I’m just human, I have weaknesses, I make mistakes, and I experience sadness; but I learn from all these things to make me a better person. ~Unknown
I recently watched a very inspiring church service by Joel Osteen. For those not familiar with Joel, he is an Author and celebrity senior pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. This blog isn’t about Joel or religion. However, as a quick sidebar, I knew at one point or another, the subject of religion would surface in one of my blogs. My Soulful Healing finds its roots in the message of God and spirituality but not religion. I respect everyone and their right to their own beliefs as well as the right to form their own opinion about how they feel. I am a very spiritual person and learn new things every day that enlighten me to God’s message but I am not religious. Joel’s service really spoke to me and inspired me to write a blog on it and pass the message on. I hope you read on and form your own thoughts.
Joel spoke about how God loves imperfect people. You can download his podcast to hear the full service. Let me start with, if you are like me; you have probably lived your life wondering if the things you do can cause God to not love you or be angry at you or disown you? Sound familiar? I have always wondered when times get tough and seems everything is going against me, is that God punishing me because of something I did? Well, when I heard Joel speak I started to shed a tear as if my life long question was answered. Don’t get me wrong, I formed my own thoughts on this but have searched for other answers by going to church and read many religious, spiritual and self-help books on the subject. However, do you know that feeling when you’ve heard the answer to your question answered the same way by different people but when you hear it said in a specific, certain way by someone new, it just clicks? That’s what happened to me.
Joel’s message discussed how it’s easy to feel that when we do things right, God loves us. However, the times when we don’t perform perfectly or we told someone off because our ego gave in or we told a white lie or thought a bad thought it’s easy to think God gave up on us. Joel stated that he says this respectfully but religion pushes us down and convinces us if we turn our back on God then we can’t expect God to bail us out as it was our own fault. That’s exactly what I assumed and why I was so discouraged for so long. We all have a bad day or make a mistake or do something knowingly because of pride etc. Joel stated that when we fall or fail, God comes running towards us, he doesn’t run away from us. This is what got my attention in his service.
He further went on to say that when we make a mistake God loves us a little more, he pursues us. God wants to see us back on the right course. He’ll send people our way to help us. You can insert your own life example here when you received help after feeling you messed up in some area of your life. You may have blown it or feel you let God down but he won’t let us down. I know some argue that God has let us down and again I respect those with different opinions but I believe that Joel is right and that God loves us regardless and doesn’t let us down even though we may feel we let him down. We shouldn’t go around beating ourselves up when we make mistakes or even worry that we blew our relationship with God. That mindset sets us up for failure and we may as well lose faith then. Joel says that God looks for people who have a heart filled in his honor. The core is our heart. Our performance may not be perfect in life but because our heart is perfect and filled with love for God, we will always receive his love in return. When we fail, we feel God is so far away from us but God comes to us when we doubt. As humans, we put God in a box and expect him to forgive or condemn those we feel he should but it’s on his terms not ours. God never writes us off, he doesn’t judge us the way people do. We are not judged by the mistakes that we make. We need to start seeing ourselves as successful. We get our performance mixed up with our identity and who we are but that’s not who we are. We need to stop struggling with replaying all the times we failed or gave in. It only depresses us. We have to learn to change the channel in our minds and stop replaying the negative times of our past. We need to replay the positive times in our life. In life we all fall and have set backs, embarrassing times, unfair situations, bad luck, negativity – change the channel! Thinking about our failures just replays them over and over and forces us to believe we are no good and not worthy. We don’t have to go around feeling guilty or wrong on the inside because we made errors. We should always feel good on the inside despite our mistakes. Mistakes are lessons, God isn’t disappointed in us; we still have an amazing future ahead. Our heart is what counts, not our performance.
I think it’s important that we use this message as a guide to not only start thinking more positively about ourselves but also to start putting our past behind us. I know it’s easier said than done because our past can haunt us in so many areas. However, if we take the lessons that we learned from the past and apply them to the here and now and remember that our future has not yet been written. We can start feeling hope again where we felt depleted. If God, our creator, doesn’t condemn us and can also forgive us for not being perfect when we make mistakes then why can’t we forgive ourselves? We should feel strong knowing that God is first in our heart and that what is behind us does NOT define us.
It all starts with the thoughts we think and our belief in ourselves. If we think we are no good, then we won’t be. If we let our past plague and define us then it will. If we believe that our past was a lesson for our better good then it is and we can make room in our thoughts to live in hope for our future. If we dwell over the entire negative that happened to us and just replay that over and over in our minds and carry it around with a victim mentality then that is exactly the reality we will live in. God loves us regardless but it is up to us to hold God in our hearts and use his strength to get us through. I have lived with the belief under religious teachings for so long that God wrote me off because I’m not perfect and gave up on me because I’ve made mistakes and therefore, I’ve been punished by harsh setbacks in life. In truth, the harsh setbacks were not because of God, they were because of me and my thoughts. My thoughts generated my reality. I believe each of us can be better than what we are and live with the inner peace we deserve if we start by believing when we hold God in our heart that he doesn’t condemn us but instead loves us unconditionally because we are perfectly imperfect.
I welcome your thoughts and comments below.