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“I will thank the Lord for His righteousness; I will sing about the name of the Lord Most High.” Psalm 7:17 CSB

Today I’m thankful for Joyce who taught me about guilt at the women’s retreat.  Joyce educated me to the fact that women spend 6-8 hours a week feeling guilty. That equates to 300-400 hours a year spent feeling guilty.  We suffer from two types of guilt. Genuine guilt is when we do something wrong and know we’ve done it. Imaginary guilt is the guilt we feel, even though we haven’t done anything wrong.  Guilt deceives us. I love this point Joyce made, we feel guilty when we sin, we feel guilty when we don’t sin. Joyce was speaking right to me. I knew exactly what she was talking about.  But we can combat the guilt we feel. Joyce gave us practical ways how to overcome our feelings of guilt.

We need to look at the evidence, staying focused on what is true.  Make a list if you need to, it will remind you of all you are doing.  If you are suffering from imaginary guilt because you think you are disappointing someone, ask them.  Ask them what they need and listen to what they say. Appreciate yourself and all that you do. We tend to focus on what we’re doing wrong instead of all of the things we’re doing right.  Be as compassionate with yourself as you would be with others. Reverse the situation in your mind, give yourself grace. Remember, we live in the “gray area” of life. Life isn’t black and white, it is always shades of gray.  Joyce explained the gray area like this, we don’t live at the extremes, we live somewhere in the middle. We’re not always unhappy, we’re not always happy, we’re a mixture of both somewhere in the middle. We live in the gray area.  Guilt is not our normal emotion, it is just an emotion we experience periodically. Allow yourself grace to take care of you. We can’t care for others if we aren’t healthy. We’re allowed to be healthy.

Guilt does have a good purpose.  When we have sinned or hurt someone, guilt is  conviction from the Holy Spirit we’ve done something wrong.  Guilt makes us apologize when we were short with our family. Guilt alerts us when we’re heading down the wrong path.  I feel guilty if I eat too many cookies, for me, that’s a wrong path. Guilt helps me steer clear of it. We have to acknowledge the guilt, determine what type of guilt it is.  Once we do, we can either deal with our wrong actions or let it go.  

Today I’m thankful for all I learned about guilt from Joyce.  And I’m thankful for her evening prayers, great is her faithfulness.  What are you thankful for?

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