We always make new year’s resolutions in January… and about a few weeks into the year, that resolution resolve quickly turns into resolution guilt. Do I hear an amen out there? Unfortunately, I know that cycle only too well. What if this year, we make new resolutions to not live in guilt nor be motivated by guilt anymore? What if we decided to live guilt-free lifestyles?
I grew up with guilt as a major motivator in both my family and church life. So much so that I was very uncomfortable with the idea of grace. The idea that Jesus’s death has resolved all of our sins, past, present and future, was hard for me to really comprehend.
Guilt shows up when we feel like we have done something wrong or offensive. While these feelings alert us to pay attention to certain actions and events, it has no power to bring real and lasting change to our lives. And if we harbor that guilt and don’t address it, it often turns into shame and distorts how we see ourselves. God’s answer to sin and guilt is simple – acknowledge, confess, push “delete” and start over. (yes, it is that simple.)
When God started challenging me about my guilt-ridden mindset, I really wrestled with it. Guilt has been a harsh taskmaster. Living in constant guilt didn’t make me a better person. It didn’t motivate me to love God more either. It only brought me fear, depression and drove me away from God. However, I was even more afraid to let it go. If I stopped wallowing in guilt, would I continue in my sinful habits? What would motivate me instead? To answer those questions, the Lord simply said, “Let it go.”
For a season, God spoke Romans 8:1 over me, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” “You not guilty anymore. Don’t give guilt any foothold.” In fact, whenever the feelings of guilt crept up, it’s a sign to me that they’re *not* from God! 🙂 I know it may seem extreme, but that’s how I “detox”ed. I needed to remove all traces of guilt in order to learn new ways of motivations and guidelines. It’s like learning to swim. You had to let go of the side of the pool to experience that you really can float. Once I let go of my old ways, God started showing me new “guilt-free” experiences of how He leads and guides us.
Are you ready to experience a “guilt-free” lifestyle? It’s simple. Just confess what you’re currently feeling guilty about, ask God for help, and accept His forgiveness. Voila! It really is that straightforward. Afterward, when you experience that lightness and joy in your heart, don’t resist it, just let your heart rest and be loved. Instead of living in guilt, you will experience what it feels like to live in joy and freedom.
If you should fail at any time. Simply push delete and start over. No guilt trips necessary. 😉