Sunday, October 23, 2011

An Opportunity to Grow

"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word." - Psalm 119:67 (NIV)

I don't like difficulties or setbacks. I hate to make mistakes. Failure is not an option for me. Yet I know I'm an imperfect human and a sinner. I can forgive others pretty much anything, but I tend to beat myself up when I screw up. However, I know this one thing - every difficulty I encounter, every mistake I make, is an opportunity to learn something.

I recently posted the following on Facebook: "When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you.". The choice is ours. I can honestly say that I don't run from my mistakes. I own up to them; I take responsibility for them. But, many times, I play them over and over and over in my head afterwards - what I could have/should have done or said or thought differently. I ask myself, "Why did you do/say that? What were you thinking?!" Then, believe me, I do my best to make sure I NEVER do or say that thing again! Yet, at no time have I ever said to myself, "It was a mistake, forgive yourself." And now I have to ask myself, "Why haven't I?".

Mark 11:25 (NIV)  Jesus tells me this, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Against ANYONE! Including myself!! I have to really think on this one. Maybe that's why I lose weight only to gain it back...I have to forgive myself! Maybe that's why I get irritated and angry with other people when I see things in them that I don't like in me...I have to forgive myself! If I'm not forgiving myself, I'm not obeying God's Word and if I'm not obeying God's Word, then I'm sinning, and if I'm sinning I'm not forgiving myself.....vicious cycle!!

It's my choice: do I forgive myself and look at my mistakes and difficulties as opportunities to grow or do I continue the vicious cycle? I'd say the choice is obvious, isn't it? What about you? Do you look at life's difficulties as opportunities to grow and learn? Jesus forgives us of our sins whenever we ask Him to. We should do no less for ourselves.

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." - Lewis B. Smedes

Dear Lord, I know I'm imperfect and I make mistakes on a daily basis. I am so grateful for Your unconditional love and forgiveness of my sins. Teach me how to forgive myself. Let me use each mistake and setback as an opportunity to learn and grow in You. May I grow each day in Your wisdom, and in faith and love. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

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