How to Enjoy Life When You Feel So Guilty (Or, How I’ve Kicked Guilt to the Curb)

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I used to feel guilty all the time.

Mainly, mother guilt.

But I’ve had wife guilt, house-cleaning guilt, homeschooling guilt, eating guilt, and a slew of other “guilts”, if you will. In fact, I would say that for most of my adult years I’ve lived in a perpetual state of guilt. The, “I’m-not-doing-enough, I-keep-failing, I’ll-never-get-it-together” kinds of guilt.

It’s a plague, really.

A plague I have not only allowed, but invited.

I’ve let the guilt in to do it’s dirty work, to make me feel worthless, to keep me down; to keep me looking down instead of up.

Up.

And there it is, the trick of that slimy, slithering devil, always tempting us, teasing us, encouraging us want to look down, down, down. Down to our weaknesses. Down to our struggles. And right on Down to him. He wants us bent in his direction, not free and wide-open, head back, gazing up.

Oh sure, there is a built-in guilt that is good and of God and that shows us the way when we forget His goodness and we try out our own…our own way. But I’m talking about the guilt of constant self-critique, of always feeling like a mess, like a wreck, like a fraud. Like someone who lives in fear that she will damage her children and will never get intimacy right or who still has clothes piled up in crevices of her bedroom.

And all may be so, but that is not the place for guilt. That is human, and personality and quirks and bents and strengths and weaknesses wrapped up in a flesh that will struggle until that glorious day when the struggle will be gone.

Be free.

You’re never going to get “it” right on this earth, except the right that accepts the pure, wondrous grace of God…and keeps walking by faith, looking…

up.

Keep your eyes on Him, sisters. Let go of that guilt so you can really start living. You’re not meant to wear those guilt shackles. You’re meant to live free.

He gives the freedom, and it’s the only real kind.

Now go! No more guilt for living out your human. You’ve got a God who is willing to live inside you, to guide you and comfort you, and He is perfect. Perfect intertwined with human…intertwined with you (if you are in relationship Him). God, He is so kind.

So look up, be free, and

live.

Love, Sarah Mae

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  • LindsyGriffis

    Thanks for this. I really needed to read this right now. :-) Always love what’s on your heart!

  • Jessica Reiland Steiner

    and then I feel guilty for feeling guilty and not looking up. oh the devil is good at what he does. Thankful for the hope of a day of freedom forever!

  • http://www.joyfilleddays.com/ Sarah Beals

    I wrote about a similar feeling today, Sarah Mae. Isn’t it nice that when we are impatient with our kids, God looks at us and sees us as the perfectly patient mom, like Christ? In Him, I’m clothed with His righteousness. PTL. http://joyfilleddays.com/sometimes-the-light-is-scary/

  • Samantha

    Been struggling with this a lot. Really has been hard.

  • RestWeary

    I have often pondered this very thing. Quite often I find myself looking down and inward at myself instead of up and out to Him. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Sarah Silvester

    Thanks for this! Easy to know you need to do, very hard to actually do!

  • Jen Stanbro

    Thanks so much for this awesome encouragement! When I talk about my battles with guilt with my mom and my sister, they always look at me like I’m crazy…pretty much all the guilt you mentioned above including the “slew of other” category has been used by the enemy to paralyze me. By God’s grace I’m learning what it is to keep my eyes on Him and allowHis Spirit to help me let go and be free…unto joy…unto peace.

    God gave me a song a while back…it meant something different to me when I first wrote it (before marriage and kids)…now I had the opportunity to record it, and God has graciously made it to resonate with my wife/mama soul in a whole new way…Freedom from GUILT is one of the biggest victories in this season of my life! I pray you’d be blessed as you listen to “Free.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcZbQApcWaY

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Um, WOW. That’s amazing!!!! And you got to record in Shane & Shane’s studio? I’ve been listening to Shane Barnard since college, and I saw the two of them in concert a few years ago. I’m buying your album right now!

      • Jen Stanbro

        WOW is what I’m saying! :) and also YAY! I’m so happy you liked it! Thank you so much for your generous tweet!!!

        Yes! When we see all the YouTube videos of Shane & Shane in that gorgeous studio with stone-walled living room…my husband and I think – “We lived there for 3 weeks! Our kids totally played ‘keep up the balloon’ in that living room with 30 foot high engraved tin ceilings!” God did that! Only our Father God could make something like that happen for this nobody from Rochester, NY.

        Like you, we have been so ministered to by Shane & Shane’s music over the years…Shane E actually did almost all of the backgrounds on the album except for the last song, which was Shane Barnard. Like a Holy Spirit covered dream was the whole experience.

        So…I just have to put out there…awkwardly, yet pressing on…that if Allume ever has any need musically…worship, concert (mini/full/single song, whatever) or anything else you might think of that I could do to serve…I would be blessed and honored if you would consider it. :)

        Thanks so much Sarah Mae! Your ministry has been a crazy blessing to me! I hope I can somehow reciprocate!

  • Julie Hufstetler

    I find the guilt grow in heaviness as my children grow, and this has come completely unexpected. I have 4 sons…ages 9,7, 5, and 22 mos. And as I watch my older boys still battle strongholds and struggle we’ve been training them in for what seems like forever…..then that guilt sweeps in heavy and strong, it whispers to my soul that I certainly must be doing it all wrong or surely the sin would lessen, the battle for their souls would get easier. But it doesn’t. It gets harder. To dig my feet down in truth and gear up daily for motherhood is just plain exhausting. To know with a bleeding heart and tired prayers that our best efforts still leave our children sick, lost, and with souls that need a Savior. I can’t mother the sin away and I hate the guilt that makes me feel like I should.

    I read you often Sarah…all the way back to Like A warm Cup of Coffee. And I was at Texas Mom Heart last Feb. Merry Christmas.