Throughout my struggles and trials, in my effort to grow and mature in my newfound faith, I became somewhat self oriented. I went to extremes, from being staunchly religious one year, to somewhat flamboyant in my style of worship the next. I was at times influenced by my surroundings; not that I was necessarily led by each type, only that I was searching and in that search, tested out various styles and processes.
I witnessed myself as growing each year, as was my practice to do so; only I was nowhere as mature and knowledgeable as I had convinced myself. My actions would too often expose the real me underneath; the pseudo I wanted everyone else to see. My heart remained lacking; dirty and void of love. Dirty and void of love and forgiveness. I had little understanding or patience for others and as I continued to read my Bible and attend church along with occasional Bible study, I quickly learned that my hearts condition was not conducive to the heart that beats in a child of God’s. I was a hypocrite. I had too often heard that word coupled with the church when speaking to others who had relinquished either their faith or simply their church attendance. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite; I couldn’t seem to help myself.
Once again I started to despise me. Why couldn’t I do this right? Why was I not able to turn myself around and be the person I wanted so desperately to be? Why didn’t I have the strength; the perseverence? Or was I just a lost cause? Was it too late for me? Oh, my heart and my head were so far away from living in love and forgiveness. I knew only too well how hard headed and hard hearted I had become over the years. I could still look back over time and remember when things had been different. But that was so many years ago now. So many years ago. Was it true that I could TRULY change both my heart and my mind if I had complete trust in the Lord?
Over time, as the answers came to these questions, I learned to be kind to myself. I learned that I was not able to do anything on my own. Yes, I had read this in the Scriptures, but I had not known how to walk this out in my life. I knew it was the Lord working in and through me; I can do nothing without him. He is the vine and I am the branch. I could quote the Scripture verses, but I learned that I could not live what I essentially did not truly understand to put into practice in my daily life. I had to learn to let go; to put my emotions as far away from me as I could, and trust that the Lord would provide for me. He would provide the awareness; He would provide the love, the understanding, the ability to forgive.
But the hard work I must do, was to take my emotions; remove them from my heart and my mind, and allow the Lord to replace and fill that space with His love and forgiveness.