Monday, December 14, 2015

Guilt Ridden or God Driven?

I have found the absolute number one thing that keeps me from God is guilt, which is also goes hand in hand with shame. If I know that what I’m doing is not pleasing to God I shut Him out of that part of my life. I dismiss the spirit that stirs within me that is trying to get me to hold my tongue, take a different path, or just plain walk away from  temptation. Even in my thirties I can be like a child, pretending He won’t see or know what I do. But unlike a parent God knows even before I speak, make a move, and delve into my flesh.  I can’t tell you how many times I have asked God to open a door to escape certain temptations and every single time He did. Except I wasn’t a willing participant, I didn’t do my part and honor what He wanted.  Then the aftermath of my self-absorbed ways slowly  brewed up thoughts of guilt and I slowly began to tip-toe away hoping that I could escape his disappointment. I hate letting God down, especially when it’s the same sin that repeats itself.

The guilt ridden life is a life that shrinks back and hides because we believe that God only wants the part of us that gets it right. In the moments of failure (sometimes epic moments of failure) we don’t believe we have what it takes to be worthy of His love or to be a witness to others.  Sometimes we even try to go “above and beyond” scrambling for His love trying to prove we are really “good” and that we really do have good intentions.  A majority of the time for me I stopped praying, getting in the word and having a relationship with God  due to feeling ashamed. 

I began to realize that I was repeating unhealthy cycles because I kept tip-toeing away from my sins instead of working through them with God. I was so tired of hiding out during my bad seasons and then returning to my relationship with God when I felt good enough. After years of living a guilt-ridden life I started to realize that part of being a believer is wrestling with our hearts instead of slinking away when we get it wrong. I always knew that God knows everything about me but I never could grasp that a God so perfect could relate to my struggles and wants to see me overcome them. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that we are only as close to God as we let ourselves be. God is always there, his love for us is not dependent on the good side of us or the bad side of us. Its dependent on a relationship with us and our willingness to wrestle the through the hard stuff with Him. 

I think of my own son and I know that if he was experiencing shame or guilt over his mistakes I would not want him to hide out or be afraid to talk to me. I would want him to come to me and tell me everything and know I still loved him. I would want him to know that he is courageous for sharing his struggles with me and that I will do whatever I can to help. If I love my son that much, how much more does our father in heaven love us? The Guilt Ridden life puts up boundaries in our hearts that say “you are not good enough”, “you need to feel bad for a little while longer”, “you can’t reach others because your own life is a mess”. The God Driven Life takes down the boundaries in your heart and whispers “You are forgiven”, “I am with you” ,“I know everything about you and still love you”, “I have good for you” ,“come as you are”.

When we start to live a God driven life it helps us to overcome what we never thought we could because we are seeking God in our weakness. We become braver, stronger, and realize that guilt is a scheme used to keep us from the power of God’s love that is truly unfathomable yet always available to those who seek it.