You know that feeling when you are standing in a smelly room and you are basically holding your breath for fear of inhaling whatever it is. That awful choking feeling that overwhelms you as you wait to escape. Now step outside. Fresh air. Imagine that first deep breath, the clean, fresh air filling your lungs in relief. You exhale knowing that the next breath will come naturally. That is God's love. That is his forgiveness.
But how do you get to step outside into the forgiveness? Well, that's something I've been on a journey to discover.
I knew I was forgiven, it's written all over scriptures and I’ve heard lessons on it for as long as I can remember––but I was having a hard time really grasping it and accepting it to be true. During this time I felt alone and not sure where to turn next. It’s hard to live for Christ when you're trapped by your mistakes.
What I learned along the way from a good friend of mine is that feeling forgiveness isn't necessarily a once and done thing. It’s a process of intentional acceptance. There are times that I feel free and new but then the old guilt creeps back in. It is a vicious cycle of acceptance and denial. Some days I have to be reminded over and over again through scripture that I am forgiven. Verses such as Psalm 103:12 play through my head, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
When I simply put myself aside and accept God’s word to be true, I find peace. I choose to trust in his love, his forgiveness and his promises. It’s in those moments that I choose not to let the past take over my future. If I truly accept those things, then my life is going to show it. It’s easy to go through the motions. It’s more difficult to live intentionally. That’s where I am, trying to make intentional decisions that guide me to the plan he created me for.
We were created for a purpose. He loves you and wants to use you for his glory; you just have to let him. It’s not easy, but when you let yourself accept his love and forgiveness, you allow his peace to wash over you like a breath of fresh air. Go ahead, take a breath.