Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Self-Inflicted Guilt

"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."
Psalm 103:12


Yesterday, I was in such an irritable state of mind.
I hate when I feel that way.

Kevin was off work,
Zach was off school,
it was a beautiful, cool, crisp, autumn day,

all was well,
and I did not want to feel miserable.

Kevin, Zachary, and I were playing a game, 
and I SO wanted to enjoy our time together.

"Are you okay?"
Kevin reached over to touch my arm that was resting on the table beside him.

"I'm okay."

"You're so quiet.
You can tell me what's wrong."

I didn't even know how.
I didn't even know what...was wrong that is.
There was no apparent reason for my irritation.
None whatsoever.

I kept trying to think back over the day to try and figure out what in the world
was gnawing at me...what was causing me to feel so vexed.

It finally came to me....
sometimes the cause is not so apparent.

More than likely, when something is bugging me this much,
it isn't going to go away until I find the root and deal with it.
It takes a little digging under the surface to get to the root of it,
but it is always worth the extra effort required.

I had done something earlier in the day....
something I had poured my whole heart into....
and it had turned into a complete, bona fide flop.
My failure and incompetence was literally ruining my whole day.
I was giving it permission.

Let me explain.
We have been dog-sitting and chicken-sitting for some friends who are in Hawaii on vacation.
One of our benefits for helping them out, is that we get to gather and enjoy farm-fresh eggs.
They are tiny, little eggs, so we decided to save them up until we had enough to enjoy.

Now, if you know my husband at all, you know he absolutely loves...and I mean loves....
farm-fresh eggs for breakfast.

He was so looking forward to those eggs.
He had mentioned it several times over the course of the past few days,
and we finally had enough accumulated to make a nice breakfast plate.

I was thrilled to see him so happy about it, and I eagerly went in to fix breakfast.

Kevin likes his eggs over-easy.....
a very particular way, and I have tried very hard over the years 
to perfect my skills in this area, in order to please him.
He likes the yolks runny...but doesn't like the whites too hard-cooked.
It is a very fine line to walk.
I still have trouble after 25 years of being married
and fixing Kevin's breakfast.  :)

Anyhow, I successfully cracked and poured out the cute, little, fresh eggs....
 without breaking the yolk and everything!
I was feeling pretty proud of myself when Kevin walked by,
wrapped those familiar, comforting arms around me,
peeked into the skillet and said,
"Mmmm, those look good.
Look at the nice golden yolks.
They're so full."

They did look beautiful, I had to admit....frying there so pretty in the frying pan.

I was warming up some leftover ham to go with them,
along with toasting bread,
pouring juice, 
buttering the toast,
well, you get the picture.

Being used to buying large eggs and having it pretty much down to a science as far as how much 
time I have to do other things while they are frying to Kevin's liking,
I falsely assumed I was on my normal time-schedule...
forgetting completely that these eggs were very small.

All of a sudden, it hit me, and I went to flip them over.
I knew the minute I looked at them, they were way too well-done.
There isn't a thing you can do to fix an over-done egg.
Not a thing.
The moment was past.
It was just plain too late.

I proceeded to finish getting everyone's breakfast plate on the table,
we said grace,
and I didn't dare to venture a peek in Kevin's direction.
Bless his heart, out of the corner of my eye I could see he was shuffling things around on his plate,
doing his utmost to look interested....
and, as usual, certainly not uttering a word of complaint.

I finally mustered the courage....
to look into his sweet, disappointed face.

"Are the eggs too hard?" I muttered...ever so feebly.

"Well, it's okay.
The yolks are pretty much like hard-boiled.
I'm trying to eat them."

Oh, my word...can you feel any lower or worse about yourself than I did right then?

All those days, he and Zach going to that hen house, gathering those little eggs....

saving them up until they had just enough....
and now look.
Just look at what I had done.
They were ruined.
He hated them.
There's just things you know after being with someone this long.

Kevin is the kindest, most long-suffering, patient soul.
Honestly, you would just have to know him.
Of all of the things I love and admire about him,
his kind, gentle spirit has to be way up there towards the top of the list.

Bless his dear heart, he tried...he really tried.
He just doesn't like his eggs like that.
He just can't stomach them.
I can't blame him.
There are things I can't stand to eat either.

We all have different tastes and likes and dislikes.

So, we managed to get through the meal....
me quiet as a church mouse,
Kevin and Zach trying to keep conversation going and act normal.

When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Plain and simple.

That's just the way it is.

Paige was the only one happy with those eggs.
She had a feast!
She was the proud recipient of a homemade, country breakfast...
farm-fresh eggs and all.
Thankfully, she doesn't care if her eggs are hard-boiled, over-easy, or scrambled...
it's all the same to her.
Kevin took his plate out to the front porch,
scraped the barely-touched eggs into her waiting bowl, 
and she devoured them like a ravenous, starving wolf.

I cleaned up the kitchen, did the dishes, we had family worship,
and I forget what all else, 
but the thought of those eggs remained stuck in my craw.

I kept beating myself up...
repeatedly kicking myself for being so careless...
so negligent....
so aggravatingly stupid.

This went on for a few hours...literally.

We finished our game, and I went to pray.
"God, please help me. 
I don't want to ruin this day.
I don't want to feel this way."

Right out of the blue, He spoke.

"This is self-inflicted guilt.
Kevin understands.
He doesn't hold this against you.
I am not displeased with you in any way.
I do not condemn you.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,
 who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
I know how hard you tried.
So does Kevin.
You are inflicting this upon yourself.
You need to stop."

The wisdom of our Lord is beyond telling.
I lingered before His presence, allowing His words to soak in....
just like they were sinking into a dry, thirsty sponge.

The truth is exactly what I needed to hear.

Jesus Christ IS the way, the truth, and the life.

He is the way.
Walking towards Him is the first step.
Bowing the knee before Him humbles and softens the most fallow ground of the heart,
opening it up to a willingness to listen to whatever He needs to say and impart.
Following Him in whatever direction He chooses to lead is a sure-fire way to the path of peace.

He is the truth.
There is no deceit.
Just pure, open honesty.
He holds nothing back.
He doesn't sugar-coat the hard-to-swallow.
He doesn't water down the hard-to-digest.
He doesn't beat around the bush, so as not to offend.
He tells it exactly as it is...exactly and precisely what we need, not hear.

He is the life.
To the thirsty, worn, and weary traveler, He is living water.
To the faint of heart, He breathes the breath of life.
To the hungry, drained, and jaded wanderer, He is refreshment and restoration.
Finding Him is finding everything we need.

"Lord, help me!" I cried.
"Just help me to let it go.
I give it to You.
Please take this from me."

As I took His advice, and stopped perpetuating the self-abuse, He did.
He took it away.
Lightened my load.

I left my place of prayer with a different attitude.
Peace and serenity...and joy was restored.

Why didn't I do it sooner?
I'll never know.

Why do we allow the enemy to steal our precious moments?
Everything we need is found at Jesus' feet.
Why do we wait so long to go there?

Self-inflicted guilt is cruel.
It is a tool in the hand of satan...used to badger, buffet, and destroy us.
As long as we are willing participants, he will hammer away all day long,
robbing us of every potentially-joy-filled moment that could have been spent
smiling, laughing, and enjoying the ones we love.

He is a cruel, hard taskmaster.

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15:57

So, what is vexing you today?
What are you feeling guilty about?
Maybe it isn't over-done eggs or anything of the sort.
Perhaps it is a failed marriage.
Maybe you gave it all you had, only to have it end anyway.
Now satan is brow-beating you to the point of desperation.
Maybe it wasn't your fault.
Did you ever think of that?
You can't fix everyone.
You can't make another person change or honor the vows they made.
There are certain things you simply cannot control or alter.
Maybe it was your fault.
Perhaps you caused the rift.
And now it is irreparable.

God understands.
Stop feeling guilty.
Jesus already took the blame.
He opened His loving arms on Calvary,
consented to them being nailed to a wooden cross,
and proclaimed to His Father,
"I am guilty."
The penalty has already been paid.
You can walk free of the condemnation with which you are so heavy-laden.
Bring your overwhelming load of guilt and lay it at His feet.
Hand it to Him, along with every jumbled, entangled shred of your life,
and allow Him to sort through it and send the healing your soul craves.

Maybe your guilt comes from mistakes you've made with your child(ren).
No one gets it all right all of the time.
You are not alone.
We have all failed.
We all have regrets.
We all wish we would have spoken a bit kinder,
been less harsh,
done more of this and less of that,
not been so this or not overdone that.

You name it.
You fill in the blanks.

Why do you feel guilty?
Perhaps you are walking away from God, instead of towards Him.
That is easy to change, my friend.

All it takes is a U-turn.
God allows them, you know.
At any point.
All along the way.
You have not gone too far.
You are not hopeless.
Do not despair.
Satan is a liar.
Every word out of his mouth is untruth.
Jesus is the truth.

Stop beating yourself up.
Stop self-condemning yourself to judgment.
God is the only Judge before Whom you must stand,
and He died an excruciatingly painful death for you...
the Guiltless...for the guilty.
That's what He thinks of you.
That's His opinion.

He already knew what you would do...long before you did it.
He died for you anyway.

Let people talk.
Invalidate their negativity.
Put no thought into their opinions...whether good or bad.
None of it matters.

You are precious to God.
Right now.
Wherever you are.
Whatever you've done.
However far or near to Him you stand.

He loves you with an undying, unconditional, undiminishing, agape love.
It is time you finally accept His forgiveness....
and forgive yourself.

God's U-turns automatically come with clean slates.
He never throws your past up to you.
In fact, He forgets all about it.

Maybe it is time for you do the same.


  1. Funny how we judged ourselves sometimes, but thanks be to God for the reminder:)
    Great encouragement sister. Awesome words from God:)

    1. I know, isn't it, though? Sometimes, it is humorous, but just awful what we put ourselves through. :) Thank you for your kind encouragement. You are a blessing to me! Love, Cheryl

  2. I know about self-inflicted guilt quite a bit has been a lifetime to allow the Lord, the Great Healer of all and old wounds to cleanse my soul from guilt and let me breathe again. I still struggle with temper is just relentless...but He does make all things new : ) and I trust He will make me new as well. I enjoyed reading your story very much. And I love farm fresh eggs too! : ) what a blessing to see His hand in the simple, every day things of life.

    1. Yes, how very blessed we are indeed! Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. God bless you with a wonderful day in Him! Love, Cheryl