Guilty Joy

One day in the recent past, I was driving to meet a friend to take our children out for the day.  It was the first beautiful, sunny day that followed on the heels of weeks of cold, grey, lingering winter weather. I had been prepared, on time, and it was promising to be a good day — why then was I hit with this extreme sense of guilt? (Disclaimer: I have found that lack of sleep and mom hormones do strange things to your brain sometimes!!)

As I was driving, I was thinking of the other mamas who were at work and who weren’t able to be with their kids on such a glorious sunny day. I was thinking of people who weren’t able to do what they loved. I was thinking that there was some way that I was probably undeserving of this, and that I should be feeling guilty because I was able to be outside on such a gorgeous day, headed to spend time with one of my favorite people, with my beautiful baby girl — then my thoughts began to steal my joy, and before I knew it, I was wrapped up so completely in my mind that I wasn’t even ABLE to enjoy myself!

But as I kept driving, I started to relax and noticed the green hills and the budding trees and felt the warmth of the sun on my shoulders — I began to pray. I thanked God for the opportunity to be out and about. I thanked Him for the blessing of my baby girl, and the opportunity to love on another little guy which allows me to be home with our daughter. I thanked Him for friends who would be able to laugh with us and share the day. I thanked Him for finally being able to see the sun! And then I felt this little whisper in my heart that felt like it was saying “I know what makes you happy, its ok to enjoy it. I love you, and I made this day for you. I made this sun to lift your spirits, I created the beauty to make you smile — enjoy what I have created and have joy!”

How amazing is it that the God who created the universe created us with likes and dislikes, dreams and goals, and is looking to give us the best things He can? I believe He is happy when we enjoy the wonderful things we have because of Him — just like when we love watching our kids enjoy something we have given them! We wouldn’t want them to feel guilty for being happy, would we? That’s ridiculous!

When we believe the lies from the devil that we don’t deserve joy, and that we need to have guilt in our hearts for enjoying the blessings from God, we become stunted, crippled and live life less than to the fullest.  We have no joy, we are not full of the boundless vitality that comes from the Holy Spirit, and we are not truly thankful.

Prayer and a thankful heart help us get that joy back…I know I am going to try to be a much better recipient of the wonderful blessings God has given me, and will enjoy them with a guilt-free spirit!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.(James 1:17)

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