Living free and forgiven

"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8, 9 ESV)

I've always been a little hard on myself - the typical perfectionist oldest child, wanting to do everything the right way and make everyone happy. I recognized my guilt before God at a very early age, knowing I could never measure up to His perfection. The forgiveness and cleansing that were poured out on me when I decided to follow Jesus have set me free, and have followed me all my life.

But still, I struggle hard with guilt.

Some of my guilt is truly deserved. Even though I have been made a new creation in Christ, I still struggle against my old sinful motives, thoughts, and actions. It seems that having a family and growing in community have brought any hidden sinfulness into glaring light. I have been selfish, impatient, angry, bitter, wanting my own way. I have yelled, cursed and sulked. I've sought comfort in ice cream, sleep, and social media instead of in God. And I've made excuses -- it's just hormones/sickness/anxiety/stress/exhaustion that made me do it. No matter the excuse, I am guilty... so guilty.

My sin has been fermenting in my heart too long. I can't hide it anymore, can't excuse or place blame anymore. I confess: I was wrong. I have sinned against God, my husband, my kids, and so many more. Lord, cleanse me, forgive me...


Some of my guilt is self-imposed, unnecessary, Pharisaical. It comes from trying to live up to everyone else's expectations - and my own - instead of God's. It comes when I'm surrounded by stay-at-home-moms and feel awful that I can't spend as much time with my kids, can't keep up with my home as well, can't cook homemade meals as often. It comes when I read about missionaries doing amazing things for God, and I'm just doing my everyday work for Him. It comes when I make to-do lists for myself and never complete them. When I fall asleep on the couch instead of spending time with my sweet hubby. When I look at the dirt, dust, and crumbs on my floor and swipe something nasty out of my baby's mouth (again). When I turn on the TV for my 4-year-old so I can just get one thing done (or have a moment's peace). That kind of guilt seems to follow me everywhere.

But Jesus says I'm FREE (John 8:36).

So, am I to live however I want? On my journey to greater self-care, I've often felt selfish. It's been hard to figure out how to live freely, but not selfishly. And then yesterday, I read this:

"My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?" (Galatians 5:16-18, MSG, emphasis mine)

It's not about me, not about knowing what I want or "deserve". It's about knowing God, listening to Him, being led by Him alone.

Let's live free today, sweet friends. Have you been struggling with guilt? What are you going to do with it today?

{In case you need to hear it too... Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)}

This post is part of a series for (in)couragers. If you are a working mom, you are so welcome to join us here for encouragement, prayer, and community! I am so grateful for how this group of ladies has poured into each other's lives - they are such a gift.

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