Repentance is the act of reflecting on oneself, admitting you were wrong, feeling regret for wrongful living, and committing to live for God. An experience of repentance is the decision to turn from one direction to another. Turning toward God is filled with hope, joy, love, and peace; it changes your life: thoughts, desires, decisions, relationships, and purpose in life are no longer for yourself but for his glory.
What are we turning from, to God?
It is important to examine the life we are turning from so that we can expose and repent of our selfish desires. The reason why many are still troubled after experiences of repentance is because they have not come to the end of themselves. They are still crying to be in control of their lives, crying to give God orders. If you have spent many years building your own tower of success and self-importance, you will not want to leave it. You have created and are invested in your own salvation project. These deeper desires continue to hold power in our lives. Pride is the part of you that loves the self-orientated status quo, even when it is not working. Although we may repent in our external actions, our repentance is often too shallow.
What does a deeper repentance look like?
Identifying and experiencing our emotions is a step toward deeper repentance. In the minds of many, the repression of feelings has become a sign of spiritual maturity. Denying anger, ignoring pain, covering depression, withdrawing from conflict, excusing anxiety, escaping from loneliness, avoiding confusing doubts, and turning off our sexuality have become a part of our spiritual lives. But taking the time to focus on your emotions is helpful because your emotions indicate what you want. Why are you happy? Why are you angry? Why are you lonely? In neglecting our emotions we are false to ourselves and we avoid being honest and vulnerable before God.
It will take courage to identify your emotions and deeper desires, but it will lead to a fuller understanding of yourself and God. A deeper repentance leads to a life where you no longer have an image to protect or project but a freedom as a child loved by God. Allow God to penetrate the emotional component of your life to expose untouched areas of your soul.