On this path I am on to be a surrendered follower of Jesus I am learning to love unconditionally. Not only others, but also myself. How am I to seek forgiveness without addressing my sins and failures? I can’t just drop to my knees and yell out “Please forgive me for everything I have done!”. That just feels like I’m cheating. Like I haven’t worked to earn what I am asking for. But Jesus already knows everything I have done and everything I have thought. He has already forgiven me before I have even asked for forgiveness, right?! You’re absolutely correct.
So why am I doing this? I could just keep all these thoughts to myself and no one would ever know this part of my past. I could have a clean start. But I don’t want that. I want people to know that I am a broken person. That I am going through a lot of hard work to have this relationship with Jesus. It’s not necessary. He will accept me for the simple request of forgiveness, but I need to free myself of these thoughts and feelings and release the bonds. I need to address the demons so that I can have a clean start for me. I will be seeking to be re-baptized soon, so over the next few weeks (and possibly months) I am going to be working on a series to start addressing some (the list is long) of my faults and weaknesses. I want to free my heart of these burdens before I cleanse myself and start my life fully surrendered.
I will be pouring out my thoughts and feelings and trying to explain the context of the situations.
You probably are not going to like the things I have to share. I don’t like them. They hurt. A lot. But I can not pretend as if my past did not happen. I have to use them as learning opportunities to build a stronger relationship with Jesus.
So let’s dive right into this…
My wife and I are currently working on finalizing all of our “post-death” wishes. Setting up a living trust, making adjustments to life insurance policies, etc. Of course, in any normal conversation, this is going to bring up a lot of emotions and what-if scenarios.
We’ve all played the “What If?” game, right?! It’s absolutely terrible. This game is never played with positive outcomes! It’s always the worst case scenarios and just makes what you’re talking about so uncomfortable.
Here’s a scenario that brings up a lot of sad memories and where today’s topic comes from – “What if you get sick?”
Now, this has been a big component of a lot of relationships in my life. I watched my grandmother deteriorate from cancer in front of my eyes to the point that I felt peace when she finally passed away, knowing she was no longer suffering. I’ve watched my dad collapse walking across the house because of health issues. I watched my grandfather take cocktails of medications on a daily basis just to get through the day from COPD. I see people needing to carry around oxygen tanks just to be able to breathe and perform a necessary requirement to live.
I’ve seen children with scars that take up their entire chests from heart conditions and surgeries. I’ve seen children who literally are at risk of drowning in their sleep from cystic fibrosis. I’ve seen children who couldn’t even eat food on their own.
I’ve seen pain. I’ve seen suffering. I’ve seen death…
Here’s a story most of you probably don’t know about me, for reasons that will become evident soon. A few years ago I suffered unimaginably painful migraines. We’ve all had some before where we just want to lock ourselves in a dark room and sleep the day away. But mine were so bad that I wanted to gouge out my eyes because the sunlight hurt so bad (some days pressing on my eyes would make the pain subside, if only for a few moments). I would cause pain to other parts of my body to temporarily distract from my head.
It was intense. I went through so many different medications trying to find something that would work. Every single week the doctor was prescribing something new, and nothing ever seemed to do the trick. Eventually it lead to another round of severe depression.
Finally the doctors started to suspect something else was going on. So guess what comes next? Yup. The conversations of MRIs and CT scans to check for brain tumors. And here’s the part of the story that you guys aren’t going to like, because it makes me so sad to think about…
I hoped that there was something wrong with me. I hoped that they would get in there and say “Oh, well there it is!” and then turn around and tell me that I only had a year or so left to live.
I wanted that conversation to happen.
Obviously, as I sit here today, that conversion didn’t actually happen. God has bigger plans for me. Tests continually came back positive and the new medications kept coming. A medication finally did the trick after months of testing and I was placed on an anticonvulsant for a very long time until the pain finally subsided.
And guess what happened when that conversation didn’t happen? I was disappointed! I was sad that I wasn’t dying. I envied the people that I saw that were sick. Not for the pain that they were going through, but for the love that they received because of it. Because in those moments where people were at their lowest physically, they were at their strongest spiritually. And they were surrounded by loved ones.
And I didn’t believe that I had that.
What was wrong with me?!
I sat at my cousins funeral 6 years ago and saw the place filled with people that loved him so incredibly much. And it was in that moment that I realized I felt so alone in this world. But Kyle, your family should be enough, right?! Right. But that’s a forgiveness post for another day.
But thinking of my mortality just brought about sadness. And anger. And very conflicting feelings that just made me feel even more lost. I have a soft spot for sappy books and movies where the main protagonist dies in the end, more specifically from sickness. I would watch these movies and read these books and see how much good came as they approached the end of their lives. And I would long for that. But then I would turn around and think of my funeral if I were to pass and could only see maybe 10 people showing up, including my own family. So, I would want to be sick to be able to have an excuse to bring people closer to me, but I didn’t want to be sick because it would be a reminder of how alone I truly was? That’s not okay.
I’ve just recently come to the realization of how alone I really was for such a long time. I only have myself to blame, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
It’s, rightfully, hard for me to admit these things, especially knowing how incredibly selfish it is because people have to actually endure these horrible moments in their lives. And I’m so sorry if you think I am lessening the extremities of these situations.
But this is something that is no longer a part of who I am. My life is not my own to live.
One, I have a growing family that loves and wants me around.
Two, that is not the way Jesus lived His life! He gave His life for others, including me. Not for His own selfish desires! He gave the ultimate sacrifice so I could be stupid and free to think those terrible things in the first place.
Three, I am not here, living this life, to build a kingdom of my own. I am here to serve others and to make a difference.
My thoughts were incredibly selfish, upsetting, sad and not pure.
So today, I seek forgiveness. For my envy. For devaluing my life when it is not mine to do so. For believing that God’s plan for me was less than my own.
Today I am one step closer to loving myself unconditionally, for I have come to realize that Jesus is a part of who I am, and for Him to love me unconditionally I must do the same and live as if He were living my life for me.
I have lived my life for so long as a sinner. My sin has brought me no joy or happiness in life. It was not until I began to give my life to You that the skies began to clear and the light was shown on my life.
I ask for forgiveness from You today for treating my life as if it weren’t such an incredible gift from You, personally! Please forgive me for undervaluing my life and hoping for it to be shortened. I know You have been by my side through every transgression, protecting me from myself and not answering my prayers. Sometimes the greatest gift in life is unanswered prayers.
You have plans for my life that I can not even imagine and I will do everything that I can to share my gifts and blessings with others. I will serve others!
I am a sinner. Thank You for bearing my sins for me and for allowing me to be, for lack of better words, an idiot for such a long time.
I am a better person because of You, and I will continue to follow in Your footsteps and live my life as if You were living it for me. What a blessing it is to know that You are a part of who I am!
In Jesus’ name.
I’m sorry for such a heavy post. I wish I could say that they get easier from here, but I know that that is not true. But on the bright side of all of this, we all already know how the story ends – with me living a fully surrendered life to Jesus and finding my way back to His Kingdom!
I love you all, so incredibly much!