Confession time

Dear Beth,

Confession time today. There are days when I wake up, looking forward to spending time with God. I’ve had a whole year before where most days were like that and I couldn’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to go study my Bible.

But my confession is that for the majority of my life, most days aren’t that way. I LOVE being in God’s presence. That’s probably my favorite thing ever. I love studying the Bible and the revelations that come with spending time in the Word. And yet, as much as I love it, I fight just as hard not to do it.

I used to feel guilty when I didn’t feel like studying the Bible when I thought I should be; in fact, I used to feel guilty about most things. I remember reading a quote one time, that went something like this:

For a people who are supposed to be forgiven, Christians are among the most guilty people I know.

I’ve searched for the quote for years since, and haven’t been able to find it again, but it stuck in my memory because it was so true. And yet, living a life dominated by guilt didn’t feel right either. So I did a study on the words guilt and guilty in the Bible.

Did you know that any time the words guilt or guilty are used in the Bible, they are always in reference to an external behavior, and never in reference to an emotion or feeling. We were not made to feel guilty, just as we were not made to be fearful. God did not give us a spirit of fear or guilt, but of peace and love and of a sound mind.

It’s interesting, after I realized that guilty feelings aren’t from God (and thus where they’re actually from), it freed me to change. And as I started releasing my guilty feelings, I began to value the times of conviction, so gentle and so different from guilt which torments us.

Conviction brings change which brings freedom. Guilt, on the other hand, causes us to dig in our heels and stay exactly where we are. It’s like getting into an argument with someone without offering them an out that will allow them to save face—if there’s no way to leave without humiliation, most people will fight to the bitter end.

This definitely didn’t go in the direction that I thought it would, but now it’s time to go study. I love you and love our conversations!

Love,
Te-ge 🙂

  • bethani

    I’m going through the opposite feeling right now. For so long I’d not make reading the Bible part of my day and I fight for reasons to read it. I felt like I was getting everything I needed from attending church and fellowship. However, for the past few months, I’ve been reading Bible plans on my Bible app and going directly to the Bible for many things daily. I make specific times in the morning as soon as I wake up and in the evening before bed, to spend time in the Bible. I find it exciting and can’t wait to do it. I don’t feel like it’s a burden or a chore. Some days things jump out at me and convict me. Some days I feel like, “I already know that so this is just confirming.” But every day I learn something new or I feel like my faith is strengthened and although I may have already known something, I’m adding to it.

    I did feel guilty those times I didn’t make God a priority. I just went about doing my own thing. Now that I’ve made Him the priority, I feel peace and joy in everything I do. I really do. Talking to Him daily is like I’m talking to my best friend. He comforts me. He reassures me. He does things that are incredible and make me laugh. He fills up my day. How can I not want to experience that every day? Taking time each day to spend in prayer has become a habit. The same way I can’t go a day without flossing or I can’t be in a car without buckling my seatbelt, I can no longer go a day without Bible time. It feels like I’m missing out on something special and fun and comforting.
    I see guilt so differently as a result to a TED talk I saw with Brene Brown. She said:

    “Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is, “I am bad.” Guilt is, “I did something bad.” How many of you, if you did something that was hurtful to me, would be willing to say, “I’m sorry. I made a mistake?” How many of you would be willing to say that? Guilt: I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Shame: I’m sorry. I am a mistake.

    Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders.

    Here’s what you even need to know more: Guilt is inversely correlated with those things. The ability to hold something we’ve done, or failed to do, up against who we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s adaptive.”
    I don’t think it is guilty or bad to not read the Bible or have days when you don’t want to read the Bible. We don’t have to read the Bible daily to feel close to Christ. Having a daily dialogue and relationship with Him means living like Him and having his spirit shine through you so that others can see Him shining through you. You do those things, Te-Ge.
    Love,
    Bethani