Freedom and Honesty: Defeating Guilt
Before we begin, listen to this:
This series is powerful and will take more out of you than you expected. How do I know? It's taking much out of me as I'm journeying through this series with you guys.
Last time, we spoke (Kintsugi: Where Faith and Healing Meet) I talked about how we will be going through a series of posts on healing, the process, the questions, and how to attain healthy mending as a believer. Since I'm not the type of person to simply tell someone to pray about it and leave it there, I ultimately made the decision to share my journey and what I have learned with everyone.
Previously, I shared that to begin healing, we must recognize that there is healing to be done due to the hurt that exists: acceptance of the pain's existence. Today, I want to tackle what we do once we've accepted that we need healing.
When I accepted that I had hurt that needed to be worked on, the feelings that came flooding were feelings of guilt. Internally and spiritually, I knew what I needed to do to allow healing to take precedence in my life, though, I was concerned about those I care about and those in my life. Was my family going to accept that I need to work on me and will be shifting my focus on me? Were my friends going to stick it through with me as I decided to go on an adventure to heal myself? Was my boyfriend going to support the journey I have realized I would need to continue? If they didn't, what would I do? Would healing cost me a relationship, whether it was with my family, friends, or my significant other? Would I be a bother?
If you're anything like me, you either have thought these things, or you were thinking, “dang, she's speaking my language.” If you're not like me, well, you're probably wondering why I'm asking these questions and where the root be? Let me clarify, it was guilt. The guilt of choosing myself and my healing was bringing forth the issues in the previous paragraph. So how do we handle guilt? That's what this post is about.
Single and dating:
Yes, I have been in the position where I had to focus on my healing, yet I was dating someone, so I feel you if you're in this position. What is the best advice I can give to you if this is your current situation?
Be honest with whom you're dating but not dependent on their position (good or bad).
Pay close attention to the reaction when you tell your significant other that you're going to be taking time to work for you. Healing requires you to be in an environment that is understanding, patient, gentle, open and freeing mentally and spiritually. You deserve to be in a healthy space to mend appropriately. Your partner cannot heal you (even if they are the cause of the hurt or want to help or both). Healing of any kind requires for you to work internally (with or without external support from your partner, once you've set on the journey you have to complete it). Healing is an individual journey that may be assisted with a joint member of the pain, but it's ultimately on you (harsh as it may sound, it's the truth).
Though this is uncharted territory for moi, I had to ask women and men who have gone through healing while married. For confidentiality purposes, I have summed up what was collectively shared with me as:
Be honest with yourself and your spouse.
Marriage carries more weight than dating; hence, why it's non-negotiable for your partner to allow you to go through your healing process without guilt or any form of interference but support, patience, and understanding. Support can come in multiple ways based on the individual, time, resources, and love languages.
Most people may think that if you're single, then there shouldn't be the feeling of guilt. Don't forget the questions that were flowing in my mind at the beginning of this post. As I'm writing this, your girl is single, so this is another territory I can relate to and have experienced. No matter who you are, healing will take you time, energy, and sometimes resources. Due to what your healing process may require, you'll have to rearrange the time, energy, and resources spent with those who are in your life, such as friends and family members. Make sure you are being honest with your time and energy with those who hold meaning in your life.
Have you noticed the overall theme here? No matter where you are in life, guilt is dissolved when honesty, transparency, and vulnerability take effect. Does this remind you of a passage in Scripture?
'The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. '
- James 5:15-16 (CSB)
Healing comes through confession. Healing can only progress, take form, and mature in its healthiest way when we eliminate guilt and replace it with love, compassion, understanding, support, and authenticity. Guilt dies when there is authenticity. Sin dies in the presence of truth.
“It's one thing to understand the value of suffering, and quite another to remember to remember it when you are angry or frustrated or in pain.”
“Archbishop, take us with you to the hospital or to a doctor's appointment, and they're probing you and prodding you, it's painful, and it's uncomfortable. And you're waiting, and it takes a long time. What do you do inside yourself not to feel angry to complain or to wallow in your self-pity? It sounds like you're saying you can choose to be joyful even in the face of that difficulty. How do you do that?”
“I think we ought not to make people feel guilty when it is painful. It is painful, and you have to acknowledge that it is painful. But actually, even in the midst of that pain, you can recognize the gentleness of the nurse who is looking after you. You can see the skill of the surgeon who is going to be performing the operation on you. Yet sometimes the pain can be so intense that you do not have even the capacity to do that. The thing is, don't feel guilty. We have no control over our feelings. Emotions are spontaneous things that arise. […] At some point, you will be in anguish,” the Archbishop continued. “We are told in the Christian tradition to offer up our suffering and unit it with the anguish and pain of our Savior and thus use it to improve the world. It does help you not to be too self-centered. It helps you to some extent to look away from yourself. And it can help make that anguish bearable. You don't have to be a believer in any faith to be able to say, Oh aren't I blessed that I have doctors, that I have nurses qualified to look after me, and that I can be in a hospital? That might just be the beginning of moving away from being so self-centered and concentrating too much on me, me, me, me. You being to realize, Hey, I'm not alone in this. Look at all the many others, there may be some who are in greater pain. It's like being put into a fiery furnace to be refined.”
(Dalali Lama, Desmond Tutu, & Douglas Abrams, 2016, The Nature of True Joy: Nothing Beautiful Comes Without Some Suffering, p. 45 - 46)
'The voice of the Lord is above the waters. The God of glory thunders — the Lord, above the vast water, the voice of the Lord in power, the voice of the Lord in splendor. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion, like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord flashes flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the woodlands bare. In his temple all cry, “Glory!” The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned, King forever. The Lord gives his people strength; the Lord blesses his people with peace.'
'In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him. This is according to his eternal purpose accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. So then I ask you not to be discouraged over my afflictions on your behalf, for they are your glory. '
'Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.'
Release the guilt and questions that are hindering your healing process. Yes, you have the power to do so. How? Christ gave it to you. You always could release sin with truth, the truth of God and his unwavering love for you and I. Practice in your power and free yourself with honesty and authenticity. Maybe just maybe, your healing has been delayed because of what I mentioned in this post.
Next time, I will be touching more in-depth on how we choose ourselves and simultaneously care for others through forgiveness, ownership, and selfishness. Confused? Stay tuned for more clarity.
Until next time…
Abrams, Douglas. “The Nature of True Joy: Nothing Beautiful Comes Without Some Suffering.” The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, CNIB, 2017, pp. 45–46.
Myers, Raechel. Holy Bible: She Reads Truth Bible, Navy Leathertouch, Indexed. Holman Bible Pub, 2017.