of sin because Jesus Christ died for ALL of my sins and failures. I do not need to prove anything or try to be perfect to gain God's favor, He knows my weaknesses and He knows I am only human. My call in life is to live obediently to God, to accept God's gift of love, to tell others of Jesus's life, death, and resurrection, and to depend on God at all times, knowing and having faith that God keeps His promises. My focus should shift from myself, my sins, my failures, to God's love, God's character, God my Redeemer. The book I have started reading recently titled "God Loves You, He Always Has - He Always Will" by Dr. David Jeremiah is teaching me these valuable lessons and reminding me daily that God Loves Me. We will never understand or fully know God's love or His ways but it is important to search for those truths and learn more about God every day! When I shift my focus from myself (and all of my failures) and turn to God, that is when true freedom and forgiveness is. He has already forgiven me when I repent, but to let go and trust God, to forgive myself and lean on His promises, that is when I feel relief and the burden lifted off my shoulders and heart.
In the book I mentioned above, these words pierced my heart, I felt it had my name all over it. "In other words, there is incredible hope for those who are disappointed in themselves. God's love for you doesn't depend upon your perfection or achievement. It's not that He looks away or isn't concerned when you stumble. He sees it all, and He continues to love you with a love that is as eternal as eternity." - Dr. David Jeremiah. We go through struggles in life to grow and help us become stronger. We learn from our mistakes, failures, and our sins, and repent, truly, wholeheartedly, sincerely asking for forgiveness and completely turning away from that sin. Then we accept God's forgiveness, we forgive ourselves, we let it go just as God has completely cleared us with Jesus' blood. "Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”" (Hebrews 10:17-25, NIV).
God loves you, He knows all about you, He knew you and all you would do before you were even conceived. God Loves You! Ponder His love today and let go, forgive yourself, focus on Jesus Christ. You have been set free, you have been redeemed, you are loved by the Creator, God Most High. Live today knowing that fact and remind yourself when in doubt. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9, NIV). "“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV).