Do you grapple with it as much as I do?
Oh, not necessarily gut-stabbing guilt over some deep, dark secret sin, or even lingering guilt pangs over past mistakes. Although I’ve had some experience with both. And I suspect you have too.
The guilt that irritates me like a scratchy, stiff tag in my collar is over little things. Things that matter zilch in the grand scheme of things. Not even sin-induced guilt … more like Debbie-induced guilt for no legitimate reason.
For example, while I was enjoying a walk yesterday in the gloriously color-bedecked Fall Smokies, I harbored pangs of guilt that I was praising Papa God in the beauty of His Cathedral of Creation while several of my dearest friends are struggling with deeply oppressive life-altering problems elsewhere (you know who you are, dearest BFFs).
After all, I reasoned, what right do I have to escape reality’s stress-pool for a while and rejuvenate while these soul-sisters are smoldering in the embers of despair? I should be right there in the trenches with them, praying my guts out for mercy and relief, sharing their sorrow and trying to alleviate their pain.
Then this morning, I realized something. I’m sure it was Papa God, who has the uncanny ability to pop something into my brain that applies directly to whatever it is that’s bothering me. Here ’tis. My revelation of the day:
If we keep putting ourselves last, we ourselves won’t last.
I was also reminded of a snippet from my book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, in the chapter called, “Had Your Vitamin G (guilt) Today?” It was a mental image tool shared with me by my wise friend Esther to drop nagging guilt that plagues you. “Guilt is a dead thing,” Esther said. She likened it to a buried, maggot-infested carcass and every time you revisit it, you’re digging it back up from its grave.
When we think of it that way, of course we can resist picking it back up. Ewww.
So I’ve resolved to not allow guilt to be my master. Jehovah is the boss of me. And He readily forgives and takes my sin-induced AND self-induced guilt as far away as the east is from the west. If I only give it to Him. And stop wrestling Him to take it back.
I choose to stop digging up that nasty dead carcass and instead rely on Psalm 29:11 (MSG): “GOD makes his people strong. GOD gives his people peace.”
How about you, my friend – how do you deal with inappropriate guilt pangs? I know our entire community of BBFFs (Blessed Blog Friends Forever) would love to know.