In Christ, I have made advancements in acquiring levels of peace from my daily devotionals and prayer, but I still find myself feeling surprisingly down, depressed, and even disappointed at times. I wonder what it will take to move forward and let myself live “happily ever after,” and be at peace at all times. I guess I am asking how can I be free from my past or hurts that bring me down? Getting to the place of rejoicing in the Lord at all times, in every circumstance, seems unrealistic and unobtainable. Is it? Or is it just me?
Seeking Grace at all times
Its sounds like you have made great strides in you faith walk. Rest in that for a moment and praise God for the growth and grace He has provided you to do so. The question you raise may be more common than you think. Before we explore the answer, I have a question for you. When you pray and seek the Lord, are you waiting on God’s response? Are you taking time to hear His answers or are you moving forward without it?
As you know, prayer opens up a conversation with our Lord. Like any conversation, it requires a two way line of communication, a series of questions, comments and responses. When God responds, consider it like good counsel for your soul. Believe God wants to answer your prayers and petitions. Trust in it, and be patient that God cares and will answer in His timing, His way. Remember, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV). If you are impatient or don’t expect an answer, it is easy to forge ahead and take back the authority you gave to Him in prayer. Moving forward without him will draw you down into a hole of futility where nothing gets truly resolved. It is there where we all tend to fall back into unresolved issues that plague us.
I will say this, no human is perfect so if that is what you seek, you may never find it. On the other hand, if growing in grace is your greatest hope, know that you are pleasing God when you praise Him, seek His guidance, trust and wait for His leading. If you fall, recognize it, pray it out, and find your way to get back up, forgive yourself and press forward. Its about taking steps toward growth and healing. We are all a spiritual work in progress. We gain wisdom and peace as we actively work out our salvation.
In Argentina, there was a river that ran through our backyard when we lived there for a time, much like the photo at the top of this post. One summer, our boys attempted to dam up the river by placing big rocks, even boulders across it. Just when they were making progress and growing exhausted from their plan, the water crested and pushed all the top boulders off their dam line. My eldest scrambled to push one boulder back up on top, but failed and, in the process, nearly lost his finger nail. That was the end of their mission. Everything changed when we had to go to the emergency room. Luckily, his hands were so cold from the frigid water, and his nail was still hanging by a thread, that the doctor was able to successfully place it back his nail bed and it healed over time.
Falling into despair happens, but staying there and holding onto pain and regret from your past, is like placing rocks, even boulders, in a smooth flowing river bed. The water continues to flow, but now, with your efforts to block it, the water breaks upon the rocks you place in it path, and it causes disruption and a change in its intended direction. It may even find its way around you, avoiding you completely. Regardless of how many rocks you place, it can never stop the river from pressing forward, continuing on its natural course and the harder you try, the greater the risk that it might take you under. So, be careful and tread lightly. Now imagine that the water is God’s grace that wants to flow to you. If that were true, would you continue to block its flow?
Obviously, I speak from experience in more ways than one. On a certain level, I recognize how futile it is to hold onto the weight of a sorry past that wants to consume me. For a long time, I allowed guilt, regret and hurt inflicted upon me to keep me down, discouraged and depressed. It wasn’t until I prayed to God in praise, placed my trust in Him for release and guidance, that I was able to break free and live on in a far healthier way. The more I released to His care the more freedom I experienced in His grace. Now that I know what it feels like in this state of gratitude, I work hard to not slip back into a state of regret or sadness, by praising the Lord in every circumstance.
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV
God’s grace is upon us, ready to be received. When we rejoice in Him, it flows down like a glistening stream. Bathe yourself in praise to the Lord and watch how it covers, how it cleanses and transforms your attitude, emotional and spiritual. It causes the disappointment to roll away and replaces it with the splendor of God’s presence, where joy, peace and love reside.
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.Psalms 37:4 NKJV
I heard Charles Stanley once say, “we are all self-oriented people,” so don’t be so hard on yourself when you revert back into a state of sadness, especially when things aren’t going your way. Recognize it, but take action to release it back to God.
Perhaps you’ve been hurt or have regrets, or someone has hurt you in a way you can’t break free in forgiveness. I don’t know the extend of your situation, neither how much pain you have experienced, nor when it occurred. But, from personal experience, I have come to understand that disappointment is like grief, in that it takes time to process and time to heal. It takes work. To be free of it you must take action to chip away at it. If you don’t, if you linger in that head space for too long, it becomes like one of those rocks placed in the river. You block the flow and the very intention of God’s plan for your life. Make the decision to break free by taking action and praising Him in a sincerity that is undeniable. Through praise you begin to focus on who God is, not where you are stuck. Seek Him. Recognize he is doing something to effect your life in a great and healing way. In fact, God is always at work, doing something He longs to share with you.
If it brings comfort to you, know that we all struggle with staying the true course. Remember, past sorrows and disappointments are what, most likely, prompted you to seek God in the first place, which is a good thing. However, if you fall back in regret, self-loathing or a pity party, it can hold you in mental chains, like handcuffs you’ve placed on you own wrists behind your back. How can you reach forward that way? You can’t. You must choose to let go and break those chains. With God’s help, through praising Him, recognizing the God of all Creation, trusting Him and asking Him for help, you can face any consequences that may come by trusting and reaching up and forward for the life intended for you. Reach out to the Lord and declare He is the one who created you, loves you beyond all measure, and carries you through. Thank Him for that. In Him, where grace flows, if you let it, you can stop trying to take control of something that was never designed to be under your control, nor limited by your control. Grace is something designed to be guided by God and solely received through faith and trust.
The Lord knows everything – there is nothing hidden from Him. He can make a new way especially if you welcome Him into every area of your life. Shift your perspective to acknowledge the one who gives purpose to your life – to your Savior who pad it all. In Him, you will have an abundant life worth celebrating.
It can be hard to let go, but not letting go of pain and unforgiveness is a form of rebellion, believe it or not, as is striving to be perfect. For when you strive for perfection you are actually working toward trying to no longer need the Lord. The only striving that is worthy is the striving to rely on the Lord, walk with Him more consistently and allowing yourself to grow in the knowledge of our miraculous Lord and Savior.
There is a purpose for you and your life – every moment of it!
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.Jams 1: 4-6, NIV
It takes time to let things go. The important thing is to recognize that you need to let go of your sadness in order to live to your best ability. Please recognize that no one is condemning you because you haven’t let go yet, and neither should you condemn yourself. That would be pointless and not what God wants for you. In fact, He paid it all so that you wouldn’t be condemned! So instead, be gentle with yourself and be honest, as well, as you work to peel away levels of sadness, disappointment, and hurts. If you do, I can promise that the liberation and joy that comes with each step forward will encourage you to continue the process until you are finally and completely free in Christ.
I hope you find my thoughts helpful and encouraging to you. I pray that God will continue to lead you into a deeper understanding of His love and grace for you and for your release of any heartache that holds you back. Keep seeking and striving for time with Him each day and let me know how you are growing in grace. May the peace of God be yours always! In Him, I pray, AMEN
How are you doing? How am I doing? I would love some honest feedback. More importantly, confidential prayer requests or questions can be submitted to my attention only at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!