Are you plagued by guilt and shame or have you been in the past? It’s time to leave those painful emotions behind. Tricia Goyer shares a 5-minute process with 5 steps that will lead you to freedom and a happy heart. It starts with confession. It starts with confession.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Tricia on an episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast. During that episode, we talked about how to maintain a happy heart despite chaotic circumstances. If you missed that episode, you can listen here [How To Keep Your Heart Happy in the Midst of Chaos – Episode 176].
Be sure to read to the end for a book giveaway!
A Happy Heart Starts with Confession
(An excerpt from Heart Happy by Tricia Goyer used with permission)
by Tricia Goyer
Guilt and shame . . . each of us faces these emotions. They are part of my story—a dark, depressing part. Maybe these emotions have plagued you in the past. Perhaps they still do. As you’ve probably figured out, trying to ignore complicated emotions gets us nowhere.
Emotions are signals that something is going on in our hearts. We often label them “bad” or “good,” but every emotion reflects what is going on within us. Emotions such as guilt and shame are billboards telling us that we have fallen short of God’s standards and need to make things right with Him. Complex emotions won’t go away until we deal with the root of the pain.
A happy heart starts with confession
Like me, you can go to Jesus and confess those sins. Confession that comes from a sorrowful and humble heart will be accepted by God. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” When you confess, Jesus wipes away all your sins as if they never happened. He will not reject your brokenness. In fact, He welcomes you with open arms. But you must be willing to confess and accept that you’ve been forgiven.
Years ago, one of my daughters started walking with a limp. At first, I thought she was simply trying to act silly. When I asked about it, she told me her foot had been bothering her. We looked at it a few times but didn’t see anything wrong. Then after some probing (literal probing), my husband found the tiniest piece of glass in the sole of her foot. Once it was dug out (insert drama), her foot felt fine. The pain had caused a limp, and under further observation, we discovered the source of the pain. Sometimes we get so used to limping through life that we forget there’s anything different. Pain is a known companion, one we believe will always be there. But it doesn’t have to be. Probing for the source of our pain allows us to stop and deal with it. If the basis of our pain is sin, then confession is the first step to healing.
When we come to God and admit our mistakes with humility, we give Him permission to remove those sins from our hearts for good. This process might cause a little drama as bottled-up emotions rush out, and that’s okay. Emotions are signals. They are also pathways to releasing all we’ve been holding inside. God made us this way. It’s not easy to stop and confess. It’s also not easy to accept God’s complete forgiveness. We’re people of habit, and changing our thoughts and actions is hard, even when our hearts have been changed.
Walking in freedom
In my daughter’s case, we found it humorous that she still limped at times. Limping had become a habit. Sometimes, we do the same. Even though our heart is clean, our mind still remembers, and our responses have become routine. Our hearts are fully forgiven, but sometimes our minds disagree. I mean, how can such big sins be wiped out with one simple prayer?
As I learned through a Bible study for post-abortive women, when we ask Jesus for forgiveness, He forgives all our sins, not just some. To choose sins that are “too big” for Jesus to forgive is the same as telling Him that His sacrifice wasn’t enough. Telling ourselves we need to carry those “too big” sins by ourselves is a false narrative. We tell ourselves we shouldn’t walk in freedom. We hand out consequences instead.
The consequences we give ourselves, even after we accept Jesus’s forgiveness, aren’t just wrong— they’re damaging. We still see ourselves as sinful in our own eyes and in God’s. We struggle to draw close to Him because we feel we don’t measure up, when the truth is, Jesus has already cleansed us and made us whole. Romans 3:23–24 says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” When we truly accept that our heart is transformed completely, we will feel less pressure to “do things right” or “make up” for what we’ve done. We allow ourselves to accept God’s love, right here and now.
Take a few minutes to allow God to search your heart (Psalm 139:23). Is there anything you need to confess? Confess it. And after your prayer of confession, understand those sins no longer exist. In their book, The Perfect You (Salem Books, 2021), authors Andrew Farley and Tim Chalas write,
Sure Jesus paid the price, but that price was not the cost of designing a specialized filter for God to look through. It was the cost of fundamentally transforming who you are at your very root. It was the cost of making you genuinely forgiven, genuinely righteous, and genuinely—not “positionally” completely and truly—good.
When we understand this, happiness fills our hearts. Without confession of sins, there is no room for God’s love to dwell. But after we confess, a vast space opens up, allowing God’s love to rush in.
Take time to rejoice in the newness of your heart. Do you feel God’s love? Yes, it’s been waiting for you all along. He’s been waiting for you. Breathe in, breathe out, and in this moment, center your heart on this fact: Jesus loves me this I know . . .
5 Minutes to Connect
- Ask God to search your heart.
- Confess your sins and mistakes to Him.
- Imagine God wiping away those sins as if they never existed.
- Embrace the knowledge that you are genuinely forgiven. Pray and ask God to help you see yourself that way.
- Write down Isaiah 1:18 on a notecard and post it where you can see it: “Come now, let’s settle this, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
About Tricia Goyer
Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of ten, grandmother of many, and wife to John. Somewhere amid the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales that delight and entertain readers, and nonfiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. A USA-Today bestselling author, Tricia has published seventy-five books to date and more than 500 articles. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award finalist. Tricia is a member of the blogging team at TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites. In addition to her roles as wife, mom, and author, Tricia volunteers in her community and mentors teen moms. Learn more about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com.
To connect with Tricia Goyer: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, How To Keep Your Heart Happy in the Midst of Chaos – Episode 176, Tricia is giving away a free copy of her book, Heart Happy: Staying Centered in God’s Love During Chaotic Circumstances.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about walking in freedom from painful emotions and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, September 5, 2022. Continental United States only.
(If there are affiliate links in this post, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you)).
As a caregiver for my husband, my heart isn’t always happy…or compassionate. But Jesus knows my hear and love and stands wiith me in providing strength and grace and comfort as I go through these hectic times.
So much of this blogpost aligns with what God has been teaching me about my heart! The 5 steps fit right in with what I need: confessing my sin and then visualizing God wiping my heart clean. It’s like cleaning a window—the dirt hasn’t just been covered up, it’s gone! My guilt and shame need to be gone as well. Thank you for such a timely message!
So glad you were blessed.
I find that confession does lead to a more joyful response. I have been trying to reconcile with my younger son and found my efforts of no avail. Finally I confessed to the Lord of my anxiety about the brokenness and the possibility that I had caused this breakdown in communication. I instantly felt a flood of relief that I am doing all I can to repair any misunderstanding and if he is unable to accept me, I must let the Lord change him. I hope in the near future the time with him will be sweeter. I need to hear more about how to be one who can be a repairer of any breach. Thanks for thoughts you shared.
I myself have to daily walk this out. Painful memories always seem to make their way back into our memories and you can still feel a bit of a sting inside. I myself have to continually stand on God’s word to get me through these moments when past memories pop up. Sometimes all it takes for a memory to pop up is when you see or hear something that reminds you of a painful or traumatic time in your past. Guilt is also a hard one and once again I have to use the word to remind myself that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. To me, it is so much easier to forgive others rather than it is forgiving myself. Outside of Satan himself, I am my worst enemy often. When my mind gets to wandering and I start feeling shame, fear, unforgiven, unwanted, unloved etc…I remind myself that I walk by faith not by sight nor my feelings. I start reading and speaking scriptures out loud to remind me what Jesus said. I really like this blog. You are so right that confession is like a breath of fresh air. Something about coming clean with God actually makes you feel clean and happy as well. I feel much better about myself when I know I am right with God. Thank you for sharing this blog with us.
There was a time when ai as angry with very one and about it everything. One afternoon I wrote a page and a half on a lined notebook “I am angry at you God because…” and I filled up every line beginning with those words and ending with every reason I was angry at God. I ended by asking for his forgiveness. And immediately amazing peace flooded my mind and soul. Even my house was peaceful. God’s forgiveness is vital for our peace!
I LOVE this blog and I also enjoyed the podcast. Tricia, watching you on the You Tube podcast, you are so real and transparent about your struggles and I do love your smile and features when you talk about ALL your kids. Goodness, what a precious family you have and you write wonderful fiction books. I have read several of those too. I took away from this message not only the confession part as the beginning of having a happy heart but also the receiving of the forgiveness that Father gives us when we confess our sins and repent, never to do them again. It seems so hard to truly believe that we have received forgiveness so that our sins are washed away, they are gone. We needlessly put ourselves through pain when we do not receive God’s gift of being white as snow. I am learning and this message sure helped. Thank you! I will share this on FB and I would LOVE your book!!! God bless you for faithfully fulfilling your calling to write, be a wife, mom and so many other hats that you wear.
Thank you Michelle and Tricia for sharing these 5 minutes to connect. I’ve gleaned a great perspective within.
Visiting from Let’s Have Coffee #7