THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1 | AMP)
One of the hardest revelations about my shortcomings has the potential to become one of my greatest victory testimonies, if I can succeed in letting it shape me into a better person! The Lord revealed to me, on what was pretty-much a sleepless night, that one of the biggest taskmasters and tormentors I have is Guilt…and that He wants me to do something about it. This big Guilt-Zilla monster has chased most of the other motivators off the block and kept me all to its gnarly, ugly, hellish self. I’m just being transparent with you, friends…allowing you to see the very human side of me that occasionally needs an attitude adjustment! All of us are in desperate need of God’s grace.
So, why on earth, you may ask, are you plagued by guilt, Lisa? I feel guilty because:
- I work all the time and have provided for myself a virtually nonexistent family life.
- When I actually am working, I get interrupted countless times and then I sit there in a daze trying to get my concentration back; therefore time is wasted and I then feel like a bad employee. I have less to show for my work than I believe I should.
- I need to spend more time in God’s presence than I do on His payroll. The to-do list isn’t getting me any closer to Him and it therefore keeps getting bigger and more out of balance. I’m sorry, Papa. You and I both know there are days when I’m running on fumes and You’re not the one to blame.
- I get zero exercise and very little recreation, which means I’m not a good steward of my body; but when I’m out walking or taking a break or doing something I enjoy, I worry that people think I’m wasting time when I should be working. Two-sided guilt. Ouch.
- I am in considerable need of weight loss which means I need to move more and worry about what other people think a whole lot less. I know I’m cheating myself and my husband by not taking responsibility for my body. So yeah, guilty.
- I find myself bitter and resentful that the only time I truly have to myself is when I’m asleep; so I dread checking answering machines and emails because I know there’s stuff in there that will further cut into time I don’t have. I also resent the worry that robs me of said only time I have to myself–my sleep.
- My house stays a mess; and without a plan to keep it from getting that way, it isn’t going to change. Even though I work long hours, I feel I should be more on top of this and therefore–you guessed it–guilty.
- I have done a less-than stellar job of managing my own finances. Someone with an IQ of 137 should be debt-free with a sizable chunk in savings. Someone with that IQ should also have more to show for her accomplishments than a year and a half of college education. Achievement quotient: not impressive. Guilty.
- I never feel as if I’ve done enough. I can’t please everybody. I can’t please myself and I wonder sometimes if I’m actually pleasing God or if I’m just trying to appease the guilt monster within.
- I am burned out, and in this moment I want with all my heart to disconnect from my job, the ministry, and life in general. I am empty and so dissatisfied with my messy, substandard life. I am the poster child of imbalance and I feel guilty about that too.
Ok, so I have been painfully transparent with you. I have been drowning in a sea of my own making, held under the water by Guilt-Zilla and allowed to surface every few seconds to take a deep, desperate gasp of breath.
So am I a hypocrite and a fraud? No, not really. I’m just in a state of chaos and in need of the grace of my Savior. My greatest sin in all of this is allowing that little pet tadpole of guilt to grow and take over my life, until he is bigger even that my dreams.
So today Lord, I crawl up into Your lap and humbly ask You to take me through a Romans 8:1 refresher course. Matter of fact, erase what I actually think I know and start from scratch. I need You to show me how to put Guilt-Zilla out of my misery.
- Help me to find room for both career and family, where I don’t feel like either is trespassing on the other. I need some safe compartments and boundaries.
- Help me multitask less and focus more. The guilt monster has very little to feed on when I am doing whatever I’m doing (one thing at a time) with my whole heart and not on autopilot.
- Help me to draw some realistic separation between working for Your church and really having relationship with You. I keep forgetting that You don’t expect me to be on the clock 7 days a week just to prove that I love You. You’d rather we just hang out together, job or no job.
- Help me to regain control in the area of personal discipline, and to actually value the body You gave me. Help me do more than just think about taking care of myself; I need to go there in more than just my wishes. Help me to make better food choices and to get to whatever weight You know is my healthiest.
- Help me to be a better steward of my house and my finances, so that the Proverbs 31 Woman doesn’t look like a lady I really despise for all her efficiency and um-attainability.
- Help me to find some quality time beyond a few hours’ sleep each night. Sleep shouldn’t count as my “me time.” You wired me to be a deep thinker and I need silence to do that. Help me also to have time to be creative. Help me to find a little fun too. I don’t have much of that these days, not like I should. Help me to stop “working even when I’m not working.” Help me to add the word NO to my vocabulary.
- Help me to just get back to enjoying Your presence. I’ve been Martha so long and I really miss getting to be Mary. I’m way too careful and troubled about many things; help me to choose the better part that won’t be taken away from me.
- Help me to feel a separation from what I’m not involved in at the moment, so that all my responsibilities have their own respective places. I want to feel once more as if my job, my family, my ministry, and the people around me are truly gifts and not one more straw on the camel’s back. Teach me to decompress by meditation in Your Word.
- Help me to actually like being me again.
- Help me to put You—just You—first in my life again, and help me find somewhere appropriate on the list for me, too. I feel lost in the shuffle.
- Help me to know when I’ve worked, served, given enough for one day, and to be at peace with enough being enough.
It’s a lot to ask, Father, but I believe You can help me to make sure that the Guilt-Zilla movie has no more sequels. I know it’s time to deal, and if You’ll help me, I know I can reclaim my peace! I ask all this in Jesus’ name…