The guilt and feelings of inadequacy kept gnawing at me. A little bit everyday for the past few years. I couldn’t shake it. The feeling that I wasn’t doing enough because I wasn’t enough. I couldn’t do it all. I couldn’t keep up and I didn’t know where to turn. So I tried to ignore my own intuition, which for me isn’t easy because I am built for intuition; mine and everyone else’s.
This year I am finishing up my 15th year of homeschooling. This year, I am graduating my first child. Homeschooling a high schooler was kind of what I expected–incredibly difficult. But this year, I had three high school students, and truth be told, I couldn’t keep up.
We didn’t go to our homeschool co-op this past year because of the Pandemic and we needed it more than I realized. I do not know if it will be available this year and frankly, can’t sit around to find out. My children are no longer elementary age and require more attention and accountability than I can give them on my own. It was incredibly hard to admit that because I believed the expectation, as one who chose to homeschool, was to do it all. The reality is, I can’t do it all, and in order for my children to succeed in their final years of school, admitting that is a must. They require more.
So now I’m battling guilt because I should have done more outsourcing sooner. But the reality is, guilt about what I should have done isn’t going to help us move forward. Maybe you have gone through something similar?
Maybe you feel guilty because you didn’t go with your gut instinct sooner and now whatever situation you are in is worse? Maybe you feel guilty constantly simply because you don’t feel good enough or like enough.
Don’t be buried or defeated by guilt. Guilt adds to stress levels, disrupts sleep, can actually cause headaches, and lead to depression if prolonged. There is nothing about guilt that is good–and it’s not from God.
Here are five things you can do to help defeat guilt.
Be honest with yourself.
Before you can deal with the guilt, you will need to be honest with yourself on the source of it and whether or not there are some grounds for it. This is not to say all guilt has good reason. Not all guilt is justified or logical. But this is exactly why you need to dig deep and get honest with yourself. My guilt didn’t become guilt until I continuously ignored my own intuition and the promptings of the Holy Spirit about making changes.
Receive the grace and forgiveness God offers.
It’s important that if you did make a mistake, you simply own up to it and repent. True, guilt weighs heavier than conviction, but it can still be a pathway to forgiveness and change. Guilt is conviction gone bad. It is shaming and blaming when a conviction is not dealt with. Sometimes we simply make a mistake–not necessarily a sin–and rather than going to God with it, we kind of push it under the rug and hope it will work itself out. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Go to the Lord, admit your mistake, and receive his grace so you can move forward to make it right.
Allow what you learned to empower you.
Once you have received God’s forgiveness and that heaviness of guilt has been lifted, allow that to empower you to make changes. What can you do to turn the situation around? Focus on that. Take the authority and grace God has given you and use it to do better. It’s really as simple as that.
Don’t get hung up on the past.
Continuing to bring up how or why you messed up will not change the fact. It just heaps more guilt on yourself and hinders you from moving forward. Let the past go. If you’ve already repented and received God’s grace and forgiveness, there is no reason to keep looking back.
Trust God to fill the gaps.
The beautiful truth about our limited humanity is we can trust God to fill in whatever gaps we have left. Whether it’s in ourselves or in raising our children. He is enough. We just need to seek Him, walk in His light, and trust Him. We can’t be all things to all people all the time. Wherever we fall short, God fills up.
If we allow guilt to weigh us down, it will bury us and we will be crippled by its weight. Instead, we need to overcome the guilt with God’s mercy and truth. We can’t defeat it on our own but it does mean getting raw and real with ourselves and learning to believe God’s truth and not our own.
For His Glory,