FREEDOM IN FORGIVENESS

Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

Ever been burnt, betrayed by someone you love and trusted? I’m sure these are experiences many, if not all of us can relate to.  


During a recent trip away, I reflected on a conversation I had with my sister about someone I (was going to say used to love, but I still do) love.  In this moment I realised how conversations or thoughts about the person does not trigger any negative emotions.  There was no sign of hurt, bitterness or anger, I felt neutral, even happy at what I had heard.  It dawned on me that I had forgiven them. 

A few weeks prior I attended a Christian conference (Sorting Out’. I highly recommend) and one of the speakers spoke on forgiveness.  To be honest he shared things I had heard many times before, but it was good to have the message of forgiveness being a choice and essential reinforced. 



I thought of a particular person I had struggled to forgive.  I recall psyching myself up; I had to let go.

Finding Freedom through Forgiveness

Part of me didn’t want to. I mean my anger and resentment was justified…but then I thought to myself:


How long? 

How much longer will I harbour these feelings?

Why am I choosing to inflict myself with this pain?


Forgiveness Is A Choice.

 


I was essentially choosing to hurt myself by holding on to this pain.

Find healing and peace when you forgive

It’s like someone (spitefully) giving you a ball and telling you to hold it and squeeze it tightly. The moment you begin to squeeze pins shoot out of the ball; causing injuries, and a great deal of pain. 


In this situation there are two choices:

  • continuing to hold on to the ball with the spikes, causing more pain and additional cuts. 
  • Or letting go of the ball; attend to your wounds, moving on, and with time allowing the wounds to close up and heal.  


 

Yes, after a while, you may still see marks, and scars of the wounds. But, the pain (especially at the level of intensity when the spikes cut you) can no longer be felt. And that’s often the experience of forgiveness; there may be things that remind you of what happened. But the lack of pain associated with these reminders is evidence of you letting go in forgiveness, and moving forward towards full healing.

You have the choice to hold on and continuously hurt yourself or you can choose to let go and give your hurt a chance to heal. 

 


Just to note, attending to the wound, is not permission to go over the hurt, or things that were done/said to you.  It’s about caring for yourself! This may be through prayer. It may mean thinking about creating certain boundaries, having accountability partners, going for therapy.  

 


Dressing The Wounds Is About You, And Your Healing. 



Back to that conference, I made a decision to let go and forgive. I prayed a simple and short prayer that God will help me by His grace to let go, move on and not remember things with bitterness, anger, hatred or hurt anymore. 

Today as I write this I think about the conversation I had with my sister and I see that I have actually forgiven. 

 

You Are Free When You Forgive

In this forgiveness I have found freedom; of my emotions, heart, and valuable head space.  

 

There is a special peace of mind that comes with forgiveness, and with this, I can genuinely say I wish this person all the very best of God’s blessings.  

I know forgiveness can be hard, especially when it seems like it’s justified. Trust me the best thing you can do is make the choice to let go and forgive. Ask God to help you, you will find His grace at hand to help you through this process.  And in forgiving, you will find freedom. 

 
In truth and with love,

Faith xox

 

World MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2017

In light of it being World Mental Health day, it only seems right that I dedicate this post to a topic I am very passionate about: Mental Health

This year’s theme is: ‘Mental Health In The Workplace’, which is great because for many of us our working hours make up most of our week, and most of our adult life.  So difficulties in the workplace could very well have an impact on our mental wellbeing, and similarly stressors in life, can impact our mental wellbeing.

I’m sure most of us are aware of the statistics that ‘1 in 4 people  in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives’ (WHO, 2001) . UK stats suggest 1 in 4 will experience a mental health problem each year, and in England 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. And if we take a step back again, international  stats suggest that more than 300 million people suffer from depression, which is one of the leading cause of disability worldwide.  And more than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. 

‘1 in 4’ means this is a lot closer to home than we think, it could be you or me, in a group of four, one of us is bound to experience a mental health difficulty.

Despite the prevalence of mental health difficulties in our communities, ‘mental health’, ‘depression’, ‘anxiety’, suicide’ are still considered dirty words that shouldn’t be said aloud or shared in public.  If they are shared, the sharer runs the risk of being shunned. Ostracised. Marginalised. Ignored. Labelled: Mad, Crazy, Psycho. Why?  Because  mental health issues is a private affair, not to be discussed in public.  

It’s funny how differently mental and physical illnesses are treated. 

 We can empathise with someone who has sustained a physical injury or has been diagnosed with a physical medical issue. If I broke my arm or  suffered third degree burns I would have a rally of support from professionals as well as family and friends. Sadly, the story changes as soon as we mention mental health; alarm bells raise, barriers come up, defences are on full blast, employers are not empathic or understanding. We distance ourselves. We don’t understand. We don’t want to understand. Out come comments of judgement, condemnation, blame, which breed feelings of shame, embarrassment and guilt. 

For a moment I want us to put labels, diagnosis and stats in the bottom drawer of the cabinet. Because behind these labels, challenges and difficulties are people. People just like you and me. People who are going through a tough time. Many who feel ashamed to talk about it, sad, scared and alone.

I don’t know many people who would want to wake up with thoughts of suicide and self harm. Do you? 

Or people who desire to think life is not worth living?

Or do you know anyone who would want to feel so on edge and panicked they are not able to carry out their daily activities?

I think I can confidently speak for those of us that have felt really low, or  experienced periods of extreme anxiety so much so that our lives came to a halt…I’m pretty sure we did not want to feel like that or go through those times.

Yet when people feel like this we tend to blame them. When people pluck up the courage to share how they feel, we dismiss it, shut them down,  or tell them to get over it.

I for one am not over it, because:

Mental Health issues are real!

Depression is real!

Anxiety is real!

It exists in every society and culture.

Oh and guess what it even exists in the Christian community! 

It may be called different things but I guarantee you it exists! 

Let’s think how we would like to be treated if we were going through challenges or periods of distress…this should guide how we  treat others.


“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

(Luke 6:31)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

 (John 15:12)

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” 

(Matthew 7:12)

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  “(Philippians 2:4)


 

So in line with this years theme; let’s look after ourselves, and each other. 

Let us not just speak about our challenges, or mental health issues amongst our friends and family, BUT let’s take these discussions to our workplace, social settings and schools.

Let us not only continue talking about it, let’s embrace those dealing with challenges by providing a safe, non-judgemental space for them to talk and just be.

Before I close, I thought I would share some symptoms to look out for: 


Depression:

Anxiety:

 

Also, know YOUR personal triggers. Have you noticed a change in your mood, appetite, daily routine, bodily symptoms?  These could be indicators of stress and challenges.  Are you or have you gone through a particularly rough time? 

If you are struggling with low mood, or feelings of anxiety and distress, please talk to someone.

Trust me, there are people out there who care and WANT to help!

You can:

Talk to your GP,

Family, friends, colleagues you trust

There are also services you can contact for support such as:

The Samaritans:

UK – 116 123

In the Republic of Ireland: 116 123 (free to call)

https://www.samaritans.org

 MIND

Infoline provides information on a range of topics including:

  • types of mental health problems
  • where to get help
  • medication and alternative treatments
  • advocacy.

0300 123 3393

Lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

[email protected]

 

SANE:

0300 304 7000 (Open every day of the year from 4:30pm to 10:30pm).

http://www.sane.org.uk/home

 

For urgent medical attention, your options are Accident & Emergency (A&E) and Emergency GP appointments.

For urgent medical advice you can call the NHS 111 (England) or NHS Direct (Wales).

 Please look after yourself and do not be ashamed to reach out for help if you are struggling.  

 

In truth and with love,

Faith xox

Faith’s Guide