Sometimes, we feel guilty because we have made some mistake. We handled a situation poorly. We lost our cool. We slacked off in some way.
But sometimes, we feel guilty for really no justified reason at all. We just start to doubt ourselves.
So how do you tell the difference between legitimate guilt and the guilt that seems to come just because we are female?
At church this past Sunday, my friend Annette made a wonderful comment. Wonderful. She said there are times she feels bad as a mom. She feels like she is a complete failure and will never be able to get it right. She feels hopeless.
Those are moments the Adversary is trying to bring her down.
On the flip side, there are moments she feels convicted. She knows she made a mistake and needs to do better. But those feelings are accompanied by hope. She is able to think of ways to improve and she feels like she can do it. She recognizes her weaknesses but also recognizes ways to improve upon them.
Those are moments the Lord is being her father and telling her how to be a better mother. Those are gentle admonishments from the Lord letting her know how to improve.
What a wonderful observation!
As women, we need to recognize these moments and only give the promptings from the Lord our time. As Annette pointed out, a lot of times the thoughts from the Adversary come when she is actually doing pretty well.
The Lord wants you to succeed as a mom. The Adversary does not. The Lord wants you to improve and do your best. He wants what is best for you and your children. He will guide you and help you to do so. Seek to recognize His voice in your life and ignore that of the Adversary.
As I have pondered this further, I also thought that as parents, we need to emulate the correct way of admonishment. When we need to correct our children, we need to do so in a way that is loving and offers hope for improvement. We don't need to cut them down and make them feel worthless or like they can't ever possibly get better. We need to show them love and help them recognize areas that need improvement, but help them execute that improvement.
And I know it is hard! It is not easy to be kind, patient, and loving when you are telling your child for the fifth time in 3 minutes to put her shoes on so you can leave. You will mess up. There will be times you lose your patience and respond to that moment in a way that isn't ideal.
But you can try your best to not mess up. You can pray for help. You can resolve to do better. You can figure out what you need to do as a parent to avoid those many reminders. There is always a way to improve if you will seek it.
The next time you feel guilty, determine the source. If it is a legitimate source, think of ways to improve the next time that situation happens and ways to avoid the situation all together. If it is not legitimate, cast it out!