Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Living With the Heavy Weight of Guilt
Posted by Diana Dart
I have a confession to make. I feel guilty bringing up the subject of guilt on a blog that's all about encouragement. It just seems wrong. But bear with me...
Over the last &#@! months (who wants to be reminded of how terribly slow their spiritual walk is, huh?) the Lord has been gently washing away layers of the sticky grime coating my heart and mind. And as dark as that may sound, those merciful and loving actions of my Saviour are perhaps the most encouraging thing I've ever experienced.
Do you live with guilt? Are the words "I'm sorry" emblazoned on your tongue? Do you constantly strive to please people no matter how it affects you?
Are you compulsive? Do you throw yourself into busyness in an effort to reach... something ever unattainable? Can you remember the last time you felt acceptable or good enough?
I'm with you.
And you know what? Apparently this is not how God wants you to live. How do I know that? You see, there's this book that God wrote...
Try doing a keyword search for "freedom" in your Bible concordance. My favourite result...
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Cor. 3:17
Honestly, I still haven't figured out what freedom tastes like. I'm only beginning to smell the aroma of liberty pie coming from the Lord's kitchen. But I'm getting pretty tired of my strict diet of heavy guilt and incessant striving. I'm ready to indulge in what God has for me.
Hard as I tried, I could never really do enough to take away the guilt. Burnt out emotionally more times than I can count, in many cases the only thing that brought me out of that place was a new idea, a new compulsion, another path to run down in headlong abandon.
So I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do.
In my exhaustion the still, small voice hit with the gentleness of a warm spring breeze.
"But God, don't you want me to work hard? To do the right things? To be a good wife, mom, friend and ministry worker? To stop making all of these mistakes?"
Relationship. And faith.
"But, but, but... what about assuaging this guilt? How will I ever scrub it away? What can I actually DO?"
Relationship with Me, dear child.
Verses are beginning to come back to me through the fog of busyness and guilt. Scriptures about a righteousness through faith, about God removing my sins as far away as the east is from the west, about becoming a part of God's family.
And God is teaching me that what I have to do is concentrate on my relationship with Him. (Well, obviously I'm expected to do laundry, kiss my husband, read to my kids and file my taxes as well, but not with the same motivation that has driven me thus far.)
God is revealing that much of what I have been carrying around as part of my emotional wardrobe is false guilt. And I'm getting an inkling of what Jesus meant when He announced that Isaiah 61 was fulfilled with His coming -
"He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
Sigh. My spirit is getting lighter already.
thanks to sxc/secureroot (shackles), sxc/luzdesigns (pies) for the photos