Without realizing it, as women we can easily spend the majority of our time feeling guilty. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much guilt had a say in my life. I have to serve at my church a certain amount of times in a certain amount of ministries or else I feel guilty. I have to have dinner ready by 6’ o clock or else I feel guilty. I have to have the house clean 24/7 or else I feel guilty. I have to attend every single thing I get invited to or else I feel guilty. I can’t let the laundry pile up too high, the dishes in the sink get too full, or the bathroom go a week without being cleaned or else I feel guilty. And I better not dare think about resting or taking some time for myself if all of these things have not been completed. And even when they have and I sit down with a bowl of popcorn to watch Gilmore Girls, I feel guilty because there are other duties and people I should be attending to.
Does anybody else feel like that?
Guilt is ruling our life and we need to change that. When we do things out of guilt we have lost sight of the true meaning and purpose behind what we do, and therefore lose a sense of self and self-worth. You and I are way too valuable to go about feeling guilty. We were not created to be victims but to be victors.
“Take heart! I have overcome the world!” (New International Version, John 16.33)
“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (NIV, Ephesians 6:10)
“for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (NIV, 1 John 5.4)
The scriptures about our victory, righteousness, and worth go on and on and on. So why is it then that we have allowed ourselves to become victims of guilt? I don’t know, but it is time for us to break free. Here are some practical steps that are going to help us overcome feeling guilty, so that together we can live free and abundant lives doing the things we want to do out of love, joy, and peace instead of from a place of guilt.
Steps to overcoming guilt:
1. Stop doing things BECAUSE you feel guilty.
Did you just take on yet ANOTHER duty, knowing you already have no time and no desire to do it simply because you felt guilty? Perhaps it’s time to learn asmall, yet powerful, two-letter word: “no.” Yes to another project means no to the things that really matter in your life. Time that could be spent with God, your spouse, your children, working on the things God has placed on your heart, and time to rest. We all only get 24 hours a day. When you are being presented with a new project ask yourself: Is that really worth my time?
2. Stop feeling guilty about the way you do things.
What you do, when you do it, and how you do it will always look different than the way others operate around you. The sooner we realize this the sooner we will be free from guilt. We are each called to run our own race and no two races look alike. Learn to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and timing. God’s way is always perfect.
3. Stop feeling guilty about the things you want to do.
It’s okay that you want to take a break. It’s okay that you want to leave some things on your to-do list for tomorrow so that you can get to bed early and catch an episode of Parks and Rec. It’s okay that you want to order pizza tonight because you had a crazy day at work and your mind is exhausted. It’s okay that you want to treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure that you only have time for once a year. Grace girl, grace. If nobody else has told you and you feel like you need permission I am here to tell you that IT IS OKAY to do what you want to do.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others, and then feeling guilty.
How many times have you found yourself scrolling through Instagram and thinking “well my dinner didn’t look that perfect tonight” or “wow her house is really nice I wish I had a nice house” or “look at everything she is doing! What am I doing with my life?!” I’m sure we have all experienced this numerous times. Stop comparing your life to someone else’s and stop making yourself feel guilty about what you are or aren’t doing. If you are following the leading of the Holy Spirit and doing what He is guiding you to do then you are exactly where you need to be and there is no reason to doubt it or feel bad about it.
I’d like to conclude by saying this statement again: grace girl, grace. Our God is full of love and grace. We really need to work on understanding that truth about Him and how it applies to our life. You aren’t expected to be perfect and to do things perfectly. Just do your best, and then there is grace and with grace there is love.