Does guilt grab you during the holidays?
Do you feel scattered and off balance with all the distractions?
I had a conversation about guilt during the weeks before Christmas while at the gym working out with my instructor. (The gym seems to be a great place to share deep subjects while you are stuck on a treadmill counting the minutes until you can escape).
Our conversation centered on feeling guilty about allowing ourselves to get distracted by different activities that seem to scatter us during the Christmas season. Things like shopping, cooking, planning, wrapping, and all the cares of the world wrapped up in Christmas expectations that distract us from the One who was born to bring peace and unity.
These thoughts and feelings of guilt are not by accident; they are the weapons the enemy uses to kill, steal and destroy our peace. It’s not ironic that it happens in this season; what better time to steal from Christians then at Christmas.
Guilt comes with some kind of expectation. Expectation of others or what you expect from yourself. A spirit of guilt will always use those closest to you, and if you are your own worst enemy it’s pretty hard to escape. Guilt has a condemning voice that can sound like your parents voice screaming in your head. Guilt and a spirit of legalism team up to make you feel unloved.
They produce self-hatred rather than humility and they stress performance over relationship. Together guilt and legalism cause you to compare yourself to others so you believe you have somehow fallen short. They never allow you to reflect on how far you have come.
God will never use guilt or condemnation to move you forward on His narrow road. Those are the schemes of the enemy to overwhelm you and cause you to feel like a hopeless failure. God looks more at the condition of your heart and your desire to follow after Him than he does your performance. He will use conviction to gently guide you one step at a time. There is fresh grace every day to pass the test and finish what you have started.
Take a Deep Breath and Regroup!
If you sense things piling up, and your peace is slipping into failure, you need to stop, turn around and go the other way! You are allowing the deceiver of the brethren to lead you! Take the hand of the God who always gives you a second chance. Pray for understanding so that you may make the course corrections you need to make today, so that you can move through this season with the you God has intended.
So, as Joyce Meyer says: “Don’t board the airline of ‘I Wish I Had’ carrying the luggage of ‘If only’ that always drops you off at the ‘Regret Hotel’ just in time for the big “Pity Party.” Since this article was written, Christmas has passed, my deadline was made, my peace is restored and it’s off to the next thing on my list. Ugh, it’s the gym!