"I Messed Up... So Now What?" A 3 Step Guide to Cleaning Up Your Mess
Whether it was pushing boundaries with your significant other, or making the decision to look at that website you know you shouldn’t be on, you messed up. So what’s next?
How do you not partner with shame? How do you move forward in a healthy way? We totally understand, check out our 3 step guide to cleaning up your mess.
Step One: Own It
First things first, we’ve got to own the fact that we made a mistake. If we continually blame our choices on someone else, we’re continually giving away our ability to be a powerful person. The ad might have popped up on our laptop on accident, or our significant other may have made it really easy to go further - but ultimately you made the decision to continue. When we stop putting the fault on the other person, or an outside source - we instantly get out of the victim mentality and have access to power again!
*As a disclaimer, we’re not talking about sexual abuse or sexual assault. If you did not give consent, that is not okay. We’re so sorry if this happened. We bless you to find help and healing for these wounds. God is in the business of restoration!
Step Two: Repentance (The Lord, Ourselves, and the People Involved)
Have you ever made a bad decision and instantly felt distant from God? Well, it’s not because God is hiding from you, in fact, it says in Romans 8:37-38 that nothing can separate us from Him. One of the reasons we feel that disconnect is because of shame. Shame likes to creep in and build a wall between you and the heart of God, giving the illusion of Him being far from you. Sometimes we can believe the lie that shame and punishment will restore us in the aftermath of a mistake - but the truth is… Shame isn’t your savior, Jesus is! Repentance is what helps tear down that wall of shame and restore your innocence and relationship with Him. True repentance is more than just, “I’m sorry”. We like to say that repentance is an apology with action behind it. Meaning, we’re not just apologizing for our mistake - but we’re making active choices to not end up in that place again.
After we’ve repented with the Lord, we need to repent to ourselves. Sounds strange, but when we made that not-so-great decision we actually broke trust with ourselves. Take time to apologize for not being kind to yourself in that moment, and then remind yourself of who God says you are!
Lastly, if another person was involved in this mistake - we cannot leave them out of the equation! Sit with God and ask Him to restore your view of them, and regain a healthy value for them that isn’t directly tied to sexuality. Repent to them for not keeping them safe at that moment, then let them know the active steps you’re going to take in order to move forward in a healthy way. Understand that they may need time to rebuild trust - that’s okay. Be sure to give them the space they may need to find healing!
Step Three: Create a Game Plan
We’ve owned our mess, repented to God, ourselves, and the other person, so now what? It’s time to create a game plan! When creating a game plan, the best place to start is with community and accountability. Get people you trust in your life - like mentors, people you respect, and steady friends who can speak truth and remind you of your identity in God when you feel vulnerable. This will be vital when it comes to cleaning up your mess because now you have a safe space to be honest and get healthy feedback. Having trouble finding community? Join a small group, ask the resource team at your church what they have available, start somewhere. Don’t wait until friends magically appear, be active in your pursuit for a healthy community. You got this!
Next, ask yourself what your triggers are when it comes to the area you keep stumbling in. Then take time to write out alternatives for when those triggers come up. Are you dealing with an addiction to masturbation, especially when you’re bored? Write out a list of activities or things that make you come alive. Now you have a list of fun things to do to combat that old trigger! Do you struggle with going too far with your significant other at night? Don’t throw date night out completely, but make a plan to not sit in the car together until 2 am where it’s easy to push past boundaries. Tell your community what your game-plan is and give them permission to check in on you!
We know that walking the journey of purity isn’t always easy, but it’s well worth it! You got this!