I once asked a friend how to weed through the feelings of guilt that I was wresting with. Balancing being a wife, motherhood, writing, and volunteering in ministry is an ever-present concern in my world. At that moment (when I talked to my friend) I couldn’t shake the guilt I felt every time my kids found me working on something not-them related.
She told me two things that really stuck.
First, our culture, especially the church sub-culture, tends to bombard us with the idea that our kids need our undying attention every second of every day, no matter what age they are (mine are 9-15. They don’t need my undivided attention ALL THE TIME. Seriously.).
Second, when God brings conviction into our lives, He makes it loud and clear. Sometimes we’re super good at shoving that clear conviction to a back corner of our minds, but it doesn’t make the conviction less clear. Maybe just less loud. Nagging, ambiguous guilt, though? That’s not from God. Especially when, through prayer, there’s not any clear confirmation of conviction. It’s just nagging, discouraging guilt. You know things like,
You’re not enough.
You failed again.
You’re not what your kids need.
Still not good enough.
It’s a tool of our enemy to keep us on the ground. Distracted. Defeated.
Doesn’t sound like God-work, does it?
Honestly, I still wrestle with this kind of guilt. Often. But I’m learning to come to Jesus, to ask Him to either make the conviction clear, or give me the courage to step under the shield of faith and believe Him when He says that voice of defeat is not His.
What about you? Do you wrestle with hazy, debilitating guilt? Do you think it’s God, or is there something else at work? How can you tell the difference?