setting bird freeI was reading this morning on the subject of forgiveness and letting go of the bitterness and regrets of our past. Forgiveness truly is for our benefit, we are the ones that get the greatest advancement, healing, achievement and blessing from doing it.

We are much too busy to be bitter and we have more important things to do in our lives than to waste precious time holding on to the things we cannot change, there are no “do-overs” in real life! We have got to let go of the unrealistic expectations we have of other people. We have to give them a break and quit expecting them to fulfill our needs, even if we have convinced ourselves our expectations of them are for their benefit. God is more than enough for us; we do not need them to fulfill us. So what if they disappoint us, let us down and hurt us, maybe, just maybe we have placed too much emphasis on them. We may have given them too much control if they can devastate us and turn our world upside down. We need to get our focus and our eyes back on God, the One Who never fails. The people in our lives are merely human, they are imperfect, they make mistakes and they have their own life to live, they have their own different way of thinking, values, beliefs and motivations. Let them be and allow God to deal with them. He will and I remind you that His grace, love and mercy are more than enough ALWAYS!

We have to stop mulling over our regrets. That was then, this is now! Learn from our choices, putting our mistakes in a box of “done that and didn’t work” pile, take responsibility for our actions and move on. If it can be rectified, changed and made better, then we should do it! But if it can’t, then we need to forget it and go on!

We need to take the “high road”, letting go of the pettiness, the little things that so easily distract us and unnerve us and get us off track. Let us do the right thing whether anyone else does or not. Their actions have no bearing upon us whatsoever, they do not dictate how we react, and they are not in charge of us, they are not our boss. We and we alone are in control of ourselves!

We must not allow negative, high maintenance, energy-life-blood sucking parasites that are in disguise of people to smother us, eating away at our soul till there is nothing left but a carcass.  Whether they are family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, employers, or whomever, if they are stealing your life from you, get away! We may not be able to sever the ties completely, may be they are family, but we sure can set up healthy boundaries, draw lines in the sand and implement tough love practices and by so doing we remove ourselves from their clutches and influence. We can decide when and where to interact with them, when and how to help them if we do. We must forgive them, but we have to sometimes cut them out of our lives to make room for healing and maybe eventually establish a new healthy relationship or sometimes maybe no relationship. The choice is ours as to whether we allow them back in or not, but forgiveness is still done for our healing.

We must refuse to hold our injuries, hurts and pain hostage and close to our hearts any longer, licking our wounds and picking at the scabs as it tries to heal. We must reject the sadness, the darkness and the “poor little ole me, look how I have been hurt” persona and the wallowing in self-pity. The attention we have gotten from being the victim is not the “right, healthy” attention we need to grow. We are in the helm of our lives, we are in the driver seat; God is empowering and strengthening and enabling us to get up out of the pit of self-destruction and move on. Let yesterday’s go, we can’t go back there, we are here now and we want to get there, but we must  quit looking in the rear view mirror and begin looking with our full attention on the vast, beautiful, broad horizon of awesome opportunities ahead for us.

Let us make our journey lighter by throwing the old heavy baggage of unforgiveness, regrets, shame, and guilt and remorse aside and wrap ourselves in the arms of His righteousness, His love, His forgiveness, His strength, His courage, His plans and His will for our lives. Release the old and embrace the new now!

May I add that forgiveness is not a feeling or an emotion; it is a choice, a decision, an act of our will. We never “feel” like forgiving, we just do it anyway. We act out forgiveness by saying, “I forgive you” even if the other person doesn’t deserve it or ask for it or even know we have forgiven, forgiveness is not about them at all, it is all about us. We forgive because God has instructed us to and He knows the incredible healing benefits and miraculous blessings that are ours when we obey and eventually our emotions and feelings will catch up with our actions.

Our lives are meant to be infused with beauty, joy and peace. The ashes of our past have no bearing, no  affect upon us, so as we say so long in waving good bye to the chains and shackles of the imprisonment of our yesterday’s, we say hello opening our arms to embrace the bright, amazing opportunities that lay ahead through Him. We have already been set free, we just didn’t know it; we can finally breathe deeper, rest more, move about unshackled and really live again when we forgive.

May today be the turning point for you, may you decide to be set free as you forgive others and you also forgive yourself and get back into living your best life forward!

Written From My Heart,

Tonya F. Henshaw

January 23, 2014