One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go. Whether it’s guilt, anger, love, loss, etc. Change is never easy, you fight to hold on, and you fight to let go.
Do you ever wish you could change your past? Do things of the past affect your daily living in the areas of:
- eating-by how much or how little you eat
- the way you treat your spouse
- the way you treat your children
- how hard it is to say “no”
- how you spend your money on unnecessary items
- how you spend your quite time–dwelling over the “what ifs” or the “could of should of would of” lines.
Guilt is often a self-created reminder of all the things we wish we had done differently for ourselves.
No one wants to be reminded of being the cause of someone else’s pain, or that something they did caused a major problem.
Most everyone has lived with guilt, letting it bother them in every decision they have made in life. Guilt comes from regret which comes from fear. Living in fear is something God does not want us to do.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Most of us will just push that lesson aside and let it fester like a sore, and it will continue festering for life. Bothering us as we go about our daily ways, affecting us physically, emotionally, and socially. What can one do to help lessen the load of guilt?
Why make the change:
We all need reminders. We need to know that we are not our mistakes or mishaps. We all do things for which we feel bad about in hindsight. We question our thought or actions, we wish to turn back the hands of time and do differently. Sometimes it is not possible to clean up our mess so easily. Yet, we feel as if we should suffer.
We continue to allow the guilt to eat us up inside out. This in turn forces us to stay put in a thought which prevents us from healing, moving forward, owning our mess and seeing what can be done.
This is NOT a healthy way to live. This will not benefit you or others around you. We want to live life to the fullest and know that things happen and there isn’t a whole lot we can do about them. We can just accept, get over, and keep pressing forward.
How to make the change:
This might sound easier than it looks. But I can tell you from personal experience, it is well worth it to get over it. You will never be able to fully live out your life in a positive manner if you live in bondage of guilt.
But it takes more courage, more strength to get up, even when we feel wounded. But I encourage you to make the strides, even if we still feel devastated. You can not remain in tragic limbo hurting. A period of time for mourning the person we wish we had been is normal, expected. Yet the person we can become awaits us as we chastise ourselves for actions we can no longer retrieve.
We can make a change, if we decide to get up, make a plan, encourage ourselves to address what we did and find a way to work on it.
Here are some practical ways to address guilt:
- write it down. Use a journal or plain old paper and write a letter to God about all of the guilt you are expressing. Keep it and you can review it later, you might be surprised at how you feel a few days later.
- Entrust in a good friend. Sometimes sharing and talking with a close friend will help you sort through your feelings of guilt. Sometimes what you thought was a big deal was not really a big deal at all.
- Forgive and move onward. Obsessing over what you could have done in the past keeps you from focusing on the present. Address your guilt and make amends with whomever you feel you’ve wronged. Realize that things just happen and there isn’t much that we can do to prevent them.
- When guilt starts to creep up on you for not doing something, or for something you may have done wrong–immediately start rebuking that thought. Start focusing on the positive side of things not the negative.
Don’t let your struggle become your identity.
Your past CANNOT determine your future. It can be wiped clean and started over fresh.