David Ruggles once said, “A man is sometimes lost in the dust of his own raising.” Sometimes we create the drama we are in. Sometimes we are the sole cause of our own mental agony and duress. Sometimes we need to let go of some things and forgive ourselves so that we can move on and live the good life.
When I was in college I kept quite a few journals. I wrote about EVERYTHING I was dealing with at the time. Some of the thoughts that I thought were plain twisted. Some of the people I hung with should NOT have been in my inner circle. Some of the things I did were the antithesis of the things Christians are called to do. I made excuses for everyone and everything. I was a hypocrite—I loved God but I flirted with the ways of the world.
Ever so often I would look back at those journals to remind myself of all I had been through. I tried to convince myself that revisiting what was in the journals would allow me to relate to other young ladies who are going though similar things. I reasoned that the journals would help me to see how much I had grown, but the opposite thing happened whenever I opened them up. Instead of focusing on growth, I would feel guilt. I would beat myself up for making such poor choices. I would cry and feel as emotionally distraught as I had all those years ago. I would take myself right back to those times and I would stay stuck there for a while as I worried about my daughters and prayed to God that they will be wiser than I was.
Year after year the thought of those journals haunted me. I kept them bed-side for reasons that don’t make an ounce of sense. It finally occurred to me that I had to get rid of them. I had to free myself of my past. My life as the prodigal daughter is over. The most important and meaningful part of my journey is occurring right now. 10 years later the journals have finally been shredded. I have forgiven myself. I have released myself of the guilt, the worry, the embarrassment, and the shame. A huge weight was IMMEDIATELY lifted. There’s no need to look for me in the past. I’m no longer that person and you won’t find me there. I am free!
Steven Biko said it well—“The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” I refuse to allow my past to replay itself in my mind and hold my present captive. It doesn’t matter that I asked for my inheritance, blew it, and ate with swine. What matters is that I made my way back to my Father and that He was there all along, waiting with open arms.