Now I'm not talking about all guilt here. There is a kind of guilt that is good for our eternal souls, you know, the kind that pricks our hearts to repent. That kind of guilt molds and shapes us even as it cuts us to the very soul. That kind of guilt is important. But the kind of guilt I'm talking about today is the kind that women put on themselves. You know what I'm talking about. The guilt of not having a perfectly cleaned house, or a five year food supply, or perfect children, or not being the perfect wife, or perfect mother because you haven't baked 12 dozen cookies and canned a bushel of peaches this week, or haven't finished writing the perfect novel! I got you with the last one didn't I? We feel guilty for ridiculous things and often end up harried and frazzled.
I've been so busy lately I haven't had to time to breath, let alone write. I'll give you an example of one of my days:
5:00am - home to wake up son
6:00am - take son to school for flag football practice
6:30 - home to wake up youngest two children get them ready for school and myself ready for work
7:30 - Take girls to school then drive straight to work
8:15-2:45 - work
2:45 - Drive straight to the kids' school to pick them up
3:15 - Change for Pilates class
4:00-5:00pm - Pilates class
5:00 - Make dinner
6:30 - Take kids to YM/YW act. that parents were invited to.
9:00 - Come home and wait for hubby to get home at 10pm, cuz he went to work from 4am to 3pm slept, then went back to work from 6:30 to 10pm.
Needless to say, I've been completely wiped out! I've been doing all this stuff, yet I feel guilty for all the things I didn't do. Why do we do that to ourselves?
Yesterday I had the day off and got to work on cleaning the house, doing laundry and critiquing some fabulous short stories from our short story contest. I also met my husband for lunch, and I was feeling quite accomplished except for one thing. I didn't write yet. So driving home from lunch I said a quick little prayer that Heavenly Father would help me to write today. That words would come into my mind and that I would somehow get my novel done soon and be able to work on my non-fiction book. I said amen, then turned on the radio. Playing on the radio was Guns N Roses song, "Patience". My mind zeroed in on that one little word and suddenly I could picture my Father in Heaven smiling down at me with wise, knowing eyes and saying, "Patience, my child".
That's when it hit me. Patience is the antidote to self inflicted guilt. If we are patient with ourselves we know that we are growing step by step. Expecting to do everything and be perfect at it all at once is ridiculous. It's the equivalent of planting a seed and then, if it didn't grow overnight, heaping guilt on ourselves saying we must have done something wrong. We didn't use the right soil, or the right water, or maybe the sun was too bright or not bright enough. But with knowledge of how the growth of a plant works, we can be patient and know that eventually it will grow if we keep taking care of it. There is no guilt involved that way. Likewise, we can gain patience as we gain an eternal perspective and know that there is time enough for us to reach the potential our loving Father in Heaven has for us. So with this in mind, I'm taking a deep breath and I'm just going to keep on keeping on. And I'm going to heap patience on myself instead of guilt and avoid that early heart attack I was heading for with all my obsessing. Who's with me?