In the last few weeks, I've been doing a lot of reading about transformation in the Christian journey. For those that may or may not know, I actually received a certification in transformational coaching in 2015. The concepts I learned during that course and what I am reading about are exactly the same. True transformation is a life long journey. In the Christian journey, transformation of become more like Jesus Christ takes on various activities that includes specific spiritual disciplines. One of the first key ideas that we learn about becoming a Christian is that we made the decision. We may have had some influences from our family, culture, etc. However, in the end, the decision is ours. Because of this we are responsible for our own spiritual formation. We can certainly gain encouragement and empowerment from a wonderful community of people. But it's our own choice to intentionally continue along the Christian journey.
This key of personal responsibility is also the key to transformation. The purpose of transformation is to change for the better. How many of us desires change for the better? Along with the readings I've been doing, the idea of forgiveness and letting go came up frequently. Many issues that we deal with often are rooted in anger against someone or something that we have yet to let go of and/or extend forgiveness. There's an exercise that can be done to help someone be aware of themselves, their emotions, past hurts, etc. while taking on responsibility for changing those emotions to be more positive (which can lead to forgiveness). Basically, you write out a statement like, "If my parents were never mean to me, I wouldn't have low self-esteem." You take the first portion out; the portion before the comma. Then you work with the second portion by creating sentences that involves actions you can take. For this example, you may write, "I wouldn't have low self-esteem if I began to wear my favorite color more." Then you write more sentences. Soon you'll recognize that you can start forgiving your parents and be in control of your own destiny.
Now, this was a little simple yet very possible for someone to struggle through.
But what happens when the person may say something like, "If God never let my mother die, I wouldn't be so angry." You know...let me make this personal because I've been there. My sentence was, "If God never let our first born daughter be stillborn, I wouldn't be so angry." How do you let go and forgive something God allowed? Especially when it cause so much emotional pain and the reminder that it wasn't easy getting to that point in the first place. Well...let's just say I took the first portion out and I sat with that second portion for a long time because as a Christian, I'm supposed to depend on God. But how can I depend on someone that I can't even forgive? Or trust? But that's when I started coming up with sentences like, "I wouldn't be so angry if I began to sincerely tell God how I feel." So many times we think God is looking for the perfect response after a storm. He's not! He's just looking for a relationship. I eventually came up with other sentences that included studying, meditating, and much more. In fact, I finally came up with enough to finally say I trust God again. I am able to tell God despite the fact I don't know what the end will be, I'll go through the processes of life in order obtain all that's been promised to me!
I like what the above image states. When we don't forgive, we're trying to hold on to a better past. That's impossible! God doesn't live in the past and neither should we. He's trying to bring us forward; that's why we press towards the mark (Phil. 3:14). Pressing is a pushing or forward motion. He's trying to renew us; that's why are a new creation in Him and the old things are passed way (2 Cor. 5:17). I will never forget the life that my daughter had while inside the womb. But I forgive God for allowing such an event to be so painful. It took a while for me to recognize my need to heal, let go of the pain and forgive. God wasn't being intentionally cruel because He wasn't intentionally cruel when His Son had to die on a cross after 30 something years. He was a part of His divine. Charlotte Evelina is a part of His divine plan too. And there's more to His plan that I want; that we need!