I don't normally ever do the whole New Year's Resolution thing. I'm not sure why. But this year I really wanted to make a solid goal for myself. I do better when I have something clear to work towards.
So this year my New Year's Resolution is to be a more forgiving woman.
Now, okay. I've never been much of a grudge holder. I let things go fairly easily because I really, really don't like when there is tension. I don't like being angry, and I don't like someone else being angry with me. So that's that.
But when it comes to honestly forgiving...I'm not so skilled. Do you remember when I wrote about the importance of family after I read that book Father Fiction by Donald Miller? Well in that same book, there is a chapter called Pardon where Miller talks about forgiving. He writes about how he learned that "when you forgive, you bear the burden somebody has given you without holding them accountable."
And there you have it. That one line has altered my heart in so many ways that I can't even begin to tell you about. I reread this chapter when I decided that forgiveness would be my New Year's Resolution and when I did, it all hit home again.
Like all of us, I have been disappointed by someone who I thought could never disappoint me. I, like all of us, have insecurities and scars from this disappointment that I have dealt with and carried for a long, long time. But I can tell you now with a true heart that I don't hold them accountable anymore. I can tell you that I am honestly freed from the hold that this hurt had on me. And I can tell you that I am a stronger woman because of it.
Because I have let go of the source of my scars, I can hardly even see them anymore. Those scars are fading. Moving forward has been shedding the baggage that I have been carrying. I am no victim and I am no longer asking God, "Why me?"
Now, granted, just because you have genuinely forgiven that person, doesn't mean the hurt and burden evaporate right then. That isn't true. You're just dealing with them now without blaming that person. But I promise you that they become easier to deal with. The insecurities and the scars...they do start to go away. Because your heart is freed and open again inviting others in to love you and help heal you and carry some of that baggage for you.
The practice of forgiveness will make you live longer and happier, I swear. It is a simple fact that happiness is your own decision. With that being said, we can do away with that looming cloud that is leaving us all in the dark of the shadows.
Don't get me wrong. It's not like I just decided to forgive and let go as soon as 2011 came around. It's been a long journey since July when I first read Father Fiction. But I am here now. And because it has felt so amazingly sweet, my New Year's goal is to stay in practice.
Because I want to let the bad things go easier so I can love harder.
So if any of you are struggling with what I've been struggling with, I challenge you to try and forgive, as well. Because to have it take over your life is just inviting a toxic into your way of living. You're so much better off without it, I promise you. You deserve to be freed. You're too precious to hold that pain so close.
So to forgiveness! Cheers!