Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Quiet Time Guilt

Busy. Busy. Busy. Racing here and there. So much to do. Laundry. Appointments. Swimming lessons. Flopping on the couch exhausted at night . . . and the nagging guilt.

Didn’t get my quiet time in.


Haven’t cracked my Bible for days. I avoid even praying for the censure I’m sure to face from the Almighty for not getting my priorities straight. But a new day begins and I head straight for my prayer closet first thing.

I sit in the white rocking chair and feel the guilt from the displeasure that is surely from God, silently chastising me for all my neglected quiet times in the previous weeks.

I’m at war. My mind knows this thinking to be skewed.

The Bible speaks so clearly about the unconditional love and freedom that are gifted to God’s children. But my heart continues to feel the lashings.

I grab my journal and start pouring out my feelings. Telling God of the frustration I sense rolling down from heaven, cataloging my failings even as my mind fights so hard to walk in the truth—that I’m no longer in chains.

He HAS set me free.

So why do I still feel so imprisoned to shame and guilt?

Illumination came steadily as I journaled. Old dynamics. Human dynamics from childhood color my relationship with God.

A man who didn’t know how to be a father. Long days of work, late nights with his friends. A mom sitting in the bleachers alone, cheering her kids on.

Kids watched as dad came home jovial from a few beers with friends, his hearty laughter urging the family to join in.

Mom withdrew into silence. Disapproving and hurt. Bitterness rooted in her heart.

Tension would build until the hearty man withdrew under his own guilt and shame. When the wife sensed his penitence the uneasy relationship would regain its footing.

Fast-forward thirty years. I’m sitting in my prayer closet feeling like I’m the hearty, jovial husband wanting to waltz into intimacy with God and ignore how I’ve neglected our relationship.

How can God be anything other than the bitter wife who punishes by withdrawing? My view is skewed by the dynamics I witnessed as a child.

God gently reminds me that I can not apply a human model to Him. He is fully pleased with me. His love knows no bounds. He looks to the heart, not the actions. He doesn’t rate our performances because it is not an act, but a walk with Him.

I feel his pleasure in me. I don’t understand it, but I revel in it. A child who is fully pleasing to her Dad.


  1. Very true, Sherri. Thanks for your illuminating words :)

  2. Sharri, Thanks so much for your transperancy. So often when I read your blog you are dealing with the same issues I am. Your insights are very helpful. Just this morning I was dealing with the guilt of realizing exactly how long it had been since I journaled or even read my bible. I could literally feel the weight of my own disapproval settle on my shoulders. I find I do way more damage to my faith and over all walk than anybody else. Again, thank you for opening your life and heart for all to read. Nikki

  3. Rel,
    Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for hosting me on your blog!

  4. Nikki,
    Isn't it amazing how much we all struggle with those same issues of needing to perform or do it right for God's love? I get moments of living in his freedom, but I want to walk in it fully! Praying for that revelation!