If there is anything that undermines women’s ability to enjoy their lives, then it is living out of guilt . I (Carianne) have also suffered from this for years. And if I am very honest: sometimes still sometimes. What the hell is that? That I can even feel guilty about things I haven’t even done? That I may feel that I am falling short, while I already have so much on my plate. That really doesn’t make sense …
Feelings of guilt ensure that you constantly carry something ‘heavy’ with you. It can make you gloomy, give you stress or have a feeling of having to do something continuously, whether or not that is actually the case. Feelings of guilt take away your joy and peace in your heart …
You don’t want to live like that!
This is how I approach those guilt feelings. So if you also have a tendency to be hindered by guilt, grab pen and paper and do the following:
BE AWARE OF YOUR GUILT FEELINGS
Only when you are aware of something can you change it. Sit back and think about how you are doing. What’s going well? What are you happy with? What is not going well? At which moments do you feel tired, negative or sad? And of course: At what moments do you feel guilty and towards whom? Be aware that if you feel guilty, you are not automatically guilty.
YOU ARE GUILTY:
Write down what you feel guilty about and then think about whether this is justified or not. If you have promised to call and you have not done it, you will rightly feel guilty. Finally, the Bible says, “Let your yes be yes and your no no” (Matthew 5:37). Feeling guilty works at that moment if you know what reminds you that you still have to call.
God wants us to live in line with His laws, because they make us most happy . And He can use feelings of guilt to show you and feel that you are doing things or that you are thinking things that are not in accordance with his will. It was not for nothing that Adam and Eve immediately felt guilty and ashamed of their disobedience. But also realize that God does not want us to live with feelings of guilt! He wants us to see them as signals that we are doing wrong, so that by his grace we can receive forgiveness and live in freedom and joy again.
- Apologize and ask (the other and God) for forgiveness
- Reimburse what you have destroyed
- Forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes
- Make a better schedule and don’t promise too much
- Read the Bible and pray that God will give you His laws in your heart
- Allow the Holy Spirit the space to change to Jesus’ image
- Make up yourself what you can do to live a pure life
YOU FEEL GUILTY:
If you feel guilty about something that you are not to blame at all, it will cost you unnecessary energy and the devil can use it to keep you small and make you feel bad about yourself. Feeling guilty while not guilty is not from God!
There are women who feel guilty because they take their child to the daycare and go to work themselves, while the child is having a good time there. There are women who feel guilty, because a certain job needs to be done in the church and they don’t have the time or talent for it, even though they think they should do it (Eh … where are all the other people doing this job? could also do?). And there are even women who feel guilty about the abuse or the sexual abuse that they committed as a child, while they are not guilty of it … Years of heaviness have accumulated in their lives, so they don’t know what it’s like to be free and happy to stand in life.
- Pray that God will show His truth in your life
- Live your own (Biblical) values and do what you find important
- Do not take over the responsibility of the other person, not even emotionally
- Listen to your own talents and passions and consciously choose what you can say YES to
- Shake the weight away from you and “be happy!” (Philippians 4: 4)
- Forgive the other person who made you feel guilty
- Forgive yourself that you have made you feel guilty
- Don’t worry about what others think of you
- Listen to God’s love for you
Do you want to live from joy and freedom?
And do you long to live from God’s calling for you, without feeling guilty about things that make you very happy?