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.
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)).