No More Guilt. Only Change.

It has been almost a year since I restarted this blog with the intention of posting at least weekly.  So at a minimum, there should be 49 posts already.  Sadly, this is only the 3rd.  I’ve been feeling guilty about that for a while; which makes me not want to write because I don’t want people to see my failure yet again.  I had a re-awakening last night in which I rediscovered something I already knew.  I realized that I don’t need to feel guilty about it, I just need to make a change and move on from here.

If you have the time, go read my first post, almost nothing has changed in my life since I wrote it.  Normally that would upset me and make me feel guilty about it.  While I’m certainly not happy that I haven’t changed in all the ways that I’ve wanted over the past year, I’m not going to be guilty about it…I’m just going to change.

A quick list of a few of my goals and how they normally make me feel when I don’t quite hit them:

  • Pray. Every. Single. Day. – guilt
  • Read the Bible, even if it’s only one verse – guilt
  • Don’t yell at my kids, correct them in love – guilt
  • Do the dishes (seriously, this is HARD for me…I have no clue why) – guilt
  • Manage my time better – guilt
  • Don’t procrastinate, DO IT NOW! – guilt

Some of these goals affect more than just myself when I fail at them.  Sometimes people that are relying on me get nervous because I’ve waited until the last minute to do something they needed.  I hate when this happens, because I have always prided myself on being reliable!  I affect my children negatively when I yell at them.  I’m not talking a stern talking to here; I mean full on at the top of my lungs yelling.

Some of them affect my relationship with God, which should be the most important thing in my life all the time.  But if I’m honest, my relationship there struggles just as much as the rest of my relationships.  And then there is my wife, who has more work to do when I don’t help out around the house.  I am sure it makes her bitter with me at times, which is completely understandable.

I’m not going to list every single way I fail at these goals, but I think you get the point.  I am not perfect, both you and me know it.  But one thing they all have in common is that they make me feel guilty when I fail at them.

Guilt puts most people into a never-ending cycle of inaction.  For me especially, I’ve come to realize that when I feel guilty about something I end up avoiding it and then I feel even more guilty about it.  “Now I’m behind on my devotions and have to catch up”, “my kids won’t love me because I’ve been mean too often”, “it’s too late to fix it so I might as well keep it up”, etc.  Lies that fill my head to prevent me from doing the only thing that can fix it…CHANGE!

So, from now on instead of feeling guilty about my failures, I’m going to attempt to change the underlying cause of them.  Without that effort how can I, or anyone else, expect something to change?  There is an old saying that makes perfect sense and I’ve always applied it to specific areas in life (technology problems mostly) instead of to life itself.  “You can’t do the same thing multiple times and expect different results.”  It’s time to apply it to life.

Read the below verse a few times and let it sink in.  It doesn’t say “I will forgive them yet still hold their sins in my mind”, it specifically says that “I will remember their sins no more.”  As in, you are forgiven…and then it’s gone.  There is no list of “well you did this that one time”…the slate is completely wiped clean.  God isn’t limited to our human view of justice that requires payback and memories of the past.  Don’t let your guilt weigh you down when all you have to do is repent and it’s completely erased.

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” – Hebrews 8:12 ESV

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