3 Things Forgiveness is NOT

forgiveness.png

Forgiveness has always come naturally for me — I WISH! The truth is, I have an unhealthy ability to hold on to grudges for a long, long time.

Not that I haven't been legitimately hurt, I have. I was abandoned by my parents, betrayed on the mission field, and excluded by church people. I've been robbed, insulted, gossiped about and lied to.

One of the hindrances to forgiveness for me has been the misconception of what it means to forgive. Understanding what forgiveness is NOT has allowed me to overcome — or at least continue the process.

1. Forgiveness is NOT excusing the offense.

"That's just the way he is.", "They meant well." Blah blah blah. Jesus didn't die on the cross for those who "meant well". He died for sinners. The hurt I have suffered has been because of sin on the part of the other person. Call it what it is. Brushing it under the carpet is not forgiveness.

Problem is, I am also that sinner who has hurt others. And Christ has so graciously and abundantly forgiven me of all my wrongdoing — not just against others, but against Him. Soaking in the forgiveness I have received is the key to letting go of grudges.

2. Forgiveness is NOT becoming vulnerable to more hurt.

Logic keeps us from forgiving because it says, "If you forgive him, he will hurt you again." But, what about all the hurt unforgiveness is doing to our soul?

Forgiveness doesn't mean we must trust the untrustworthy or become vulnerable to someone who will take advantage of our weakness. We can still manage relationships wisely AND forgive at the same time.

It's not about trusting our own walls, it's about trusting God to protect us. He is ready to deliver us.

3. Forgiveness is NOT a one-time decision

"I'm still angry. I guess I didn't forgive her after all."

Forgiveness is a process. If "that person" walks into the room and we want to ignore her, that's a red flag. The red flag tells us to return to the merciful feet of Jesus to ask for more help in forgiving her.

We can approach Christ boldly because he doesn't blame us for repeatedly asking for help in forgiving. Besides, sometimes we have to forgive the same person a bazillion times. 

"I forgave, so I must not talk about it."

Talking about an offense is probably a bad idea UNLESS you are talking to Jesus or a Christian therapist. A therapist can help you see things from a different perspective and can keep it confidential.

Praying about the offense, even if it happened years ago, is the first step toward healing. Cry out to Jesus. He came to bind up the broken-hearted.

Forgiveness is for me. It’s for you. It unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and allows us to reach our potential.
— Maria Morris

 

 

 

 

 

4 Ways to Deal with Rejection

A few months ago, I decided the seasonal, unstable, irregular income part of being an entrepreneur was just too difficult and that I needed to get a "real" job.

I job hunted all summer long. I interviewed for graphic design positions, nanny positions, office positions etc. I sent resumes and portfolios and cover letters. All. Summer. Long.

15 bazillion (more or less, I'm not good with math) rejections later, I'm still a self-employed artist & photographer. The realization that I am not an easy hire was a tough pill to swallow. Am I too old? Did I stay home with my kids too many years? Did I say the wrong things during the interview?

    After a bag of Doritos and a Netflix binge, I decided to deal with this hopeless feeling of rejection I had. If you are going through the rejection of a job or promotion, rejection from a long-time friend, or perhaps rejection at your church - I think what I learned will help you too.

    1. Lift Up Your Eyes

    When we are constantly thinking about a discouraging situation or relationship, our perspective is off. During a beautiful sunrise, would I photograph my feet? (well, some people on Instagram might) No! I would lift my perspective and focus on what's up above.

    "I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth." - Psalm 121

    2. Change Your Mind

    "I'm a dinosaur.", "People don't like me.", "What if I had made different choices?" Thoughts like those are like unruly children in Target who need to be buckled in the shopping cart. The Bible tells us to "take into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5)

    I often journal correct thinking to replace my unruly thoughts. It looks something like this:

    3. Open Your Mouth

    When you feel rejected, don't talk to (or about) the person you feel is rejecting you — talk to yourself! Saying words of affirmation out loud can help snap your brain out of the negativity cycle. It also takes faith to say affirming words like you mean it. Take a walk or a drive alone and say out loud:

    • "Christ loves and accepts me."
    • "I have The Lord's favor wherever I go."
    • "God is working."
    • "I have a very bright future."

    4. Shake It Off

    People have opinions based on their experience and limited understanding of you. Don't let their opinions define you. Don't be angry at them for having opinions or for undervaluing you. Like-minded, positive people will be attracted to you as you become who God made you to be.

    Taylor Swift said it a lot like the Apostle Paul — "Shake it off" or "Shake off the dust" of those who reject you. Don't take their negativity with you. 

    A closed door is usually The Lord guiding and protecting you from getting into situations or relationships that will turn out badly.