I needed to forgive God.
This was an important third step in my forgiveness journey.
It started with forgiving others. I worked hard on this. I read Desmond Tutu’s book on forgiveness. I consulted a psychologist’s online steps to forgiveness. I put into practice the welcoming exercise I learned from Richard Rohr. It was a project and one that took months and months of work.
When I had reached a certain level of freedom in this path of forgiveness I was convicted that I needed to forgive myself. This, of course, can be even harder than forgiving others. For me, Satan’s biggest strategy against me has been to cultivate thoughts that I am small, not worth much, grotesque, easily dismissed, worthy to be overlooked, and destined to blow it. I had hit a dark pit of shame and the only way out was to forgive myself. I thought I was cheating though because I thought I was letting myself off the hook for mistakes I had made. In reality, I was tolerant of mistakes of others but expecting perfection out of myself. I had to let go, forgive myself for not being perfect and use exercises such as fasting, sabbath, worship, and service to replace the false narratives I had about myself.
But then, on Monday, I heard an interview on a podcast where John Eldredge said that during this time of global trauma we needed to forgive God. Eldredge explained that perhaps we had built up bitterness and resentment of God because we felt that he hadn’t answered our prayers, taken away our disappointments, and changed our circumstances. I realized that I hadn’t forgiven God for the deep personal and professional loss I had experienced. I hadn’t forgiven him for not making something right that meant so much to me. After getting to a good place of forgiveness of others and realizing the necessity of forgiving myself I still had one more person to forgive – God. At that moment, I laid it out before God. I had to forgive God for all of the brokenness and anger and sadness that I thought God wanted and expected me to experience.
I wasn’t sweeping these feelings under the rug in denial and putting on a smile. What I was doing was acknowledging that my narrative about God had changed for the worse and it was affecting my relationship with Him. I still had a thousand questions and uncertainties but I was becoming imprisoned by my lack of forgiveness of God and my growth in Christ was becoming stale.
At 5:30 in the morning, I forgave God and we started over. It was incredibly freeing and has been a breakthrough spiritually for me. I had always known that God was with me but now I knew that God was for me and out for my good no matter my doubts and lack of understanding.
I don’t know what the next few months might hold but I will no longer be holding back expecting the other shoe to drop. I know that God has a plan and that I can trust him.