I have been digging away in the basement of my soul and trying to clean house and I learned something new about myself that I have not always managed well.
I know guilt is something God designed to alert us and to drive us to repentance, but if I am honest I can really bury myself in guilt. After all, my worst critic is me. I don’t need anyone to punish me, I punish myself and... I will even go to the extent of refusing God to forgive me. I have gotten better over the years, but let me share with you another painfully transparent story.
I was seventeen in a committed relationship with my “baby daddy” and I knew he was cheating on me. I received phone calls from friends warning me. I even got a phone call from the other woman. Let me tell you, looking back, I can’t believe that was me. The other woman called me to ask me to leave my apartment and I didn’t get mad at my baby daddy, I was mad at her. I was ready to fight for someone who didn’t even want to be with me, who wasn’t loyal to me. I felt disrespected by her not him. (Talk about misplaced anger.)
I did everything in my power to keep him and just recently I asked myself why?
- Was it because I had too much pride to allow people to be right about my mistakes?
- Was it because I insanely loved him? (It was the oxytocin- look it up)
- Was it because I wanted to prove people wrong?
- Was it because I feared to be a single mom?
- Was it because I feared no one would want me?
- Was it because I didn’t want my child to grow up without her dad?
- Was it because I was running from the, “I told you so”?
Yes to all of the above. But who wants to own that? My guilt sired me to unhealthy emotions. Most of which I learned thanks to Max Lucado, fall under two categories, defense, and defeat.
Defense- I desperately wanted to keep this mess a secret. I was embarrassed and I invested all of me, into a man who had one foot out the door. I didn’t want anyone to see me as a screw-up, I had to pull it together, hide what happened. And truthfully, I loved him. So the walls came up.
Don’t let anyone get close enough to see what is really happening in your life.
Then there is the defeat- “This was all my fault and I deserve it”. My perspective had changed from:
I am not making mistakes to now I am the mistake.
I was not regulating my guilt. I was wallowing in it. So you know what I did to teach him a lesson? I cheated on him and I wanted him to know I cheated on him. I wanted him to feel what I felt, betrayal and heartbreak.
At the end of the day, I was successful in hurting him. To return the favor, he beat me that night and I covered it up because I deserved it, but at least he was hurting with me. Two people hurting each other, physically and mentally.
DYSFUNCTION. I know, and it's hard to own this. But today I see all of this around me, I can identify it because I was there. Hiding to defend their false lives, or defeated and broken because they made it worse with revenge. There are too many women like me and there is hope for them too. That’s why I feel called to share this. Change is for everyone, even the dysfunctional emotional messy women.Read this a few times:
No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Isa 1:18.
DUDE I NEEDED THAT LIKE I NEEDED OXYGEN.
I needed a clean slate, I needed a do-over. This time I would get it right, I would commit to a relationship with God and listen to His instruction cause my way was just proven dysfunctional.
God doesn’t want people to be guilt-laden. I noticed while reading the Bible everyone made mistakes. Listen, if God can change me, he can change you too.
I wish I could go back and talk to the seventeen-year-old me. I would tell her to pray the prayer. “God I messed up, please forgive me for…..” and be honest. Expose all of it, it's freeing. Give it all to God. There is nothing worse than a vague general apology, “I’m sorry, I’m a bad person” What are you sorry for? Own it? Pride comes before the fall and your gonna fall bad. Expose the wounds and let Him heal them.
Sadly I can’t talk to her and change the past, but I can talk to you. Are you guilt-laden? If you don’t allow God to forgive you, you are saying you're bigger than God. Be careful with that. Let Him turn your wounds into wisdom.
Lord, I pray for the reader who is guilt-laden. I ask that you give her or him the peace that transcends understanding, lift the veil from their eyes and show them that you are there for them. That there is nothing too big for you to handle. There is nothing you can’t change. There is nothing impossible for you. Surround them with your love and help them heal.
I am hoping to post once a month a blog post for 2020. As I write I'm carefully praying for direction as its extremely vulnerable for me. But if you don't want to miss a post, please subscribe
-Art of me
The Recycled Virgin