change your thermostat

 
for·give
fərˈɡiv/
verb
  1. stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.


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That's the definition of forgiveness. And it sounds so beautifully simple. Stop feeling angry. But it's almost as hard as trying to write the beginning of this post. Because "offense, flaw, or mistake" can probably describe a moment of every single person's life on planet earth -- perhaps many moments, perhaps every day. 

We are children. Messy, inexperienced, 
writing on the walls with permanent markers. 
And we can't forgive ourselves.


But why? Why? When now, more than ever before, we live in a world where humanity is beginning to awaken to the light of a new dawn; the light of Grace and Peace and Forgiveness. Why?

Because forgiveness implies there is something to forgive. 

Offense, Flaw, Mistake. 

Trembling words with skeletal frames, whispering escape plans in each other's ears. We hate the fact that they infect our bodies, our minds, and the breath in our lungs. But hate is the very thing we need to cast far, far, away in order to forgive. 

In order to love.

 
There's something in psychology called "cybernetics." (And yes, this is going to be one of my Science Geek Analogies™, just warning you.) To put it simply, your mind works like a thermostat. And for those of you who don't know how a thermostat works, here is a quick overview: you tell the thermostat what temperature you want a given room. If the room gets warmer, the thermostat will work to bring the temperature back to your specific setting. If the room gets colder, the thermostat will work to bring the temperature back to your specific setting. 

The thermostat knows the norm. It is the norm. 
It changes everything in the room according to the norm. 
And it's the same way with your mind. 

If you always predict a certain outcome from yourself, your mind will literally work to regulate that outcome -- finding anything less or anything more simply unacceptable. If you're always like "I suck at parallel parking" it isn't just your lack of confidence that prevents you from being good at parallel parking; it's your mind saying "ok that's where you want to be WE SHALL SUCK FOREVERMORE." The same goes for positive things, too. 

But what happens when you expect too much of yourself? 
What happens when you fall short? 
When you make a mistake? 
When you do something wrong? 

If we hear so much about forgiveness, why is it so hard to simply make amends with our messy, inexperienced humanity? 


Guys, I'm not going to lie to you -- I mess up. A lot. And I expect things of myself that are ridiculously out of my depth. And I complete the vicious cycle by condemning myself, shaming myself, and hating myself.

WHY?

Who's thermostat is wired into my heart now? The thermostat that declares I am beautiful and forgiven and loved? The thermostat that whispers in the unwavering voice of my Savior that I am perfect in His eyes? 

Or is it the thermostat I see everywhere I turn? Those dark little thermostats that cower in the corner and mutter "you're a dirty sinner." Messed up and mistook. Unworthy of love. Shame, shame, shame. 

Someone set a thermostat to sit outside in the pig pen, covered in filth, shaking it's head saying, "No, I don't belong at my Father's table, no, I don't deserve to be anything more than a servant, no, I deserve to be a slave."

But I want to change my thermostat. I want to collapse into 
my Father's arms and take the rings and the robes and the sandals 
and the wild party and the loud music and the unbridled joy. 

I don't want the "dirty sinner" norm turning my thermostat down to a mere crust from the table of God. I want to be turned up all the way like the bass pumping through the front lawn. I want to forgive, forgive, forgive, because I thought it was impossible until proven possible by the hands that crafted my blood and bone. 

I want you to change your thermostat. 

To forgive.

To love.

To believe that you are worth it.

rock on,
abbiee

9 comments:

  1. Oh my word, Abbiee. I LOVE this...

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  2. *has just been majorly punched in the heart in the bestest sort of way* I think I've need this post for FOREVER. Thank you so so so much for being the one to show it to me. YOU'RE AMAZING, GIRL. Never stop rocking it, okay? <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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  3. YAAAAS. It's these kind of ideas that get stuck in my head and arise when I am in the middle of a lil self-loathing party. I love the layout of this post, and the pics are BEAUTIFUL.

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  4. WOAH. I AM BLOWN AWAY BY THESE WORDS. I needed to hear this since I am having troubles forgiving someone. Thank you Abbiee! <3

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  5. "I want to forgive, forgive, forgive, because I thought it was impossible until proven possible by the hands that crafted my blood and bone." Love this so much!

    This whole post was beautiful and much needed.

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  6. Wow <3 THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. Your analogy is beautiful. Keeping this tucked away in my mind for when I need it :) THANK YOU.

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  7. Super great post! Such a wonderful reminder. Thank you!

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  8. Oh, Abbiee, how timely is this. Most days, I feel like my thermostat is broken, but maybe it's just clogged with a bunch of lies I've mistaken for truth. Thank you for writing such beautiful words <3

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