Monday, April 30, 2007

Why Do I Always Feel Guilty?

I've been reading Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This by Jenn Doucette as part of my nightly devotional reading. Her writing makes me snicker out loud and smile as I recognize myself in each chapter. She comes across as such a positive person, someone I'd love to know personally. In last night's chapter she confessed that she suffers from fibromyalgia. I had to re-read it and when I did tears sprang to my eyes. She admitted to fighting with frustration with the pain, but she reminded me that God is big enough to provide me with the strength and wisdom I need to get through each day. I may not have any reserves left at the end of the day, but He will provide each day anew. It was an affirmation I badly needed yesterday. I've been allowing certain people to steal away my contentment. Reading the book last night reminded me that I don't have to give them that power over me, and if I treat them with love, I'm doing the Lord's will. Proverbs 25:21-22 about raining buring coals upon your enemies' heads by doing good deeds always brings a smile to my face. Kill them with kindness my father would say. Doucette gives me hope that I can come through this with the same kind of grace and courage she has.

Molly's getting confirmed on Sunday, so I'm getting the house ready, ordering the cake, trying to rustle up RSVP's, etc. Another contentment killer for me yesterday was the three hour search at the mall for the perfect dress. Obviously we had very different ideas as to what perfect meant. For Molly perfect is defined as fun, a little elegant, and didn't make her look fat. I defined perfect as appropriate for church, able to kneel in, no sequins. After three hours we ended up back in the store we had started in with much lower expectations and came home with a beautiful dress we had rejected earlier. A little more skin than I would like, the pattern didn't thrill her at first, but after she got new shoes and jewelry, she perked up quite a bit. I'll post pictures next weekend.

Why Do I Always Feel Guilty by Mary Whelchel is a fantastic devotional read. She breaks guilt down into three categories: guilt for a known wrong, not feeling guilty for an unknown wrong (doing 40 mph in a 30 mph zone without realizing what the speed limit is, ignorance is not an excuse), and unnecessary guilt. I think that most of the guilt I suffer from is unnecessary guilt from past sins, other's expectations, my own expectations, etc, etc. Whelchel does a wonderful job of encouraging the reader to 'fess up to sins we know we've done, but she emphasizes that God really does forget our sins once we've confessed them. He moves them as far away from us as the east is from the west, and it's only Satan who throws them up in our faces to try to bring us down and pull us away from God. She includes powerful verses to strengthen us and chase those guilty thoughts away. Whelchel is a conversational writer; as I read, I could hear her talking friend to friend. She's not afraid to expose her own flaws and weaknesses and use them as examples of how we can let go of guilt and move closer to God. I've been repeating Romans 8:1-2 in my quest to shed my own guilt. Jesus doesn't condemn me for my sins, and I am certainly no better than He, so how can I condemn myself? This is a quick read, eleven chapters each easily read in one night, and can bring about a great change of heart. Read this and pass it on to a friend.

We have a pair of purple finches coming to our feeder. Their redness adds such a flash of color to the goldfinches already outside.