I am going to write a series of blog posts about things that I have been learning about life. The truth is I used to focus a lot on the things that were not okay. I had some pretty serious hangups! I was in bondage to fear and exhausted from trying to live up to some ridiculous standards. But over the past few years I’ve been gradually letting go of the “not okays” and adopting a more “it’s okay” outlook on life. Fear is slowly losing the tight grip that it had on me and I am realizing that “it’s okay” to speak my mind. It’s okay if you don’t agree with me, and it’s even okay if I offend you. I guess I threw a couple of extra it’s okays in there, but I will get to the subject at hand.
I have learned that it is okay to not feel guilty. The truth is, for a long time, guilt was my motivation. I believed that the most important thing in life was building the kingdom of God, but I let other people define what that meant. Now I realize that the kingdom of God is built in many different ways.
A series of life events opened my eyes. I realized that guilt was suffocating me. I was imposing my guilt and my shame on my family. It was suffocating them. I was ready for us all to be set free.
So, what does this new (mostly) guilt free life look like? Well, it looks like not blaming every bad thing that happens on my not measuring up. It’s doing what my husband and I prayerfully decide is best for our family. It looks like pulling back and just taking care of my family when needed. It’s having time to go on dates with my husband with the only agenda being enjoying one another. It looks like saying yes to the things that we feel called to say yes to, and no to things when we don’t. It looks like seeking help when we need it, without feeling ashamed. It’s loving like Jesus loved; full of compassion and free of judgement. It’s being free to be myself and not what somebody else says I should or shouldn’t be. It looks like going on vacation and having a blast with my family, without fear of judgement. It looks like horse riding, gymnastics and ninja warrior training for my kids. It looks like giving myself to creative endeavors. It’s being able to say, “We have decided to do that this way.” It’s not worrying that being happy is selfish. It looks like rest. It looks like being able to trust the alarms that go off inside of me. It’s being able to have boundaries. It looks like not forcing myself to trust an individual just because I’m supposed to. Simply put, it looks like freedom.
It’s been a process, and guilt still plagues me from time to time. In those moments, I focus on what I know to be true.
I know that “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) I am not perfect and while the goal is to grow ever closer to the Lord and become more and more like Him, chances are high that I won’t ever be perfect this side of heaven. I’m learning to lean deeply into those mercies.
I know that I am called to live unto God, not man. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) I don’t want to give another second of my life to fearing what other humans think of me.
I choose to live free from guilt and shame. I choose to press into God and His word, to know Him and His ways, and to let Him show me who I am and how to live. I will make mistakes, and I pray that I will respond to true conviction with a repentant heart.
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.