The Guilt Trip

Dear Friends,

Have you ever been on a guilt trip?  I have and usually it relates to my role as a Mum.  There are more than likely some Mums reading this who can relate to what I'm saying.   I've bought the ticket more than once for the guilt trip and got the souvenirs (or rather the scars) from the trips I've taken.  As an overcoming perfectionist I can look back and see how I expected myself to be the perfect Mum, to get it right 100% of the time, which of course wasn't possible.  I put tremendous pressure on myself, which resulted in a lot of guilt when I didn't live up to my own expectations, when I failed, and when I made mistakes.

A guilt trip can take you down some really dark places and lead you to feelings of hopelessness, despair and unworthiness.  It has taken me to places where I remember how I  wasn't able to bond for some time with my baby boy because of my ill health and depression.  To the times when I couldn't look after him as much as I wanted to. To where I remember how my baby daughter was taken back into hospital only a few days after birth to be placed on a constant drip as I'd been unable to give her the nourishment she needed and hadn't recognised it quickly enough.  The guilt trips I've taken remind me and reinforce my belief that I have failed my children and that they have suffered as a result. 

At the time of being on one of those guilt trips you could have told me that I was wrong, that I was actually a good mother, but I wouldn't and couldn't have been able to believe you.  Trust me, my husband, my mum, my sister all tried to help me see the truth.  I am good at giving out advice but not so good at taking it. (Aren't many of us?)  If someone else was in my shoes I would have told them that they weren't a failure and there was no need to feel guilt over things which were outside of their control, and that they had done the best they could under the circumstances.

Only God can show us the truth.  The more I grow in my relationship with him, the more I learn about him and his amazing grace.  I know his grace is something I shall be learning about and appreciating for the rest of my life.  And God says to me, as he says to each of us, stop and get off that guilt trip you are taking,  instead come on a journey of grace with me.  The moment you and I say yes to Jesus, we begin an incredible grace journey. What a truly, wonderful, uplifting thought!

God has shown me that guilt is not something he wants me, or any of us, to be burdened or weighed down with.  Guilt is such a heavy weight to bear, isn't it?  But God says to us hand your burden over to me. The psalmist writes in Psalm 55:22 "Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." (NLT)  God says I've dealt with your guilt at the cross, you're forgiven.  My forgiveness and power is greater and bigger than any guilt you are experiencing. All the while I'm holding on to my burden of guilt I'm actually saying to God that his forgiveness is not enough in my life, and that's a lie the Devil would have us believe, because the truth is God's work on the cross and his forgiveness is more than enough, nothing else is needed.  God says I've forgiven you, stop condemning yourself, stop holding your mistakes and failings against yourself.  Romans 8:1 "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." (NLT) Ask God to help you believe this, if you are struggling to do so.

God's grace in my life and in your life is more than sufficient for you and for me.  In his grace he loves us, forgives us, watches over us, provides for us, restores us, and he redeems us and our past, giving us hope for the present and the future"...even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins." Romans 5:15-16 (NLT) 

God has shown me that when I was not able to give love to my children as I wanted to, when I wasn't able to be the kind of Mum I had hoped to be, he had brought others into my children's lives so that they never missed out, so that they didn't suffer, and so that they actually experienced more love rather than being deprived of it.  God provided for them in the shape of my family members and my friends.  He has shown me that time and time again he has had his loving hand on them, they were never neglected, they never went without.  He watched over and made sure my baby daughter received exactly the help that she needed when she needed it.  He has shown me that as much as I love my children, he loves them so much more, and that he has a plan for both of their lives which cannot be thwarted. 

His grace is there for me every step of my journey, his grace enables me to be the Mum he has made me to be, not the Mum I had hoped to be.  His grace in my life means I'm not doing it on my own.  In his grace he has made me a mother to my two children because he knew I am the mother they need.  And he will use all they have experienced growing up for their good.

Paul writes about God's grace in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say." (NLT)

And Peter writes "May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord." 2 Peter 1:2 (NLT) 

This is my prayer for myself as I continue my grace journey with Jesus and for you too.

I know there is no place I would rather be than on a grace journey with Jesus instead of repeating that old familiar guilt trip.  How about you?

To Think About:
What kind of guilt trip have you been on in the past?  Where has it led you?  Will you step off it and embrace a grace journey with Jesus instead?

Can you accept God's gift of grace to you?  Can you see how he has shown you grace throughout your life?  Will you also extend his grace to others?

What does a grace journey with Jesus look like to you?  What will keep you on that journey?

Vicki






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