Sunday, July 6, 2014

who do I think I am?

Are you living in guilt?  Or worse yet, mired in shame?  I spent many years feeling guilty about things I did to my children, and even more the things I DIDN’T do with my children.  And the things that happened to them, unbeknownst to me, that were damaging to them.  And all the ways I could have been a better daughter mother wife sister friend.




I had a revelation, one day. 
I was talking with my daughter about a particular incident over which I had carried a stifling burden of guilt for over 20 years.  Or I should say I was talking TO her about it because … she didn’t even remember it.

Didn’t.Even.Remember.It.

How could this be?  So much energy and emotion and guilt and sadness and self-blame and yes, shame, associated with the incident, and she didn’t remember?

So I started thinking about guilt.  And shame.  And praying, and reading, and finally, finally understanding that there is a big difference between GUILT or SHAME, and regret. 

Shame, guilt - shoulda woulda coulda - isn’t that what Jesus came to free us from?  “Now, therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)  

NONE.  

So if God, the God who saved me, has decided not to condemn me, to completely forgive me...

... who do I think I am to condemn myself?  

It took my breath away to realize that I was actually elevating myself ABOVE God when I mucked around in guilt and shame.  Those burdens that brought me so low, that kept my eyes downcast, had actually been taken from me at the Cross, and yet I am still plodding along as if the weight was unbearable.

Shame, guilt - Satan surely uses those incidents we deeply regret to try to shame and guilt us.  

But we have a choice.  

This is an example of some of Satan’s best work - after all, didn’t his whole deal start with him wanting to be God’s equal?  And if I choose to live in shame and guilt, am I not doing the same?  Deciding that God’s not big enough or doesn’t care enough to NOT condemn ME … oh sure, I’m positive he removed YOUR guilt and shame when Jesus died, but mine?  No.  Impossible.

WHO DO I THINK I AM?

I choose to refuse guilt and shame.  Do I have regrets?  Yes, absolutely.  But, you see, the difference is that regret says, “Wow if I had that to do over again I would do it differently.”  I DID something wrong, that has been forgiven and forgotten by the God who loves me.

Shame and guilt say I AM something wrong.  God says otherwise in Psalm 139:13-16.  He “formed my inward parts, wove me in my mother’s womb.”  For that I will give thanks to Him, “for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God does not make wrong people.  It gets better:  In His book “were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not yet one of them.” 

He knew.  

He knows.  

Yesterday, tomorrow and forever.

But how do we sort this out, when we’ve been living this way for so long?

We can:

Pray for clarity. Because God does not want us to wallow in shame or guilt, He will be happy, oh so happy, to open our eyes to the places we might be stuck in the mud.

Stand up straight.  Memorize and OWN Romans 8:1: “Now, therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Believe it.  Even if we don’t feel it, we can choose to believe it.

Examine those incidents or seasons or whatever that are tripping us up, and allow His forgiveness and love to wash over us.

Let it go. [cue Frozen soundtrack here ...] Don’t give one more ounce of energy or emotion to the lie of guilt and shame.

Really, let it go.  Don’t let Satan have his way any longer.

Give thanks!  Go ahead and say, “Wow I would do that differently!”  But then give thanks that even though you can’t God IS NOT holding it against you.  And if HE can let it go …

Let it go.

Learning,
Angie

I I am sharing "who do I think I am?" with like-minded sisters at Still Saturday and Give Me Grace.

3 comments:

  1. Well said, Angie. Letting go is always much easier said than done. But how wonderful that the blood of Jesus washes away not only the sin itself, but the guilt and shame of sin. I love knowing that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. No condemnation!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, Ruth - I think the letting go has to happen over and over, every single day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post, Angie! It's a process, a journey, but you've offered some wonderful truths and some practical steps. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading - your comments are welcomed and appreciated.