You know, forgiveness can be a tough thing. Too often, we end relationships and assume we have closure because we’ve “moved” on, yet we miss a key element in closure: forgiveness. Over the last year, I’ve focused most of my quiet time on this area. What my new normal would look like now that relationships have ended? What does true forgiveness look like? Is it possible to have true forgiveness…and still not have that person in your life? Let’s chat about it for a bit…
Like I mentioned, at some point in life, our circles change, and we move on from one thing to the next. First, comes shock. For me, a close friendship came to a very abrupt halt. Disassociation, confusion and quickly adopting a new norm was what I had to look forwrad to. I know, I know, I truly wasn’t prepared for that blow — who is?! — and there were nights, tears would stream down my face because I didn’t understand why.
I like to believe that I’m a fun, lovable and enjoyable person. The girl next door, everyone likes, loves and in-between. While even now, I don’t fully know the reason for the ending; this year of self-reflection, taught me that: yes, I am fun, lovable and enjoyable - but I’m also flawed, painfully good at making mistakes and great at deflecting blame.
I can write this now, with confidence that I’m more aware of how we both played our parts. As I share my thoughts, I pray that if you find yourself in the middle of a relationship changing and ending, this, as a glimpse of hope.
“I’d quickly internalize the feelings of anxiety for being a “bad” person.”
If you were to ask me last year “what happened?” I’d more than likely would give you a running list of what they did wrong and what I did right, and all of the efforts I put forward that went unnoticed. I’d also tell you that I feel really bad, and I’m really sorry but wasn’t sure of what to do to rectify the situation. As a person that struggles with conflict, I’d quickly internalize the feelings and anxiety of “being a bad person.” so much so, that the anxiety of conflict, would only create more anxiety. Go figure.
Internalizing these feelings of anxiety forces you to hide from the world out of embarrassment. It makes you think that the world will see your sheepish ways and discount you rather than pull you into the warm embrace of forgiveness, reconciliation and the opportunity for growth.
“ask yourself, have you forgiven you?”
The moment things got a little interesting. At some point during the year, I remember having a desire to pray for my former friend. They were on my mind for a few days, and I always found it strange to ‘pray for my enemies’ when they are in fact, my enemies. Yet, I can’t fully explain the indescribable and overwhelming feeling I get when I’m in God’s presence, but it is by far the sweetest and most peaceful places to be.
There is nothing like it. I get to leave that sweet sweet place so restored, so hopeful and so inspired. It was in one of these moments, where I was in my bed, journaling about my friendships and their name came to mind. Their face, their smile, the many memories of shared moments came to pass, and in the most gentle voice, I heard the Lord speak, “Jasmine, have you forgiven yourself?” I wrestled with that over and over.
What does forgiveness look like. when it’s not only about forgiving them but forgiving yourself?
I’ve never experienced forgiveness like this and every situation I’ve had prior, didn’t look like this. To this day, I don’t know where this if I’m forgiven by that person. I don’t know if we’ll ever reconcile face-to-face, but I sat in the Lord’s presence and left knowing I’m fully forgiven - forgiven of my past, forgiven of this moment and forgiven for the future.
That’s the thing, the mistakes will come. The upsets will happen. But all-in-all, when conflict arises, it’s having the ability to look yourself in the mirror knowing where you fell, how you rise, and when you move forward that’s key. There’s a level of freedom you enter into when you recognize that forgiveness is not only for the betterment of your emotional well-being, but better for your soul. For your mind. For you.
So, what happened with this friend? Well, that friendship has ended but I can finally turn to the next chapter of my life without shame, guilt or anxiety of what happened. I can focus more on my own healing, forgiveness and internal reconciliation. I can focus my time, my energy and love into continually growing and cultivating the relationships I still have. Maybe one day, we’ll be friends again — maybe not. Nevertheless, I can move forward and move better, because of this.
Whether or not, I’ll ever hear the “I’m sorry.” I no longer desire it. I don’t secretly wish to hear “You were right.” Because at the end of the day, God’s forgiven me, I’ve forgiven me, even if they don’t.
Whatever conflicts you’re facing today, I pray that you’d find the strength to face your faults, the courage to forgive, and the joy on the other side. I pray that freedom finds you and you experience this level of breakthrough.
Love, Light + Joy,