How You Can Make a Fresh Start
- Thursday, August 20, 2009
So make service a top priority in your life. Pray for the ability to discern specific ways God wants you to serve. Start small; simply see a need and meet it. If you find that a certain way you've tried to serve turns out not to be a good match for you, keep looking for other opportunities to serve well. Be sure to take time out from serving to rest, though, to keep your life in a healthy balance. When you make service a vital part of your lifestyle, you'll experience life as Jesus experienced it, and you'll have more of His love flowing through you. That's the ultimate success.
Move on from guilt. If guilt over wrong decisions you made in the past is keeping you stuck, you can move on with God's help. Confess your sins, mistakes, and failures to God, repent of your sins, and accept the forgiveness that He offers you. Read and reflect on Bible verses about forgiveness. Pray for God to give you peace about your past. Talk about your past and God's forgiveness with some caring Christian friends who will support you as you leave guilt behind.
Remember that there's absolutely nothing you've done in the past that God can redeem. Move forward in the confidence that God has not only forgiven you, but that He also wants to use you to do significant work in His kingdom. Once you're free from guilt, you're free to say "yes" to God when He presents opportunities for you to serve Him.
Find freedom from hurt. If you don't forgive the people who hurt you, their offenses will come back to haunt you over and over again and you'll be stuck in bitterness. But if you obey God's call to forgive others since He has forgiven you, you can break free of bitterness and move on well with your life. So write down what you think the person who hurt you owes you (an apology, an explanation, a marriage that was destroyed, money that was stolen, a life that was taken, etc.). Then cancel the debt, writing "Paid in full" across your list. Canceling the debt means that you decide not to: hold the action against the offending person, raise it back up with the person, or use it against the person anymore.
Choose to follow God's command to forgive despite your feelings. If you make a faithful decision, God will gradually change your feelings. You'll find that after you make the decision to forgive, God will start the healing process until you finally come to the point where you can remember the hurtful situation or encounter the person who hurt you without having the poison of bitterness rise up within your soul.
Use conflicts to discover adventure. If you've been struggling with a conflict that has left you stuck in stress without a resolution, realize that God can use that conflict to transform you in ways that will lead to great adventures in your life. Conflict can be a powerful catalyst for God to reveal more about Himself to you and cause new growth to happen in your life. Choose to do what's right - not what's easy - when dealing with conflict. Seek peace by confronting the people with whom you're in conflict, apologizing for your part in the conflict, and forgiving those who have hurt or offended you through the conflict. As you make every effort to live resolve conflicts so you can live in peace, you'll grow into a stronger person and bring glory to God in the adventurous process.
Overcome discouragement. If you're stuck in discouragement, don't despair because God always offers you real hope. Discouragement can teach you about your unfulfilled expectations, and it can also reveal areas of your life that you need to change with God's help. So pray about the source of your discouragement and shift your focus from yourself to God. Ask God to give you an eternal perspective on your life so you can pay attention to what matters most and let the rest go. Schedule leisure time into your schedule regularly so you don't get burned out, which can lead to discouragement. Make a habit of consistently encouraging the people around you.
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