Shame. Regret. Inadequacy is how I lived internally. I let my past mistakes define me. God has a way of pulling your deepest secrets to the light. He transforms your worst mistakes into His best glory.
On this particular day, I remember cleaning and listening to worship music. I felt a spirit wash over me. I slowly got down on my knees and asked God what this feeling was. With Jesus near, tears streamed down my closed eyes and ran onto my cheeks like water at baptism.
This was one of those divine intervention moments, I thought to myself. Jesus was calling me to take a hard look at my life.
Just then, God showed me who I really was.
However, I saw myself as a mistake-making 20 something version of my old self. Holding on to all the shame and guilt that went along with those mistakes. Up to that point, I let the past define me.
Can you relate? Have you been saddled with the weight of your past, unable to let it go?
Defining the Past
For nearly two decades, I let the past define me. I held it close like I was playing a card game, careful not to show anyone my cards. Building up walls so high, I closed myself off from who God was calling me to be.
My past left me with a hidden shame. It felt like I was wearing a mask that made it hard for me to see who I really was.
It was easy to get to the point where the past defines you. Yet, even harder to let it all go.
An identity crisis is not knowing who you are in Christ. Which was my problem at this time.
I realize now that the only cure for an identity crisis is spending time with the one who created you. Before I spent time with God, I thought he was judging me for not being obedient to God. I honestly thought I was not worthy of his love.
The truth is we are his creation. He continues to pursue.
In the book of Acts, we meet Saul headed to Damascus. His purpose was to capture his enemies (the disciples). Saul had an encounter with God.
The encounter shook up everything he knew about himself and the direction he was going.
When God appeared to Saul, every transgression melted away. He was transformed in God’s image.
Further, Saul’s name changed to Paul, and then he spent his life being an ambassador for Christ.
God used Saul (a murder) to proclaim His word.
I find it fascinating and encouraging that God used Saul in such a profound way.
God will continue to pursue you. God does not care about your past mistakes as much as you do.
Don’t Let Mistakes Define you
Think about your past mistakes. What are the horrible things that you think everyone will hate you for if you told them? What mistakes keep you up at night, keep looping in your head, causing you shame?
Those are the mistakes you need to confront with God by your side.
You need to acknowledge that you did them; without attributing any feeling to them.
Those mistakes don’t define you.
Think of acknowledging your mistakes as God’s way of starting your journey to healing your soul.
God knows you made mistakes. However, he doesn’t want you to bury yourself in the negative emotions that you feel.
Instead, forgive yourself.
He Forgives your Mistakes
The healing part of forgiving yourself or someone else starts when you take the first step in reaching out to God.
When you ask God to forgive, you become a new creation in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says I am Redeemed, therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.
He has already forgiven you and me. God’s job was to die for your sins, so you could find life in him (1 Peter 3:18.) The good news is that you do not have to hold yourself in bondage anymore.
Reuniting with Christ, who died on the cross, helps you trust him to wash away the mistakes you’ve made.
Essentially you are giving up the control you thought you had and submitting to God.
Your Defining Message
Once you let go of the strongholds the past has on you, you can walk in your truth. You now can work through the shame, hurt resentment, or whatever you attributed to the past.
When you finally realize your past mistakes don’t define you, they have no power over you. Then, you can stand in your truth and help others live their Godly purpose. Let your past mistakes be your message. Let your old stronghold be the connection you offer a friend who is suffering. Your new message is a light of encouragement for someone else. You can speak truth and love to your past, making sure it has no place in your future.
In conclusion, letting your past mistakes define you leads to an identity crisis. Remember, God sees you as His beloved daughter, not as your past mistakes. Let Jesus walk alongside you. When you do, it is easier to forgive past mistakes. Moreover, God can heal you for his glory. In doing this, you can deliver His message and glorify His kingdom.
Sara Chinakwe is a Christian writer who believes every woman has the power to live out God’s plan for their lives. She enjoys helping other women shed the negative lies they think about themselves in order to live out God’s truth. Sara resides in Sacramento California with her husband and two kids. You can subscribe and read more on her blog Livingafaithfullife.com