How We Start Over: Lessons in Accepting Forgiveness

Hearing for the First Time

One morning recently, as I drove to work I sang along to one of my gym favorites: Start Over by Flame featuring NF. It’s such a catchy song and I love the words Flame raps during each verse. I’ve listened to it so much that I sing along, most of the time not really realizing the words I’m singing.


That morning was different. These words hit me so hard tears streamed down my face…

You can carry the past on your shoulders
Or you can start over
Regrets, no matter what you’ve gone through
Jesus, He gave it all to save you
He carried the cross on His shoulders
So you can start over


Guilt Built Up

My past, especially the last 12 years flashed in my mind… I used to cringe & become nauseated when I think about the girl I was in college. Manipulative, rude, self-centered, always with an agenda. I was my priority. Looking back, I used to just be so embarrassed of who I had become. Even though I’m not that girl anymore, and haven’t been for a long time now, there was still a time when I just couldn’t let it go. I was always feeling like there’s more that could be done to fix it.


These words ring true for how I felt for so long…

I know you feelin’ regret
(Like I) brought this all on myself
(Like I) messed it up big time, and this time I don’t deserve God’s help
(Thinking) how can God forgive me after knowin’ what I did (can He?)
After knowin’ that I hid from Him, and I stayed away and backslid (listen)
Jesus came for the sick (so true)
Jesus came for the weak (amen)
Jesus came to give good news and have set the captives free (amen)
Jesus came for the poor (amen)
Jesus came with the keys (amen)
Jesus came to remove the chains so the prisoners are released (amen)


Starting Over…

And then, I did some work with a mentor. I put all that “stuff” on paper. And then we walked through it together. We cried and laughed and cried some more. It was the most loving and impactful afternoon of my life. At the end of all that “stuff”, my friend asked me if I wanted to continue to be that person. “NO!” I exclaimed eagerly. I prayed to God and asked Him help me to not be that girl anymore. And I continually ask Him for that on a regular basis.


I know something changed that day, but I really haven’t given it a ton of thought. I felt so relieved to not let my old behaviors and lifestyle weighing me down in my mind which helped me just keep moving forward. Talking about my past no longer made me feel ashamed or embarrassed. It was almost like I was describing someone else, or if people were telling stories about me, I felt very disconnected from who they were describing.


How Does the Flip Switch?

So what’s my point in sharing this whole process? Well, that morning when I heard this song differently, I started thinking. And it dawned on me that Jesus truly set me free that day. I’m talking true freedom. I had no idea that was what was happening! But the words in this song helped me to see that because I was willing to lay it all down at His feet and ask for His forgiveness, He gave that and so much more.


The words in the second verse help me see this was all part of His plan for me and my life, and you and yours…

See, His love is deeper than the ocean floor
Run to His arms like an open door
God the Father sent the Son
So men can come and be free and ain’t gotta run no more (that’s what He said)
Come to me, all who are weary; with heavy burdens, I’ll give you rest
Separated you from your sin, as far as the east is from the west (He said)
Thrown in the sea of forgetfulness
What sin? What offense?
And when them waves come crashing in, I’ll calm the winds in your defense (that’s what He said)
So, whatever it is that you’ve done
He put that punishment on His Son
You’ll never come under His condemnation conquer sin and Satan, and his accusations
So, dry your eyes, lift up your head
Hallelujah! God is not dead!
Plus He gave us His peace, and He took our guilt on the cross instead
Took our place and now we embrace
A clean slate with the eyes of faith
We know unfailing love, unfailing love, it’s not too late, start over


Those words give me chills — He took our guilt on the cross and took our place. Don’t we owe it to Him to live free? He gave the ability to not necessarily forget my past, but to be set free. To start over. To live a different life. And I do my best to do that every day. By inviting God into each day, to walk with me side by side. It definitely hit me that day that I’m a different person than I was a few years ago. I’m by no means perfect, and I still make lots of mistakes. But the difference today is that choose to look at those mistakes as learning experiences and immediately try to find a solution, or what I could have done better.

And now you can see why these words in the chorus of this song bring me so much joy!

Everybody’s got a blank page
A story they’re writing today
A wall that they’re climbing
You can carry the past on your shoulders
Or you can start over
Regrets, no matter what you’ve gone through
Jesus, He gave it all to save you
He carried the cross on His shoulders
So you can start over

Please enjoy  Start Over by Flame ft. NF in its entirety


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