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Posts Tagged ‘Guilt’

You awake on a Monday morning, in the midst of the winter season …

got guilt?

You are a mom or a dad …

got guilt?

You are a son or daughter …

a student …

an employee …

a follower of Christ …

got guilt?

Ever feel that you will never measure up?

be good enough?

be smart enough?

be successful enough?

be strong enough?

be

enough?

 

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STOP!

Stop striving!

Stop pushing!

Stop doing,

and working,

and just …

stop!

The best thing we can ever DO, is to realize that the DOING has been done.

“God demonstrates his own love for us, in this:
while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

He didn’t wait for us to do something. He didn’t wait for us to be better, to be stronger, to be smarter. He did what needed to be done ahead of time, before we even had a chance to take our first breath.

He did it all,
all for us.

He came to do what we could never do for ourselves, be our redeemer, our savior … the eraser of our guilt …

He is the reason we no longer live under condemnation (strong and damning disapproval), the reason we no longer need to live with … guilt.

“It is by grace you have been save,
through faith-

and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God-

not by works,
so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

We cannot ever DO anything, to improve our situation. Our doing is eternally eclipsed by what has already been done FOR us.

This is love …

without works,

without guilt.

Jesus loves us, not as we should be, but as we are …

flawed, weak, sin-filled,

even guilt-ridden.

He loves us unconditionally, but he never pushes himself at us, never guilt-trips us, never demands more that what he has already paid the immeasurable price for …

How he loves us!

“I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
when I think about the way …
Oh how he loves us all”

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It is everywhere. It is given, it is received. It comes in different forms, and from different sources.There are opportunities everywhere to find it, and if you cannot find it … it will find you! But where can one go to escape the inescapable … guilt!

Maybe families? Hum, I don’t think so. As a mom, we know all about guilt … both receiving it and handing it out! We cannot seem to forgive ourselves for every failure of our kids, from them not being toilet trained at six months to their decision to work and not go to university on full scholarship. On the other hand, we also hand it out … from telling our preschoolers that we will cry if they don’t do as we wish, to asking our adult children if they forgot our phone number. So, I guess families are not a guilt-free zone.

Maybe schools? Hum, I don’t think so. Schools, their staff and students, are pretty liberal in the giving and receiving of guilt. Teaches tell students that they are not trying hard enough, and parents tell teachers they need to work harder to make  ‘Johnny’ succeed, since they do not even have to work in the summer. So, I guess schools are not a guilt-free zone.

Maybe at your kids recreational activities? Hum, I don’t think so. Everyone with kids involved in activities from sports to music to arts to drama knows that ‘parent participation’ is the motto! And if you are not participating, when you arrive to bring ‘Sally’ to her martial arts class … all eyes will be on you! And, by the time you leave you will feel as though you are worthless! Of course if you are very active in your kids activities, there’s the finger pointing guilt-laden accusations that ‘you are at the top of the food chain, and you better run this club, group, committee well. And if you are the instructor, or coach every weakness of ‘Jimmy’ is your fault, because you are being paid, or simply because you are teaching them. So, I guess recreational activities are not a guilt-free zone.

Maybe when you are shopping? Hum, I don’t think so. I’ve certainly had times where I have heard an irate customer verbally go up one side of an employee, and down the other … all because the store has sold out on an item! I’ve also had the experience of a cashier giving me the wrong change, or ringing in an item incorrectly, and when I mention it to them, they look at me like I have ruined, not only their day, but their entire existence! So, I guess shopping is not guilt free! (and I didn’t even mention the guilt of making a purchase, and how you feel uneasy (guilty) about telling your hubby or wifey. Or the guilt of purchasing the chocolate bar. Or, heck, I know what ‘change room’ guilt is … try squeezing me and all my cellulite into a bathing suit! … but, I digress).

Maybe at your place of worship? Hum, I don’t think so. There are expectations (written and not … but mostly unwritten) that when you join a church, you will be involved. And some seem to think that means involved in everything, from cleaning the building, to teaching a class, to feeding the poor, to singing in the choir, to hosting a group … and what your gifts are (or there lack of) don’t even matter! On the other hand, if you are a leader or clergy in a place of worship every decision you make, every word you speak can be responded to with ‘you are out of touch with the congregation’. So, I guess places of worship are not a guilt-free zone.

Maybe when you are eating? Ha! Ha! Ha! Do I really have to expand here?  I    d o n ‘ t    t h i n k    s o !

But, there is one completely guilt-free zone … it is relationship with God. He never demands, never expects, never gives you ‘that look’. And when you or I fail, or forget, or just don’t do what we maybe should have done, or said … He doesn’t turn away from us. He is always waiting … for us. It is for our freedom, that God sent His Son. And thank goodness … He is a guilt-free zone!

“Christ has set us free to live a free life.

So take your stand!

Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you”

Galations 5:1

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Crying it Out

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“Mom, did you let any of us cry it out when we were young?”

There it was, a child to parent question, that can zip my lips faster than crazy glue.

It’s not the only one. There is also,

  • “did you have drug-free childbirth?”
  • “did you breastfeed all of your babies until they were one year (or two, or six)?
  • “how do you feel about circumcision?”
  • “did your kids watch TV as preschoolers?”
  • “did you get your kids immunized?”

My daughter’s question was a fair one, a reasonable one, after all she is a Psychology student, and numerous psychological theories deal with issues of nurture and attachment. But, I was not ready to talk about such theories … I am still, and may always, be living the motherly existence of being chased down by momma guilt.

Momma guilt is a most powerful, dark and destructive force. It can erase the ten good things a mother does with one newspaper article, one crime drama, one conversation with a mom who ‘did it all right’ and is currently wearing the coveted mother-of-the-year crown on her perfectly coiffed hair.

I wrote about Momma Guilt a couple of years ago, especially in regard to those perfect TV moms, that so many of us grew up with.

But, the TV moms of the past have been replaced by the scientific study, or the psychological theory about development and attachment (or the mom next door), and they are so convincing with their charts, their studies and their scientific process.

But what they tell us (and I still keep needing to remind myself) is what they know from their studies, their theories and their observations … today. The results tomorrow might just be different, they might point us to a very different direction.

They are also only telling us one side of the child nurture and rearing process … that of the child, not taking other circumstances into account, such as physical or mental health of the mother, familial circumstances and support (including the role of the daddy), family or cultural history.

The difficulty with being a mom is that no matter what investment we make into the lives of our children, we will indeed make mistakes, and some of them will be whoppers! We will say things, do things and make decisions that will result life-long effects in how our children see themselves, others and their place in this world. We will hurt them, we will make decisions that leave them deficit in areas, we will over-do things that will leave them ‘damaged.’

And, if that is all we consider about our roles as mothers, we will have enough momma guilt to carry our bodies six feet down.

But …

we do what we do, as moms,

with the greatest of intent.

with the most deep desire for success of our children.

with an immeasurable amount of love.

and we know, from the moment that we hold that perfect personification of our heart’s beat, that we simply are not qualified to do justice to our child.

but, that does not stop us from putting more effort into the task,

than we put into any other in our lifetimes.

Today, my three earthly children are speaking to me

each one has hugged, or been hugged by me

I am satisfied to say that today … just today, I am a successful mom,

no momma guilt needed.

And my answer to “Mom, did you let any of us cry it out when we were young?”

“I’ll let you know later … when you are a mom.”

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From the first time I heard This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham, I loved it! I couldn’t wait to go home and put it on repeat on YouTube (hubby and the kids  l  o  v  e  it when I put songs on repeat (NOT!), and to check out the lyrics (rather than my typical singing along with words I ‘think’ fit).

That first day that I heard it, driving in my minivan, I was feeling rather melancholic. But as the dance music hit my ears, and the easy lyrics penetrated by heart, it was no time until I was tapping my fingers and looking like a bobble head in my driver seat.

For me, the lyrics of this song, echoing in my downcast head was a God Wink, a gift of encouragement, a halt to my naval gazing.

And that is what grace received with open hands does … it takes our eyes, our focus, off of ourselves.

According to http://www.freedictionary.com, grace is “mercy; clemency; pardon” … funny how those definitions bring prison and guilt to mind, because without grace we are doomed to life in prison … a certain hell. God gives the sentence of eternal life through grace. This is a pardon from guilt and sins, through the stepping in of a guiltless one to make our payment in full. One, without sin, taking the place of all who are sin-filled.

“This IS amazing grace
This IS unfailing love
That you would take my place
That you would bear my cross
You laid down your life
That I would be set free”

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As we continue with all of the last minute preparations for the ‘big day’ obligation, guilt and fatigue can begin to take over our existence and moment by moment lives. Our duties, our jobs can come to feel as weights upon our lives.

The guest post today is by Ann Volskamp, who was also my guest post two week ago. It is short, and sweet and will put breath back beneath your sails as you look for purpose in your tasks.

After reading The Best Way to do Christmas Cleaning I think you might just have a new understanding of what it is to do holy work.

Oh, and you might want to purchase Ann Voskamp’s book, for someone you love (or for yourself), “One Thousand Gifts

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With a title like this one, I know of at least one person who will read this blog post!

I have been married to my hubby for almost twenty-three years, and yes, he has taught me a thing or two. Probably not as much as he would have liked me to have learned from him in that time 😉 .

The best thing that he taught me has made me a better person, a better mom, a better neighbor, a better colleague and better at my job (probably a better wife too, but hubby would be better at discerning that). It is something that he told me he recently learned from an elderly retired pastor, but really he has been living it as long as I have known him.

This thing that I have learned from hubby is to take people at face value. To not impart guessing into their motives, but to accept them as they are.

It sounds good … it is not easy.

I am one who has a tendency towards discernment. I have an inner ability to grasp and comprehend what is obscure (definition thanks to the Merriam-Webster dictionary). Another way to put it is that I often get a ‘feeling’ or have a sense about individuals when I first meet them, that is often, but not always true. This gift tends to make me very open to some, and very guarded to others.

If I get a bad ‘feeling’ about someone, I tend to treat them with suspicion, distrust, and doubt. It is so easy for me to hang a cloud over that persons head, and for me to treat them in a manner in which they are convicted before they are even accused. I give no opportunity for them to plead their case. I act a judge and jury, and they are imprisoned by arrogant way I yield my ‘gift’.

What hubby has modeled, in my lifetime with him, is that he gives people the benefit of the doubt. He believes well of people, until he has evidence, from them directly of something different. He believes in people with no judgment on them. He gives them the benefit of the doubt. He always believes, always hopes, always perseveres.

Hum, that sounds familiar.

It sounds like 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

To love someone is to do all of the above. To pre-judge is to never allow others the opportunity to show their best side, and likewise it never allows us to show ours either.

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