I'm reading Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow right now and I'm loving it! She hooks you from the very beginning, quoting a missionary who made a vow not to complain (even about the weather)... powerful stuff.
I had a pretty sucky day - you name it and it all came at me at once today - but in keeping with all that I'm learning from this book, I decided not to list my complaints, but instead list my confessions. When was the last time we actually confessed our sins? Other than Catholics, I don't know many who do this. We might admit to a past sin; now that we're all saved and fire-proofed, we can mention it without pause. But what about the sin we're walking around in right now?
I had quite a list - selfish, disrespectful, impatient, slow to forgive and quick to get angry, unloving - this is the abridged version; the real one is 4+ pages long.
So what's the point? to wallow in some sin and shame and guilt? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It's to remind myself a) of the importance and place that confession has (a discipline God tells us to do for our own benefit), and b) to never believe the lie that I'm "kinda doing ok" with sin - like I can "manage" it somehow without actually having to confess or own up to it. That's the worst. You know who that characterizes in the Bible? The Pharasees. I do not want to look in the mirror and see a Pharasee.
The whole point of confessing is fully owning up to it so that the next step - a crucial one to the process - repentance can be fully embraced. If you never quite admit that you did something wrong, it's hard to fully turn from what you didn't exactly claim to have done. It's a healthy part of the whole spiritual wellness thing if we truly move from confession to repentance and walk fully in the forgiveness that we know we've had since Christ said, "It is finished," over 2000 years ago.
It was done then and it is done now. We are forgiven. Period. Someone once said that living in sorrowful guilt (which is NOT what God intended as part of the process of maturation) is like hanging Jesus back on the cross every time you sin, and then begging for the forgiveness He's already given you. He was crucified once. He was buried once. He is resurrected. He is risen. And if we believe, our old selves are crucified with Christ and it is not us who live, but Christ in us, living and accomplishing His will for our lives.
All that to say, it was a really great exercise: instead of listing my complaints to God, I confessed my many sins and shortcoming before God. He already knew. They're already forgiven. I'm fully accepted. I'm loved unconditionally.
It turned around my sucky day and I feel better and a wee bit more mature in my faith. It moved me from a "I'm mad because the world owes me and things should be better than all this" list to a "I'm grateful that You love me and give freely of Your life and love and grace" list - a vast improvement.