I blew it recently. Big time. I started with the best of intentions. I tried to set the stage for success for myself and the other person involved … and yet I ended up blowing it badly. Saying things I regretted. Hurting the other person involved and feeling guilty the rest of the day. I even tried to salvage the connection with an apology and praying together … but that didn’t happen. Guilt engulfed me all day.
I called my prayer partner and asked her to pray with me for the situation. God confirmed that He had the situation under control and I had temporary peace … temporary because I didn’t know my role to help restore the relationship and as my prayer partner gently pointed out, was borrowing trouble years ahead due to one horrible conversation.
It was a work day so I needed to get busy. With my focus on work, I was distracted for a few hours, then started working on something that didn’t take complete concentration and the enemy hit me hard … feelings of hopelessness, depression, and self-loathing washed over me. Wave after wave and the weight crashed down again.
I sent an S.O.S. to my prayer partner who, this time, took my plea to God herself and reminded me yet again my Father was in charge and He had this. I told God I trusted Him, and concentrated on God’s faithfulness instead of my failures.
My husband stepped up and took over that evening. He supported, encouraged, and got to the heart of the issue … and restoration began.
The next day I was talking to God and telling Him how I still felt residual guilt feelings from the day before. I reminded myself I had asked for forgiveness immediately after the incident and I know He forgives when we’re sincere because His word promises that.
Then I realized if God had already forgiven me (and He had), then who was I not to forgive myself too? I’m not better than God. If He says I’m forgiven … I’m forgiven. Remorse and conviction are different from condemnation and guilt. Instead of “hating myself,” I could look at the mistakes I made the day before, bring them to Him, and ask Him how I can do better next time.
One area He highlighted for me was I need to process statements before answering … so if I’m in the middle of a conversation and I start to feel defensive or stressed, I need to step back and ask the person if I can respond later, after having had time to think through what was said. When I do that, I gain a perspective I simply don’t have in the heat in the moment.
Today I’m working guilt free. I have peace knowing God is giving me the tools I need to succeed in future conversations and resting in the knowledge I’m completely forgiven and loved by my Father. I’m also motivated to keep working at the relationship I blew yesterday. Hopefully I have enough of a connection with that person that love will cover over the whole mess and we can pick up where we left off, fully forgiven by the other.
© Cheri Swalwell 2020