When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


8/22/12

Guilthood (a.k.a. Motherhood)

A friend recently posted on my Facebook wall:  it was nice chatting... sorry I had to go so soon. it's all my fault, i keep the kids up too late and then they behave badly.

I replied:  of course it's all your fault. everything is your fault. you are a mom. i think instead of motherhood, it should be called guilthood. i tend to feel guilty about something all the time. ;) miss you. good to catch up for a few minutes!

I was joking, but only half.  I do feel guilty quite often.  Guilty that my kitchen floor is sticky.  Guilty that Jack's diaper has to sag before I will get around to changing it.  Guilty that Maddie spends untold hours alone in her room creating elaborate scenarios involving Polly Pockets and plastic horses.  Guilty that I didn't read that book Parker requested because it was past bedtime and I was wiped out. 

I feel guilty that I checked my Facebook home page 3 (okay 7) times in a single day.  I feel guilty that I finished a magazine article in the bathroom (which took much longer than the bathroom trip required).  I feel guilty when I don't have dinner ready when Aaron gets home. 

I'm not practicing handwriting with the kids as I'd planned this summer.  I'm not consistently crafting with them.  I'm not even consistently bathing them!  I know, I know, some of you are gasping.  I'm just trying to keep it real here.  (They don't go more than a few days without a bath, sheesh!)

I struggle with guilt.  I think, as parents, most of us do.  I just hope we can quit.  Maybe together even...Hi, my name is Jessie and I'm...

But seriously, guilt is not very productive.  It only serves to make us feel badly. 

I even struggled with guilt B.C. [before children].  Perhaps it was that "good ole Catholic guilt" my mom likes to joke about, perhaps it's just my personality.  I don't know.  Anyway, I was talking with my dear friend, Danielle, about it one day. 

I'll never forget.  She looked me square in the eye and said, "Jess, guilt is not from God."

Say what?  Now wait a second.  Wasn't that how He got us to turn around and shape up? 

Nope.  He uses conviction for that purpose.  Conviction is that nagging feeling you get when you suspect you are doing something wrong.  It is the Holy Spirit alerting you that your behavior is at odds with God's will.  Repent, listen, and obey, and that's that.  Conviction leads to change; guilt leads to anxiety and despair.  

God doesn't want us to feel guilty. 


Wow!  How had I forgotten that revelation?  Did I somehow think it didn't apply to moms?  Sometimes I think we need to hear it more than anyone.  When we are scared we are ruining a generation because we made mac-n-cheese for three days in a row or because our child watched that extra cartoon, we need our Father to help us see the bigger picture.

When we stop, pray, and listen, God can gently reveal the areas where we need improvement.  He can also offer us peace and rest, allowing us to let the small stuff go.  It's my prayer tonight I can turn off my inner critic and hear my loving Father instead.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 11:28-30  Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.


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