Monday, April 2, 2012
Guilty-Guilt, Guilt, Guilt
What does it mean to be "motivated by grace"? I've been thinking a lot about this as one of my friends was saying how he heard someone explain that it's to never, ever to use guilt as a motivator. Say you'd like to get people to work in the nursery, don't mention how poor Sue has been slaving away for months with no help, don't mention how John has had to change 2 diapers at once (while holding one with his teeth, ugh!), don't mention that nursery is known by some as "pre-purgatory", don't mention that most of the congregation seems like they couldn't give a rats rear about their children and certainly don't mention how some people sneak off during nursery to go on a date (I've never done this).
But as the nursery scenario has been tumbling around in my brain, I've been thinking about how much of my life is motivated by guilt. I practically get out of bed every morning because I feel guilty. I eat health food because I feel guilt. I feel guilty about my new pot belly. I feel guilty about trying to exercise off my new pot belly. I feel guilty about admiring my muscles after work-outs. I feel guilty about putting too little time in at work. I feel guilty about blogging before I've had my devotions. I feel guilty about not being emotionally present with my kids (I think that means I feel like thingy-stuff). I feel guilty about the dirty dishes. I feel guilty about the lawn. I feel guilty about ants in the house. I feel guilty about the half-built tree house in our backyard that I need to tear down because I think using a level is for anal people (I feel guilty about hating anal people). I feel guilty for riding my bike and enjoying it. I feel guilty for not closing my eyes and swaying during worship. I feel guilty for closing my eyes during worship to pray/doze. I feel guilty for not taking notes during sermons. I feel guilty for sneaking away to Dunkin Donuts and drinking coffee (Melissa thinks coffee is evil btw). I feel guilty for checking my blog stats and looking for comments (although I've pretty much given up on that one now - poor me). I feel guilty for having fun at work. I guess I feel guilty alot...
Ok, so for now I've run out of "guilties". I'm sure I could come up with more though. Oh yeah, I feel guilty for not shaving. Ok, I'm done. But wow, that sure was therapeutic. If you struggle with guilt I'd say you're in good company.
So how does the good news go click for those of us who have a severe case of chronic guilt? How does it address our guilt and shame. I believe it means we're free anytime we like to be done with guilt. I don't like this, because I think that by feeling guilty I'll change stuff. But as of right now, I've never gotten the lawn mowed by feeling guilty at it. But I think that guilt does give us a temporary release over the things we feel we should be about, but frankly don't want to do.
I believe in guilt-free living. Sounds good doesn't it. I believe that God can enable us to feel conviction, repent and do his will. This is a way better way of doing stuff, don't you think? Plus, I don't think God wants his kids to feel miserable all the time.
Sadly, I suspect I'd rather feel miserable than submit to his guidance and grace. Why? Because, I think deep down in the deepy-depths of my soul, located near my spleen, I feel that God's not all that good at guiding me. I feel that he's kind of asleep on the job.
But if I look at my life, scripture and my friends lives, this thought is simply not true. The dude that put the universe together can sure take care of little old me. So here's to not feeling guilty and starting to feel something else instead. I'll take joy. Pick your positive emotion and put down guilt. As Ann Voskamp says, I'll be needing some of that!