Maybe you are comfortable praying and studying the Bible.
Maybe it’s brand new to you.
This is how I do it.
Each morning I carve out time to read one chapter of the Bible. Right now I’m in Romans (love, love Chapter 8!). I dig deep into whatever chapter I’m in.
Then I spend time in prayer, simply talking to God. I love the scripture in Matthew 6:8 that says, He knows what you need before you even ask. That takes all the pressure off. I come in as Suzie, because He knows me. He knows my heart. He knows my needs. My desire to grow as a woman of faith.
And then I stretch a little bit more as I read a devo, or a book that challenges me in my faith to stretch and mature spiritually.
After your personal study time, prayerfully ask these questions. Journal your answers.
Keep this in mind as you take this deeper. Remember, it’s our focus for this week:
Not what was, but what can be. . .
1. Have you ever had someone say, “Just forgive”. How did that affect your ability to forgive?
2. Jesus meets you right where you are. Describe where you are today. Maybe it’s at “I’ve been trying to do this for 20 years” or “I have no clue if this is for me or not”. Regardless, take a moment and invite God to join you right this moment. Write it in a form of a prayer.
3. Suzie described (in the Introduction of The Unburdened Heart) her one unhealthy belief was that she always had to take care of herself, which makes it hard to ask for help. What is one unhealthy belief that you’ve embraced from the past?
a. That’s what “was”, so let’s place that unhealthy belief between you and God, who loves you like crazy. Ask Him to help you take one small step in a new direction in this area.
4. Write down one question you’ve always had about forgiving. (You’ll revisit this much later in the study.)
5. John 8:32 (NIV), says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” What do you hope that free looks like?
Next Monday we’ll dig into Chapter Two, discovering what forgiveness is, and what it’s not.
Have you purchased The Unburdened Heart yet? It will take each chapter so much deeper, giving you time to reflect on the many scriptures, and the powerful stories inside. It has a Take It Deeper section that you can use individually, and it’s also great for small groups, like your church, or mom’s group, or with a friend.
The Unburdened Heart is your invitation to discover the freedom of forgiveness. Take the first step toward freedom today!.
I just read Chapter 1 in the PDF you provided (Amazon has shipped my book, and I should have it by next Wednesday). This is such great material. I am looking forward to delving deeper. I was interested that in one example you shared, the “forgiven” person was not aware of the transformation that had happened in the “forgiver’s” life. That was eye-opening. One thing holding me back is that I am not ready to talk to the “other” person about it…it was good for me to see here that I should first begin with MY OWN self, and SURRENDER….my freedom that will come from surrendering this to God is NOT dependent upon, nor even directly related to, the “other” person. At least now it seems easier….to be responsible just for me…so I feel like I have a handle on specifically where I need to work. Now, off to make an art journal page about To Salach Forgive: Surrender.
I wanted you to know that I received the book you so generously “gifted” to me from your blog. Thank you so much. I am reading it and entering into the discussion with you and God, while even today, the consequences of what my X husband did to me continue and ripple ahead of me. I am trying to be hopeful that what was is not what has to be in front of me.
I can appreciate all of these wonderful questions/assignments. Your last question, however, struck me. It speaks to the place that I am currently exploring, by the levels. During my personal study and communion time with the LORD, I have sought to better understand God’s definition of freedom and what that looks like in my own life. The thing is…I have lived freely (praise God!) and yet it has been conditionally so if that makes sense. Anyway, I hope that “free” looks like Jesus in me. What I mean is that I hope it is Christ -Truth, freedom itself – realized in me. I’ll end there for now, but not. It goes way deeper.
I never considered forgiveness as surrender and I want to look more into this idea as my One Word of the year is submission and that is similar. I am also guilty of looking at the love of God and not always pair it with repentance, and I tend to feel I have to love my mom irregardless of the emotional abuse that she continues to dish out, and since I am currently living with her due to finances, I face it regularly. There is not a day that goes by that she doesn’t put me down in some way.
I also have a question, how do you go about forgiving, when she continues to dish out hurt every day. I mean I have made my mind up to forgive, I’ve even told God I forgive, but then she hurts me again and I get mad and have these feelings of hurt and anger, and I find it hard to change my behaviors and responses to her, to reflect what I am trying to do. And she simply doesn’t respect boundaries.
By, can I relate! My mom lives with us. She’s 95. All my life I’ve heard her criticism and now it continues. I too love my mom in spite of it because inside I know that I am no better – perhaps much worse. I also know and understand what she suffered as a child and that helps me put things in perspective. It’s hard to let go of the resentment but I know that God holds the key. He wants so much to give us His strength, patience, understanding, and love. I will be praying for you….
I have only read the introduction but I plan to read chapters 1-2 in the next few days. I had the book ordered through Barnes and Noble and it was supossed to ship yesterday. But there was some kind of delay and it did not ship. So I cancelled the order and ordered it for my nook. I would like to get a hard copy eventually but my nook will work for now. I cannot wait to dig in deeper in this book! I will be printing off these questions and going through them the next few days! So looking forward to this 🙂
How do I get to the study days I missed?
Dearest Lord God:
Please help me to be able to give full forgiveness to all of the people who have hurt me or who I perceive as having hurt me. Please allow me to let these feelings go, never to be contemplated again in a spirit of hurt, a grudge or unforgiveness. Please help me to understand that we’re all human and that it’s not realistic to expect a person to meet needs or expectations they didn’t know about. Help me to know that most of the time, please are just doing the best they can . Please fill me with peace and health my heart and my emotions. Please bless those people who I have harbored unforgiveness toward. Please allow them to walk in Your peace with you and grant favor in their lives. Thank you for your gracious mercy, Lord. Thank you for the healing that is to come in my life and the lives of these people, Lord.
These questions really stump me. I thought I knew exactly what my unforgiveness stems from and yet I see I need to spend more time contemplating this issue. I guess what I am saying is these are really tough questions and I am ready to delve into this. I have had so much anger, bitterness, hurt inside me that I am so ready to heal! I pray for all of us in this study that we are open the the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I so want to forgive and I so want to surrender.
Thankyou Suzie for wanting to help us!
I often fail at following thru with anything, reading my bible, bible study, praying for others. With bible studies I often think that it doesn’t apply to me, but what it comes down to is fear. Fear that I might discover what the real problem is. Afraid to know the truth. There is so much of my life that I don’t remember. Many times someone will be talking to me, and I can hear their voice, but not hear a word they say……I don’t know where I escape to. I know that my family was very dysfunctional. Lot’s of fighting & yelling, at each other as children. Mom & Dad always arguing. As children we were always looking to get even, very jealous of one another…..a very critical mother and an angry father who didn’t know how to handle the stress of life with such a very large family, no job, etc. I don’t like who I grew up to be, the generational sin is so deeply rooted in me and my siblings. Although I accepted Christ 20 years ago, I don’t see any change in me. I get down on myself when I behave badly, I pray and ask for forgiveness, but no sooner have I called out to God, I turn around and behave the same way again. I know I need to change, I don’t like who I am, I want to change. “Surrender” is scary but I believe I am ready. “Not what was, but what can be…….I like the way that sounds. I feel that I have hurt so many, especially those whom I love….I am ashamed and have guilt of the ugliness of me. Please pray for God to work in me. Thank you for sharing your story and for the honesty I see in just reading the introduction and chapter one. God Bless You.
Recognizing you don’t like your actions and expressing a desire to change is a great accomplishment. Look for the wonders God is about to work in your life!
I would also encourage you to read Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore.