Sometimes I get frustrated with myself. I get impatient with my imperfections. I get upset at how I can be so focused on the Lord and spiritual living for an extended period of time and then, it seems, in an instant I can slide back into old habits.
So often I take two steps forward and three steps back. I frequently think of St. Paul’s words: “What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15).
But a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in quiet prayer and the Lord spoke to my heart: “Stop judging yourself and live.”
Interesting, I thought. I wrote those words in my journal, but I didn’t completely understand them…until I recently had one of my two-steps-foward-three-steps-back moments.
You see, in my life I’ve had a tendency to focus on the bad feelings that come after what I perceive to be a failure (I hated losing basketball games when I was younger!). So I think what the Lord was telling me is that those bad feelings are often triggered because I spend too much time judging myself (“Stop judging yourself”). If I can simply acknowledge my mistake and keep living, then those negative emotions won’t have such a deep hold on me.
The Way of the Cross is very instructive for us in this regard: Jesus fell, but He kept going. That’s exactly what he wants us to do; and He gives us the strength to do it.
When we think that we’ve failed, we simply ought to acknowledge it, make a sincere act of sorrow to the Lord, and keep living, keep moving forward. That’s what God wants.
God is our judge. So stop judging yourself and keep on living. Jesus desires us to live in the freedom of the Spirit. We can’t do that if we’re always caught up in what we’ve done wrong. We’re all going to make mistakes, but let’s learn from them and keep moving forward.
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