Today is Thursday.
An incredible man, Bob Goff, wrote a book called “Love Does” and it changed my life.
*subfact: It will change yours for sure and you should read it.*
In his book, Bob says that every Thursday, he quits something. He quits something because he wants to make more room for people and more room for Jesus.
Today is Thursday. And today I’m quitting something.
Today is the day that I refuse to feel guilty about nothing anymore.
I’m tired of walking around with guilt that shouldn’t be mine. There are plenty of things for me to feel guilty about that I could totally own. I mess up frequently.
I’m grumpy, I’m hangry, I’m crazy.
I get lazy, I yell, I get impatient.
Like, a lot.
I have so many things that I could spend my time making right, and asking for forgiveness for that I don’t need to add on guilt for things that I’ve never done. And all of those things that I’ve actually done? Jesus has already forgiven me for them.
I’m tired of letting other people make me feel guilty for things they think I should do, or shouldn’t do, or will do, or maybe did.
This comes so much with the territory with moms, especially, but also with just women in general. Not that the world as a whole doesn’t supply plenty of pressure, but women specifically place a lot of this pressure on each other.
As a mom, I was told that I needed to breastfeed. As soon as I told people that I would be nursing Noah, the women who didn’t nurse automatically took my choice as a judgment on them, and began making excuses for their own choice, even though the only topic of discussion was MY choice. Many of those who nursed felt like we inherently were on the same side of a battle, and felt comfortable discussing why those who didn’t were in the wrong.
When I decided to stay home with my kids instead of have a career, many women with jobs around me felt like I was making a statement about their decision to work. Other stay-at-home moms felt like they’d gained another ally to add to their number.
I eat junk food and I love it. I’ve been trying to change that, and I am working to change the way that my family and I eat. There’s a battle about that. When I decline a food that I feel we shouldn’t eat, some feel like I’m judging the way that they eat.
Ty and I decide to go out on a double date with another couple. Then some couple feels like we are upset with them for not choosing them instead.
And Heaven help me if I plan a birthday party. Who knows how many hundreds of people are offended that they weren’t on the 3 year old’s list of people to invite.
I nursed my first child, and bottle-fed my second child.
I may not have a job, but my choice to stay home with my kids was a very personal one, and is in no way a statement made for the benefit of other people. Some women would love to stay home with their kids but they must work. Some women have the desire to work, but for the benefit of their family they must stay home. Some want to work and enjoy it.
I am changing the way that my family eats because I have a personal conviction that I feel better when I eat better, and we might as well do it as a family. Not everyone is in a place to afford the changes it takes to make real life change in the area of eating. Very few people have the time that it takes to do it completely – me included. Which means that I have one foot on one side of the line, and one foot on the other.
I enjoy a lot of people, and would love to spend time with pretty much anyone. But if I tried to spend time with all of them at once, I would spend no time with anyone. Everyone would lose.
I can’t have everyone I know over for a birthday party, so I have to choose the people that know my kids the most and limit it to the children who are closest to my kids.
If the gossip train really gets going, or if someone sees something on Facebook and interprets it in a way I did not intend, if someone infers something that I didn’t say, if…if…IF…IF….IF!!!!!!
We have to stop the madness.
Today I was chatting with God and handing over all my guilt yet again, as is our ritual. I lament my failures, apologize, plead for forgiveness, and feel unworthy, forgetting the valiant sacrifice already made on my behalf. Jesus, in His amazing graciousness wipes my slate clean and picks my chin up and dusts me off and gives me a gentle nudge to face the day again.
But today, I heard Jesus whisper deep down in my soul, “Wait, some of these don’t belong to you. Where did you find these?”
Some of these things that I’m feeling guilt over aren’t mine. So much of this guilt I feel isn’t mine. It’s over things I didn’t do – just things that others expected me to do. Or it’s from things I did and have allowed others to make me feel shame about or insecure about, when none was needed.
I’m tired of letting others dictate what I should feel guilty about, aren’t you? I’m tired of not having room for Jesus or other people because I’m taking up all the space and time with worrying about things that didn’t even happen.
I want my gauge of whether or not I’ve done wrong to be based on truth and fact. On Biblical authority. On those who have my best interest at heart. On who Jesus created me to be, and what He asks me to do.
Today is Thursday.
And today, I am done feeling guilty because others tell me I should.
Will you join me?