Emma Rose Taylor
A new year brings new possibilities but also reminds us of how far we have come. For me, 2020 was a year of growth. Maybe it was the copious amount of time in quarantine, the ample time to reflect upon all of my previous life choices, or God’s perfect timing (I choose all of the above), but my faith in Christ flourished.
2020 provided us with many firsts: first global pandemic, the first time being encouraged to stay home, first time learning how to do school online, and for me: the first time having the opportunity for uninterrupted time with Christ. As I began thinking back about 2020, I stumbled upon my central turning point: finally forgiving and learning to believe in myself.
I have always struggled with my purpose, and the unique circumstances that 2020 gave us provided me with an opportunity to listen to what God was speaking to me. Through months of prayer, I began realizing that the biggest hindrance I had in furthering my relationship with Christ was my inability to forgive myself of my past mistakes.
God forgave me and continues to forgive me when I make mistakes but learning to forgive myself has never come easy. God revealed to me that it was time for me to let go of my burdens, shame, regrets and write a letter of forgiveness to myself. The following paragraphs contain that letter.
I think that forgiving myself was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The level of accountability that I put on myself is much larger than what I place on others. In my spiritual life, I frequently find myself trying to fit into a cookie-cutter mold. Striving for perfection is a battle that left me feeling discouraged and hopeless. There was only one perfect man who walked this Earth, and his name was Jesus.
Christ calls us to live like him, but he never said that we had to be him. See the difference? Once we surrender to the idea of being the perfect Christian and forgive ourselves, then we can begin to grow into who God is calling us to be.
God is using our faults and failures to lead us closer to him. I understand that my past choices do not define who I am as a child of God. Instead, Christ can use my failures to bring others closer to him. Like a fingerprint, your testimony is unique to you. Instead of dwelling on the shame that Satan desires you to feel about your past, learning to rest in Christ will lead you into Christ’s light. Surrendering to God took me forgiving myself through a letter, but what will it take you?
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (NRSVCE, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).