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But I Don’t ‘Feel’ Forgiven…Part 2, What is Repentance?

IMG_3898Confession. Forgiveness. Repentance. Three essential steps to eradicating the stronghold of sin in our lives.

We tend to be pros at confessing our sins and asking God for forgiveness. But we suck at repentance.

But first, what exactly is repentance?

Webster describes it as “the action or process of repenting especially for misdeeds or moral shortcomings.” Okay…so what is repenting? It’s “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret or contrition; to change one’s mind.”

That makes sense, right?

And when compared to the Hebrew and Greek renditions of this word, there’s agreement, with one significant difference—when we turn from sin, we turn back to God.

Understand, repentance is no flippant, “I’m sorry.”

Repentance is throwing yourself on God’s mercy, realizing you’re entirely dependant on Him for everything. And then putting aside your pride and humbly following Him.

In my blog post, But I Don’t Feel Forgiven, I asked my friend:

“Have you repented of your sin? Have you turned from it? Or do you find yourself sliding back into those same old patterns?

“That my sweet Sister could be what you’re feeling—conviction for willfully riding the merry-go-round of your sin. Meaning, you fall into your old patterns of behavior, feel convicted and guilty, and ask for forgiveness. Then you’re “good” for a little while or even a long while. But eventually, you find yourself in the same old place. You feel guilt. You ask for forgiveness. And around and around you go.”

The look on her face all but screamed, Yes, That’s it!! But she asked, “Is there no hope for me?”


But first, we need to STOP the Merry-Go-Round! We must get off and walk away—never to return.

We MUST “repent of [our] sins and turn to God, so that [our] sins may be wiped away.” (Acts 3:19)

I always start by reading and praying through Psalm 139 and encourage you to do the same.

Next, open your journal.

Oh, don’t give me that look. Yes, journal. (If you don’t have one, get one. An empty notebook will do.) And in your hand, write Psalm 139:23-24 in your favorite version of the Bible (here are a few different options ):

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life.



Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me;

Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about;

See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—

then guide me on the road to eternal life.


Then, spend some quality time in prayer.

I write mine out in my journal—uncensored. I don’t edit or hold anything back. I’m open. Vulnerable. Honest. Raw. Scary I know, but worth it!

Writing out our prayers is personal and takes time and reflection to complete. This recording allows us to better identify God’s faithfulness in answering those prayers later, helps us see how we’ve changed and grown, and forces us to face our sin head-on. Call it what it is. Confess it. And ask for forgiveness.

Beloved, as you pray sincerely ask God to open your mind and heart to make The Truth known. Ask for the courage and humility needed to face that Truth—because let’s be honest, you’re about to deal with things you’d rather not. But humbly, honestly, and bravely facing our depravity is the first step in repentance.

And when we vulnerably tell Him our sin, we’re not only forced to face and acknowledge it, but we take the burden off our back, hold in our hands, and are better able to release it—hand it over.

I often pray these verses and ask God to reveal my sins—especially those I’ve not yet identified, or ones I’ve turned a blind eye to. I also ask for perception and insight into what it is about my pet sins that keep drawing me back.

Third, pick up your pen and start writing.

Not sure what to write? No problem. Here are some questions to help get you started. (Keep in mind, a good counselor may be required to give you all the necessary tools to help you break the cycle, to help you off the merry-go-round.)

Once you have done this, lay it all down at Jesus’ feet. Let Him have ALL of it. And then LEAVE IT THERE!

Let His forgiveness wash over you, cleanse you and fill you. Claim it. Own it.

Then ask Him for a few things:

Oh Beloved,  the last thing I want to encourage you to do, is to start your day with sincere prayer (this could be 5 minutes or 25 minutes or whatever amount of time you need). And in that prayer ask for His grace to sustain you for that day. His mercies are new every morning. And He is faithful, Dear One. He is so faithful! Ask Him to help you live as the forgiven child you are. And let your light shine! Satan hates the light! Blind him, Dear One! Reflect God’s glory all over him. And saturate yourself with Jesus’ love and grace.


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