"I Feel Bad...."
I can’t tell you how many times I heard myself saying that phrase. (What's even worse, is that I usually mean it.)
For instance, just last week: —I felt bad that my house wasn't clean enough. (It’s not like it was dirty—it just wasn’t perfect) —I felt bad that I ordered my groceries online instead of going to the store and bargain hunting. —I felt bad that I couldn’t control someone else’s bad decision. (Because obviously that's my responsibility!) —I feel bad for things that happened over a decade ago. —I feel bad that I can’t meet everyone’s needs around me. —I feel bad when I have to say “no” to someone even when there is a legitimate scheduling conflict. If I had the space, the list could go on and on. But here’s my personal favorite: I literally spent time feeling bad that I was happy about how a situation turned out!
Seriously, I felt bad that I was happy! It may have actually been the last one that is caused me to realize that enough was enough. It is time for a revolution! I am tired of feeling bad! So this became my goal for the remainder of 2019—-I want to overcome my tendency to feel bad. Now please understand, I’m not saying that I want to avoid genuine conviction if I am doing something wrong. From the very depths of my heart I want to live a life that pleases Jesus and if He sees an area of my life that needs to be changed, then I want the Holy Spirit to have free rein to convict me and help me change. Instead, what has to go from my life is false guilt—-the sense that my best efforts aren’t good enough—that I can’t live up to my own standards or the standards that I believe others have for me. How am I doing it? 1. I’m facing the fact that this is a generational iniquity. (A negative or sinful behavioral pattern that runs in the family). Boy, does this one run in my family! If I really think about it, I can tell you exactly where it came from and how I learned this behavior. I could tell you stories of many times where the women in my family blamed themselves for things that weren’t their fault or felt bad that they weren’t making everybody happy all the time.
Growing up in this atmosphere I learned it was normal for women to feel bad. It's what we do. Through words that were spoken to me, I've even come to believe that it was my responsibility to carry responsibilities that weren't meant for me. Because I can't control everything in the world around me, when I fail to meet expectations, I feel bad.
Of course, identifying the generational iniquity was the easy part—-the hard part is that admitting this behavior was wrong for them and it is wrong for me. 2. I’m making a conscious effort to control my thoughts. When a thought comes into my brain, I’m putting it on trial by interrogating it. I’m asking: “Is this guilt legitimate or false guilt?” “Is the thing I’m feeling guilty about actually a sin or just a lack of reaching a personal expectation?” For instance, walking around feeling guilty because I could have saved money on toilet paper by going into a grocery store rather than ordering toilet paper online has nothing to do with sin. There is no eternal consequence to where I buy toilet paper. 3. I’m also working on injecting truth into the lies that attack me. For instance (going back to the toilet paper) I actually googled and saw that the PRICE WAS THE SAME!!! There is no reason to feel bad. But enough about toilet paper, the real change I am making is that I am learning to take my thoughts captive as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5. Instead of letting my thoughts run wild with false guilt and accusations, I’m learning to take control and say, “Hey, this is my mind and I don’t want to feel bad anymore. These aren’t Holy Spirit convictions—they are stupid, lying, accusations designed for one purpose—-to make me feel bad. I’m tired of it and I’m serving you an eviction notice.” Finally, I’m learning to choose joy. The truth is that I don’t want to feel bad all the time anymore. I want to experience joy in my life. Here’s the best part: God also wants us to live with joy in our lives. He doesn’t want us weighed down by the guilt and accusations of things that don’t matter. Only the enemy wants that. (John 10:10) Romans 8:1-2 says: With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. What I’m learning is that it is not God’s will for any of us to live under a continual dark cloud of “feeling bad”. We weren’t created to live under false guilt or with a sense of responsibility to control everything that happens around us. Instead, God wants us to live in freedom—-freedom to love Him, to follow Him, to obey Him, and to let the results to Him. The truth is that God is not holding us up to an impossible standard that requires us to be all things to all people at all times everywhere. He simply wants us to love Him and obey Him. When we are faithfully doing what He wants us to do with our lives, we can abandon the pull to “feel bad” and instead walk in joy, in peace, and freedom.
That’s what I want. And so I’m fighting a battle to take back my mind from the lies that make me want to feel bad. Daily, I’m taking my thoughts under control, choosing my words, and even choosing my emotions. Because I’m tired of feeling bad. I want to experience the joy of the Lord in my life, today, tomorrow, and always—-even if I spend a few more cents on toilet paper. Who’s with me? Let's get over this!!!