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Going Backward- January 22, 2011
June 5, 2011

Dear Sam,

I've had some hard and painful experiences in my life, but always prided myself on how resilient and positive I am. Lately, I've realized that I'm much more injured and pessimistic than I had thought. It feels like all the threads of sorrow have meshed together and are now blocking my future. I believe that Jesus can heal me, but...I'm not sure what the but is. Anyway, I'm disappointed in myself and am much less confident than I used to be. What can you say to help me understand what is happening?

-Going Backward-

Dear Going, and I'll leave it at that because I don't believe you are going backward, but forward.

The first step in being healed is to know that you are ill. For a long time you insisted that you were just fine, so no help was needed. Jesus can only meet you where you are willing to need him. Well, here he is.

Some repentance might move you forward. You admit to pride, self-ignorance, disappointment, lack of confidence and some measure of unbelief. We'll call that confession (a new, forward thing for you). But confession can knock you down with no hope of being lifted up. The next step would be to repent, which means not just  feeling bad, which you do, but to turn each of those aspects around. You were prideful, now you can begin to be humbled by the complexity of life's experiences. You were ignorant of what was really going on inside of you, now you can turn your disappointment into gratitude for greater wisdom. You see what I am saying. This is the healing that Jesus can bring you if you are willing to make those kinds of inner, attitudinal changes. The past will not be removed, but it can be used as a path forward instead of a pool of quicksand.

You can even let God become your confidence instead of being confident in your now-realized weakness. That means that your unbelief will turn out to be helpful because you have confronted it and let God show you who you really are and who he really is.

Always, always God tells us to connect ourselves to other believers, who will be going through their own issues of faith and growth. I'll bet your pride and resiliency kept you from real, honest interaction with others. You can move forward now into relationships that are much more intimate and healing.

God says that he can, and will if you let him, turn all things to good purpose. Your resiliency served you well in the past, but now you can develop in ways and areas that were closed to you before. You will find yourself to be more compassionate, warmer, more helpful to others because of the personal journey you are embarking on. See, journey means forward, toward some destination. God has destined you to walk proud and strong as his beloved daughter. You can be confident of that. Don't back away from this difficult moment. Step right into it and see what God will do.


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