Sometimes, a day’s worth of writing is made up of a lot of staring at blank pages and waiting for the words to come.
And some days, it takes so much energy to do simple tasks, to check things off a to-do list, to convince ourselves to do things we know we need to do.
And on those days, the ones filled with procrastination and lack of motivation, we can often let ourselves be overcome with guilt.
Guilt. The opposite of freedom.
It’s an ugly word, an ugly thing, and something that plagues so many of us.
It’s terrible how much we can let guilt speak into our lives.
“You haven’t texted your best friend in three weeks? Wow, what a great friend you must be.”
“You’re still not done with that book? Wow, are you slow.”
“You can’t keep your house clean? How pathetic.”
“You haven’t been exercising? No wonder you’re slowly gaining weight. Other people can tell too, you know.”
“You’ve got writer’s block? Haha, no you don’t. That’s just an excuse for laziness. Anyone can write.”
“You haven’t finished that course yet? It only took that person over there three weeks, you miserable procrastinator.”
And the voices go on.
Shaming. Cutting. Tearing us down. And while I could say something cheesily empowering, such as “But don’t listen to that negativity, because you are a superstar!” I’m not even going to go there. This has nothing to do with status, and nothing to do with self-esteem.
Confronting guilt is about so much more than just disregarding so-called “negativity.”
It’s ultimately about freedom and grace, and understanding those things at a soul-level, and internalizing them.
We often think of grace as just having to do with sin and salvation, but forget that grace is for us in day-to-day life.
We often think of freedom as being from bondage to sin and death, but forget that we also can find that same freedom as we live each moment.
We know we aren’t condemned by our sin, but sometimes there’s this voice in our heads that says we’re condemned by our failures, by our shortcomings, our procrastinating.
But we don’t have to listen to the voice of guilt. We can listen to the Voice of Truth. To the Voice that tells us we are new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), to the Voice that tells us that it is Christ that lives in us (Galatians 2:20), to the Voice that promises us true peace (John 14:27).
Without filling our minds with truth, we’ll constantly be listening to Guilt’s voice in our heads that tell us we’re not enough. That we haven’t done enough, that we’ll never be good enough, that we’re failures and we’re hopeless and that’s that.
But when we stop there, we can easily miss the fullness of grace. It’s not only about Jesus forgiving us of The Big Sins, but of His love covering our daily imperfections in this fallen world.
It’s not just about not failing, but about turning to God in our weakness to find His help.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Will we fall short? Yes. Will we stress ourselves out to the brink of insanity? Perhaps. Will we ever be depressed, feeling hopeless, or alone, majorly procrastinating, or struggling to even take the next step? Absolutely. Maybe not all of those things, or maybe all at once.
But regardless of how we feel, regardless of how we think of ourselves, regardless of any external circumstances – we’re not hopeless.
We’re not without grace.
We have a grace that is greater than the lies of guilt. We have been set free from not only slavery to sin, but from slavery to our own expectations, and our own standards of perfection.
What we need to keep on realizing is that Jesus is enough.
He’s strong enough to carry the weight of the world, and also the weight of this moment.
He’s strong enough to take away not only your sin, but also your guilt and your shame and the pain that you carry around with you.
Friend, you are not alone. You are not hopeless. You have not fallen too far away from grace or mercy or forgiveness for it to discontinue being applied to you.
Even when things feel bleak – please know you’re never alone.