If you had the opportunity to change anything in your past, would you? Would you rectify mistakes and start over fresh? Or are you happy with everything in your past just the way it is?
It’s a tricky question, and honestly, I’m not sure how I would answer it personally. While I’m very happy with where I am in life right now, that hasn’t always been the case.
You see, I spent a lot of years being ashamed of my past. Convinced that if anyone knew everything I had been through and done, they wouldn’t like me. That they would reject me, and I’d be all alone.
Can you relate? Have you ever felt that way?
This is actually a topic I dive into way more in-depth in my new book, coming out March 20th. So if you want all the juicy details, you’ll definitely want to check it out to learn more.
But today, I wanted to offer six very practical tips straight from the book for anyone else who may be in the exact same situation I was – tips I really think will help.
Related Video: How to Overcome Past Hurts and Hang-Ups
How to Find Freedom From Past Sin and Shame
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1. Confess Your Sins
If you are a Christian with sin in your life that you have yet to ask forgiveness for, you should feel some degree of guilt or shame. It is this guilt and shame that compels us to turn to God and seek forgiveness.
So start with confession, or admitting your wrongdoings. Be honest with yourself and own up to whatever it is you have done or failed to do. Confess your sins to God first (He already knows about them anyways), and then to whomever your sins have hurt, as well as a fellow sister-in-Christ who can help hold you accountable.
Sin and shame thrive in secrecy. Don’t give them the chance. Get everything out in the open where you can remove it properly.
Next, once you have admitted your sin, you need to repent, which basically means to feel sorrow and regret, and to do a 180 and head in the opposite direction. It’s not enough to simply admit your sins and feel bad about them. You have to actually stop doing them, even if it’s hard.
3. Seek Freedom from Bondage
Of course, not all sins are easy to break, especially in cases of addiction. This is because, when we allow sin to enter our lives, we give Satan a foothold or a “grasping on point,” from which he can influence and control our lives, and he isn’t going to let it go of it easily. Therefore, if you have sins that are keeping you in spiritual bondage, stronger measures may be needed.
Two of the absolute best resources I know of on spiritual strongholds are the books “The Steps to Freedom in Christ” and “The Bondage Breaker,” both by Neil T. Anderson. I went through both books and “The Steps to Freedom in Christ” study guide in high school, and it absolutely began a period of great healing and transformation in my life. I know it can for you too.
If you have sins you struggle to break free from, I would strongly encourage you to check out one or both books. But don’t stop there. Speak to your pastor, a strong Christian mentor or a trusted Godly friend. Speak to a counselor or doctor, if you need to. Do whatever it takes to find true freedom once and for all. I can promise you, it is hard but it is worth it.
4. Forgive Yourself
If God, who is perfect, pure and holy can forgive you – so can you. You are not allowed to hold yourself to a higher standard than God does (as though you were a more righteous judge), and you don’t want to say that Jesus’s blood is insufficient for your sins (it’s not). When God declares you forgiven, you are forgiven. Period. The end.
5. Walk in Truth
Of course, feeling forgiven and making positive changes going forward isn’t always easy. That’s why you must commit to walking in truth.
What sins do you struggle to avoid? What Scriptural truths do you struggle to believe? Find relevant Scripture, write it down, memorize it, and refer to it constantly. Meditate on it day and night until it becomes a part of you and you start living according to it.
Are you struggling with guilt and shame over your past? Memorize Romans 8:1, which says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Repeat it to yourself every time those feelings try to creep back in again. Say it out loud if you need to. Write it on your hand if you need to. Spray paint it on your walls if you need to. Whatever it takes for you to be able to proclaim it victoriously.
6. Surround Yourself with Positive People
And lastly, surround yourself with positive people who see the best in you and who bring out the best in you. Honestly, this was a very crucial step in my own healing process. It wasn’t until I emptied my life of pretty much everyone and everything that I was not only able to root out all the bad stuff, but really grow in all the good stuff as well.
Yes, this is very difficult to do, especially if you have friends and family who are toxic. But coming from someone who gave up every single friendship I had prior to this point of healing – it was worth it. Yes, sometimes I miss some of my old friends – they were wonderful people who did nothing wrong – but it was what I had to do to find healing, and I’m so glad I did.
If you’ve been living with pain, shame and regret over choices you’ve made in your past, let me tell you – it does NOT have to be this way. I know because I’ve been there, but I’m not there anymore.
Do you struggle with guilt or shame over mistakes you’ve made or that others have made in your past? What have you done to try to escape it? Did it help?