So, as I've touched on before my life now is nothing of what it was in college. I've struggled with my past and the decisions I made while at college and in general. Random thoughts pop into my head that take me back to a particular scenario or day that make my stomach knot up and my heart yearn for forgiveness.. from God and from myself. I hate to paint the picture over and over that Central was a mistake or that my being at college 'ruined' me. Mainly, my point is that while I was attending Central, my life was in shambles and at in given second I made one bad decision after another to momentarily erase the pain.
As time has moved on, so have I. My life that was once in a million pieces has steadily put itself back together. I could point my finger at several situations that propelled my actions but in all reality I was an adult and had a mind of my own. It makes me sad to think that my actions in college haunt me. People who knew me at Central, in reality didn't really know me at all... I didn't know me. When I look back at the person I portayed myself to be, my face immediately makes a look of disgust, eww.
For the past couple years or so, I've been digging deep. I've been beating myself up day in and day out. I've relentlessly made it impossible to forgive myself and because of that I'm not allowing God to forgive me either. The truth is, God's grace and mercy have covered me from day one. God erased my slate, he cleared my name, he doesn't even remember what I've done. Why do I constantly dwell on the past? I've shared tidbits with my sister, Emily, on how I am ashamed. On how I wish I could have been a better student. On how I wished I wouldn't of attended that party, drank that much alcohol and dated that guy. We all have regret, we all have a past. She reminds me over and over that God has already heard my cry and knows my heart... and most importantly he has already forgiven me, so why can't I?
I believe the main reason I can't let go is because I'm embarrassed and want people to know who I am. I don't want to be an imposter, I don't want to put up a front. Here I am raw, and open. I'm a human and I've made mistakes... some worse than others. My past is a past for a reason, whatever that might be. There is a complete laundry list of reasons why my life was a mess in college... my parents divorce, my dad's addiction, my low self esteem and my faith being challenged... to name a few.
I in no way blame one situation more than the other. When you add that combination together and mix in me being and living on my own with people my age the result is tragic. It's amazing how God has gone about his business though. He has done it in such a profound way that my life is forever changed.As I lay in bed and read Bittersweet By Shauna Niequist my heart feels whole again. In a season where her life was chaotic and unsettling she gained wisdom and speaks on the importance of growth in hard times.
"I used to think that the ability to turn back time would be the greatest possible gift, so that I could undo all the things I wish I hadn't done. But grace is an even better gift, because it allows me to do more than just erase; it allows me to become more than I was when I did those things. It's forgiveness without forgetting, which is much sweeter than amnesia."
With this one paragraph, my life changed. I'll let you read this and re-read this, soak it in, and apply it to your life. We all have regret!
What a statement, amen.