I’ve been wrestling with the idea of guilt and motherhood and Jesus and my heart. Mom guilt is real and it is happening to all of us.
Many of us are trying to remedy our guilt by making excuses for our sinful actions. Sure I yelled, sure I checked out on Facebook 15 times today, sure I let you watch 3 hours of tv, yell at your sister, not eat your dinner… But I was really tired, grumpy, maxed out, done. In an attempt to come up alongside each other we’re shouting “It’s Okay!” instead of “Me too!”
Sin is not okay. But neither is guilt.
One of the most powerful phrases my mom ever said to me was “Guilt is not from God.” Guilt is, for me, a shield to hide from God. Instead of admitting or denying my sin, I’d just like to wallow in it. Forever. Another friend described it as carrying around a bag of rocks that every once and awhile we put down to take out and look at. “You are a terrible rock. I hate you. But I’ll never let you go.” Why the resistance? What am I holding onto the guilt for?
Quite simply, I fear exposing my sinful heart to the Almighty God. My heart is the elephant in the room. We both know it’s there, but I’m not talking about it. “Have you seen the latest Hunger Games Jesus?” I wildly throw out to avoid confrontation. I think Hebrews 4 illuminates the fear vs love reaction here :
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Right after comes this:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.
Why did the author have to tell us to draw near to God with confidence? Sometimes it seems like a bag of rocky guilt is better than receiving mercy in times of need. Sometimes we don’t want to be known. Tim Keller says this:
To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.
I’m challenging myself this week to be known. To willingly expose my brokenness and sin and receive grace and mercy. To pray that the spirit would reveal to me when I am hoarding my guilt when I should be confessing my sins and experiencing freedom and peace. Being a Christian isn’t easy, but we have a God who has the power AND the desire to save us.
And what hope we have in 2 Corinthians!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Maybe life wasn’t meant to be a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. The toil, the mess ups, the pleas for forgiveness, the appeal for God to come alongside us and bolster us up in our weakness is what life really is.
Let’s be real this week. Let’s admit that we lost our collective shit. We yelled, and failed, and generally messed up. But we cried to the Lord to forgive us and He DID and He does and He will! Hallelujah, thank you Jesus.