While the losses that I have faced in my life have not been caused by the fault of a person, I have still had my own struggles with forgiveness. Many of my own life decisions have required me to forgive those that I did not want to forgive, people who didn’t ask for forgiveness nor have some of them deserved it in my flawed, human opinion. Yet, I couldn’t live with who I was becoming each time I tried to withhold forgiveness.
For years I’ve been telling young girls/young women that love is a choice, not a feeling. Many years of my life as a young girl and a young woman, I was looking for a love that made me feel like I was soaring about the clouds. Along the way, after much heartbreak and sorrow, I learned that love was not at all about how you felt when you were with someone, but in fact love was an every day choice you make…in good times and in bad.
Love isn’t the only choice you make in life that is not based on how you feel. It isn’t even the hardest choice to make when you don’t feel like it. Forgiveness is.
Forgiveness is a choice. Just like you must choose to love someone, you must choose to forgive. Both when it comes easy and when it is so desperately hard.
Over the years I’ve learned what withholding forgiveness can do to you. Bitterness makes a mess of your mind, heart, life and soul when you choose not to forgive. It wrecks any relationship you have with your loved ones and most importantly, it pulls you away from your walk with the Lord. God has forgiven us so much, how can we choose not to forgive?
How I’m Learning to Grieve with Hope This Week
My grief journey came to a stand still for a quite awhile this summer. Life got crazy, the family business got busy…but honestly, as I keep turning the pages through this book, I see myself drawing closer and closer to the end. Somehow that doesn’t seem like a place I want to be just yet.
While I know that just because I finish this book study and writing my way through the process that I won’t magically have finished grieving the loss of my best friend, I’m just not ready to let go. When I think about finishing this book, I feel like it will be the shutting of a door, the turning of a page that I can’t get back to, a choice to leave behind a dear, dear part of my life that I didn’t want to lose.
Rather than pressing forward and allowing God to continue working on my heart and teaching me how to continue to grieve with hope, I’ve buried my emotions and thoughts this summer without even realizing it and am finding myself overwhelmed by them this week.
I could be upset with myself for not pressing forward when I knew this was a journey God called me to complete this year, instead I’m choosing to forgive myself. This is not a choice I am very good at making. I tend to be pretty hard on myself, especially when it is a mistake I’ve made before.
Yet, forgiveness isn’t just something I need to give away, it is something I have to accept for myself.
So, here I am, picking up where I left off by choosing to forgive myself for standing still when God desires me to always be growing. Forgiving yourself is not any easier than forgiving another, in the midst of grief it is even harder. Still, it is a choice just like love. When we choose to forgive we allow ourselves to have more energy and a greater ability to choose to love.
Forgiveness is a choice that will allow us to blossom and grow.
I’ve known for most of my life that I haven’t ever handled grief properly. That is why I began this journey towards learning to grieve with hope with my besties. We’re in the midst of our book study through Grieving with Hope, by Samuel J. Hodges.
Every week we’ll each be sharing our thoughts on the same chapter. It is our hope and prayer that as we learn to grieve holding tightly to the hope we have in Jesus Christ that others will be encouraged and strengthened that are on their own grief journey.