In the sequence of our morning activities my husband is usually the first out of bed and downstairs to turn on the coffee. While he waits for it to brew he also turns on the morning news. Whether I follow in a few minutes or stay snuggled in the bed for another hour, whenever I get downstairs the television is tuned to the news. This morning as I poured my own cup the weather forecast was being shown. A cold front has blown through and the presenter of this ever-changing information was as excited about the dropping digits as if it were something never before experienced. Now, granted, near-30 degree temps in our neck of the woods doesn’t happen that often, but there will be no snow or ice today and her enthusiasm was a little much for those of us struggling to be enthused about anything more than that first cup of coffee. I listened for only a few minutes before changing the channel in hopes there would be something less irritating that would aid in the process of becoming fully awake.
However, as I went through my own rituals of morning, her overly enthusiastic words “But it FEELS like…” stuck in my mind. Her stating of the actual temperature was each time exuberantly followed by the Real Feel temperature. At one point I asked myself “Real Feel? Says who??” and thus began my little search:
The AccuWeather.com RealFeel® Temperature was created in the 1990s… The RealFeel Temperature is an equation that takes into account many different factors to determine how the temperature actually feels outside. It is the first temperature to take into account multiple factors to determine how hot and cold feels… Some of the components that are used in the equation are humidity, cloud cover, winds, sun intensity and angle of the sun… The equation also takes into consideration how people perceive the weather…this can be debated, since not everyone perceives weather the same way, but the equation uses the average person’s perception of weather and adds that into the RealFeel equation. http://www.accuweather.com
As God so often does, He tied that little phrase to the thing that I’ve been mulling over for the past couple of weeks: Christian guilt. My last post prompted some enlightening responses from a few readers. They were each thankful that I shared my little story and their responses included: totally resonates with me… really needed to hear this…thank you for the encouragement in freeing me to REST without GUILT… We just slow down a bit from our ever busy schedules which include church and prayer and giving and service because we love God…and we take a nap or read a book…but it feels like we should be doing something else, it feels like it’s wrong somehow…
What I write of today is not the bold and glaring guilt that shows up when we blatantly sin – I mean, we’re supposed to experience that guilt, right? (We’ll get to that momentarily…) No, this is the shadowy guilt that quietly whispers words that are more frightening to us than the loud scream of sin guilt. This persistent companion is relentless in its finger-pointing, occasionally directed outward but most often toward the mirror. We chase it away with our offers of worship and our acts of service. Until we are alone. It is then we discover that it never really left, we had simply drowned its voice with the loudness of our own. And with the realization that it didn’t leave during our offers of worship and our acts of service we accept its heavier-than-ever existence. If this guilt had a name it would simply be Not Enough.
Your prayer was not enough.
Your offering was not enough.
Your worship was not enough.
Your service was not enough.
Your study was not enough.
Your faith is not enough.
You are not enough.
When was the last time you prayed or gave or served or studied or simply sat in the presence of the Lord that you did not walk away thinking you should have done more? This guilt of not enough is at the core of why we can’t truly rest and we don’t allow ourselves to just “be”. And it grieves the heart of our Father.
…God shows and clearly proves His own love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore, since we are now justified – acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God – by Christ’s blood, how much more certain is it that we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God. Romans 5:8-9
Jesus took our guilt. He took it so that we would not have to. All of it. Once and for all. Never needing to do it again. It was enough. We have been acquitted – found not guilty – and to seal the deal He gave us His Spirit to: teach us all things, help us remember what He said, guide us into truth, empower us to be His witnesses, to be our Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby.
Never once does the scripture say that the Holy Spirit will find us guilty. He gently exposes our sin and compels us to repent – to change our minds. This is an act of love not anger!! So…why do we feel guilty? Because we have not fully believed that we have been made completely acceptable to God. Right now. Just as we are. With fresh wounds and old scars, with things that we’ve already done and things still to do, with our failures and our successes, our weaknesses and our strengths, our humanity and our new nature.
One of the definitions of guilt is: feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy
Imagined offenses. We imagine that God is offended by all our “not enoughs” and that we are guilty. These imagined offenses are like the RealFeel temperature (you thought I’d totally lost that train of thought, didn’t you?). The real temperature, the actual comparative measure of hot and cold, is a fact. When I took that screenshot the temperature outside was 42 degrees. Yet if we go by the RealFeel number, to many – the average people (which evidently does not include the vast population of women of a certain age who are sitting with windows open today) – it would feel like 35 degrees. But RealFeel is also based in perception and how they felt did not change the fact that it was 42 degrees.
The fact is that God has made us acceptable to Him. He pre-planned to keep us in His never-ending favor through what Jesus would do!! His Spirit will lead us and guide us and teach us and this leading and guiding and teaching will always be more about what He has done for us than what we will ever do for Him. Once we begin to set our minds on the fact of redemption rather than how we feel, we will find rest for our souls and the ease to just “be” and guilt will have no place. Ahhhhh….. 🙂
“But it FEELS like…” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com