Protecting Your Soul Instead Of Your Mistake
When my kids head back to school in addition to the clothes, shoes and athletic garb, they are always in desperate need of a new backpack. Over the years we've haven't always picked well in this department. Sometimes we've picked a backpack on simply what's pretty or in style but doesn't always meet all of our needs. Sometimes we trade quality for curb appeal. We know what would be best, but we get sidetracked by a logo or flashy design despite its limitations. Regardless, a new backpack represents a fresh start. It starts out light and allows us to move without restriction or worry from what's inside of it. There are no book reports, study guides or papers riddled with mistakes weighing it down because its new and welcomes a new beginning. From September until June I watch their backpacks transform from these beautiful accessories that supports their school needs, into a worn-out, overstuffed, overworked tattered bag that needs to be released from their grip and let go and they are more than happy to do it!
Sometimes I too, have been known to carry around a backpack similar to the worn-out ones my kids retire in June. Except while their backpacks are filled with essential items that help them throughout the year, mine has carried a different load. My backpack has been filled with a collection of my mistakes and I let my guilt and shame choose the pattern that came from those mistakes.
When you carry a bag around for so long and you never remove the unnecessary junk in it, it begins to weigh you down, mentally and physically. Unlike my children who have no trouble dumping everything out at the end of a school year and starting over with a clean slate, I have struggled to let go of past mistakes and instead have allowed them to build up until I can't carry it any longer.
It is my experience that women, in general, may struggle with this more than their male counterparts. Women are hard on themselves, we are caretakers and homemakers, in addition to all the other hats we wear. We take pride in what we do and we want to do it well. We are professionals, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, supporters, and friends. The list of things that we feel responsible for is endless and because of that, the expectations for what we do and who we are can be difficult to succeed at every time. The reality is it's normal to make mistakes and unfortunately some of those mistakes can affect others. Yet, rather than acknowledge our mistake, ask God for forgiveness, and take it out of our bag, we keep it there. We let it fester and trickle over in other areas of our life. We give it the power to mess with our confidence and question if we are good enough and even capable to compete in whatever space that mistake took place in. We add it to our bag when we should have released it and let it go.
Once we ask for forgiveness it's done, God has forgiven and forgotten it and so should we. We still may need to address it, and we might not be able to fix it entirely but we can finish it by not letting it hold us down any longer. We need to remove the mistakes from our bag, by addressing the mistake head on, instead of adding it into a collection of future ones. The truth is we will continue to make mistakes because we are human. However, we are given an opportunity to not repeat them and use them to grow instead of letting them tear us apart. God doesn't expect you to be perfect, he expects you to be perfectly imperfect and that's enough for Him so let it be enough for you.
It took me a long time to release past mistakes and let them go but when I did I was able to embrace my fresh start. The reality is we can't change the past, but we can embrace and be grateful for a second chance in the future. God has already covered our sin so there is no reason to keep exposing it. Instead, let's practice protecting our soul instead of our mistake.