Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Grace in Guilt

That haunting memory. The boil of regret. Sitting paralyzed. Wasting away. I'm too often drawn back into my memory, reliving the past and remembering verbal blows exchanged. And some of the worst recollections involve thoughtless or harsh words. Words pack a punch, and the bruises they leave are not easily erased. How many of us wish we could change what we said in the heat of the moment? Words have started wars, broken marriages, destroyed friendships, and severed parents and children. Yet the damage from foolish words lay not only in those initial moments, but in the days of living with that memory embedded on our minds.

The memory is real. The pain is real. And the guilt is unrelenting.

When I remember the foolish, harmful things I've said to another person, I often dwell on how my words made them resentful. My mind can become so absorbed with the memory that I can think about nothing but my own failure and misery. It's a crippling feeling, stopping me from walking forward in life.
How do I get out of it? I often get stuck in it. Some say, just think happier thoughts because, what good does it do to get dragged into the dumps by something you can't change? But I can ignore it for only so long, pretending the guilt vanishes when it actually just hides in a dark corner of my heart.
I sometimes try to suppress it by watching a film to get my mind off the guilt. Combine that with a spoon full of nutella, and the distraction works for a time. But you can't ease guilt by shoving aside its reality. Rather, guilt pricks my spirit to make me aware of where I really stand in relation to our perfect, good Creator. In Psalm 38:3-8, David writes of the effect of sin and the damaging feeling of guilt:
 There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

  Guilt is a gift, a form of God's grace to expose me to my true self and force me to take seriously my sin, whether it's a lashing tongue, a lustful thought or a lingering pride. God wants to break through my distractions, pull off my rose-colored glasses and show me the truth about myself and my future. The festering guilt can function for good, turning me to see my state before a holy God.


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My Writing Aspirations

An excerpt from my latest journal entry:
"Dearest of Journals,
 I will say here, however it might disappoint those romantic souls who revere the intellect of anyone who takes pen to paper, that I have never seriously aspired to create, or unearth, an entirely novel way of expressing my own modest perspective - to find, as some would put it, my own voice. My ambitions are far more humble. Though of course, I have more than once allowed myself to entertain the thought of critical fame, I would settle, tomorrow, for far less. I would be content simply to see, on a single occasion a work of my own in print. This would be enough. There was a time, I must admit when my goals were somewhat higher - when I intended to publish book after book, a small library of my own making, beginning with collections of short, and then longer pieces, novels , trilogies - and to fill these volumes with the fruits of my own hard - won wisdom. Alas, dearest of journals, I might as well have wished for the moon."

As the pages of my life turn and I embark on a new chapter, my inspiration is far and few between. One of these days however, I will come up with something wonderfully inspiring for all of you!