I don’t know what it is. Getting older. Having children. Or something else just outside the reaches of my comprehension. But more and more these days I’m quickly reaching the end of my shiny façade and facing the desert of what I am not.
I have a sin-nature.
I know that you’re probably thinking, “get in line, Patsy McPityParty”, but let me expound. If I pause, I can almost see my sin nature. Like a grumpy old lady. Like Debbie Downer meets the Cat Lady from the Simpsons. She’s snarky with a raspy voice. Probably from decades of smoking…metaphorically speaking.
And since today’s episode is about forgiveness, I’ve given you that background so that when I use a phrase like “forgive yourself” you can see her exaggeratedly mimed violin-playing, and her voice saying, “Go sell your snake oil somewhere else, Dr Phil!”
I was minding my own business in church, right? I was in and out with the baby. I was only catching the highlights of the message and none of the more interesting nuances – half listening. There is an altar call regarding unforgiveness.
Me: “I’m cool on this.”
There is lingering and its not moving on very quickly. So I have a quick chat with HS (Holy Spirit) making myself available to whatever He may want to show me about unforgiveness. Because, in general, I’m a good girl and I try.
So here’s what happens: it starts quietly and gently with…why can’t I get over what that person did? I can’t even seem to hang out with them anymore. I can’t even be in a conversation about them without the conscious choice to hold back mean words.
But I’ve prayed about forgiving them. I’ve tried. And its not working. In other words, I’m so angry with them I can hardly be around them. Why?
In the lingering altar call people get up and share promptings from the Holy Spirit. I hear someone mention “taskmaster”. And I think about the taskmaster in my head that criticizes me at every turn. So I run down a list of authority figures in my life. Is it their voice? Nope. It’s a tormentor. Like a spirit. Like a religious/control spirit or something.
Then I realize that its not a religious/control spirit. At least not one outside of me. Its me. I’m my taskmaster. When I do something careless, I can’t let it go. I don’t like me. I’ve said about myself, “I can’t stand me sometimes.” It was in the form of a joke, but it doesn’t make it less true.
And maybe the first time I was stung by criticism it was from an authority figure or someone I respected. Maybe I heard it first from someone else. But no one is saying it to me now. No one is verbally abusive to me. Except me. Even if it had begun somewhere else, I had taken the reins now.
I was my cruel taskmaster.
So I got prayer. I joined a line of other people who were asking for prayer in this area and just dialogued with the Holy Spirit. In this case I didn’t have to do anything weird or tell all my stories. I just received prayer and forgave myself and gave me grace to be me. I felt warmth all over me and then I felt full of love.
I felt ok with my weaknesses. But mostly I was glad to realize that I now loved dearly those ones that I had struggled to even be positive toward.
Now I haven’t put a lot of scripture in here to support my experience. And while I’m still not into Christian Self-Help, I gotta tell you: freedom from bondage feels good.