I struggled with self-hate and all that goes with it beginning in my teens.

I based my self-esteem on what I did or didn’t accomplish or by what others thought of me. The relentless need to be loved and accepted drove me to unhealthy relationships, which left emotional scars. Each time I was hurt, my world grew dimmer.

My regrets seemed to outweigh the good things I’d done – by a huge margin. By the time I was in my twenties, emotional darkness closed in. I knew that if I didn’t begin (once and for all) to trust God, the darkness would overtake me.

I sought Christian counseling and spent lots of time praying and reading my Bible. I came across Psalm 18:28. It wasn’t the first time I’d read this verse, but this time, its message “took.” It says, “For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness” (ESV).

I clung to this verse. I desperately wanted God to lighten my darkness.

It was around this time that I learned the value of meditating on Scripture.

Regularly meditating (pondering) on Scripture changed my thought life. It helped me see things differently. I was God’s child – loved and valued unconditionally. I knew God had forgiven me for my destructive choices and suicidal attempts. I finally understood my heavenly Father had a purpose for me. This understanding gave me a brighter outlook on my life – and about myself.

Ultimately, I realized I needed God to change my heart. I prayed for Him to help me desire Him and His love for me more than the love and approval of those around me. Eventually, I was even able to love and forgive those who had hurt me.

Today when I keep God’s Word in the center of my thinking, I’m healthier, happier and more focused. More like the person I pray to be. The person God created me to be.

What about you? If regret is making your world a darker place, hiding God’s Word in your heart will invite Him to show up right in the middle of your circumstances, your relationships – even in your thought life.

As we begin preparing our hearts for Easter, will you ask God to reach into the areas of your life that desperately need it? Will you allow His presence to lighten your darkness?

Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. You can reach her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com.