When we came back from Christmas break, we had one day to talk to everyone. After that day we had an eight-day silent retreat. We had to be silent for eight days! I was not looking forward to it! Even though I don’t like sharing, I don’t like being quiet either. I need to talk! How can I be silent for eight days? That was the thought that went through my head before the eight-day. Every day we had an hour of spiritual direction, but that was the only time we could talk. I was so scared to be silent for eight days that I was thinking about not doing the silent retreat, but after talking to our mission director, Chris Benzinger, we decided that if I really needed someone to talk to, I would be allowed to.
The first day, I had to reflect on sin. After this day, I thought for sure that this was going to be a terrible week. I had never felt so bad before. When I talked about in spiritual direction, we realized that I was never able to forgive myself for some of the sins I committed. With my spiritual director, I decided that it would be good for me to go to confession. I was so scared! I thought about it for two days, and the second day, I could not deal with it anymore, so I went to talk to Chris. He helped me see that I was afraid that I would not be able to forgive myself, and that was what was keeping me from being happy. Chris made it very clear that forgiving yourself is a choice you can make every day. It is not a feeling you need to have, but a choice you make. When I really though about that, I realized he had a point.
So, I went to confession, and I decided that I would forgive myself. I did, and I have never felt such a relief before! I was so happy and energetic, but I could not speak about it with anyone. I decided take my bike and bike down a mountain to scream.
There still are times that I think back about everything I did, but I have to remind myself that I am forgiven, and I have the choice to forgive myself. Even when I really don’t feel that way, I have people around me who remind me of everything God has already done in my life, and they remind me that with God, I win!
For example, this week someone asked me how many victories I have had since eight-day. I said I don’t know, and he asked me to write them all down so I have something to look back at. I challenge you to look at your life, at least the last couple months, and think about the victories God has done in your life, small or big. Write them down and see how God is working in you own life!