Anxiety and Guilt
Message: I have anxiety every day over mistakes I've made in the past and feeling as if God has not forgiven me. I've repented, but now have intrusive thoughts regarding my mistakes and doubting if I am a good person. I was a child when I made these mistakes, but still feel this heavy burden of guilt and shame.
First, please believe and take comfort in knowing that God has indeed forgiven you! He forgave you well before you even realized you had done something worth asking forgiveness for - that's what the cross was all about. That's the amazing thing about God - there is nothing you can do or not do that will make Him love you any more or less than He always has. His love is UNCONDITIONAL, in every sense of the word. Repentance takes you far in that it helps YOU feel the peace you need to build on your relationship with God. But the repentance itself does not make Him love you more - His love for you is always at full capacity. What you have done in your past is of little consequence to Him, except if you allow the past to hold back your acceptance of the relationship He so desperately wants to have with you. He has forgiven you. When God asks us to lay down our burdens, it’s because He knows that if we do not completely let go of them, the guilt and shame attached with them will be painful and keep us from building on our relationship with Him. Shame and guilt make us look so intently inward that it is difficult to look up and forward while we are still hanging onto the memories that tie us so tightly to those painful emotions.
I am confident in saying that you, dear Butterfly, are a good person. The mere fact that you reached out to talk about this is evidence of the goodness in your heart. Don't let your past make you question your value. Learn from your mistakes and grow from them, but don’t let them keep you from moving forward in your relationship with God. The great God of the universe values you, and is aggressively seeking to be your friend. Don't let the guilt you feel of your past keep you from walking into His open arms - because His arms are open despite what mistakes you make. "Nothing can separate you from God's love." - Romans 8:39
The next time you feel anxious, take a quick, deep breath, then let it go slowly for 8 seconds. As you are releasing your breath, imagine God giving you a big bear hug as He tells you that He forgives you. Breathe deeply like this until you feel the anxiety pass. Anxiety causes your heart to race and makes your breathing shallow. Consciously taking deep breaths helps bring your heart rate back to normal and clears your mind. When you mind is clear, perhaps it will help you develop a better understanding of how deep and unconditional His love is for you. Focus on His love, Butterfly. Focusing on His love will keep you from focusing on your past.