And because I love her, I'll withhold all Canadian jokes. You're welcome, Julie.
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Lately I’ve been having long phone calls with my sister—real, deep conversations where time slips by. Perhaps that's normal for some sisters, but this is just a reflection of how far I've come in my journey.
My sister and I have always loved one another but were worlds apart in our behavior. I lived a fast lifestyle and—to put it simply—she didn’t. I always wanted a closer relationship but had no idea how to do the work.
I had the opportunity during our conversation to talk about something that wasn't easy for me: I’ve realized that it's uncomfortable for me to know that people had been praying for me and talking about my addiction before I sought help.
I know how illogical this is. I appreciate the love and caring that was the motivation for these conversations and prayers. I speak openly about how God and his peeps were working on my program before I was. But still there's this feeling of shame. That deep, dark sinking feeling that something bad is about to happen. It's a lesser version of the shame that I felt during the days of my drinking career, but it's still there.
Through speaking with my sister, I realized I had work to do. She was awesome about it, by the way.
I will now be looking at this character defect, one that is an issue of privacy but skewed. A normal person would want privacy but be open to help from others. I was not. I honestly thought it disloyal if anyone who was close to me shared my business. There are still remnants of these feelings within me.
I refuse to live my life with shame for my past actions, and—as my sister pointed out to me—God has forgiven me, but perhaps I have not.
Hmm. That's deep and worthy of consideration and investigation.
Guess what? I couldn't find any scripture which quotes "self-forgiveness.” There are plenty dealing with forgiveness in a relationship sense between two parties, but none on the singular level. Interesting.
Maybe self-forgiveness isn't what I'm really having an issue with?
So I am beginning in Romans 3:21-26, I’ll wait while you read it.
What this says to me is that through Jesus I have been granted righteousness! His purity, his perfection, is mine. When I give up my need for perfection and truly give my life to Him, my need for self-reliance shall disappear. I cannot achieve righteousness any other way. Jesus already paid the price for me. Now I live for Him alone.
My freedom from guilt and shame is not now, nor ever will be, dependent upon my forgiving myself. My freedom is dependent upon my knowledge of and belief in God's deep, deep forgiveness of all my sins.
So now how do I get there? To this place of understanding?
By surrendering to God's grace, which to me means prayer, confession, awareness and listening to God.
By taking action when awareness strikes, I will continue on this journey with God trusting in Him alone to guide me in His purpose for my life.
© Sober Julie, 2011