Guilt’s Learning Curve

Over the past few months I’ve done some morally treacherous activities. Things that have taken me right to the edge of the precipice, a few times losing my footing among the pebbles that lay at the edge, almost tumbling downward.

I’ve pulled back from the ledge. I’ve had to confront those sparkling demons that drew me to it with strange promises in preposterous and mesmerizing tongues.

I can make a number of excuses as to why I listened, why I was able to get so dangerously close.  I won’t give them here. They aren’t necessary, like all excuses, they lack substance.

But, guilt has flowered in the fertile ground of these transgressions like a zealous weed. It cropped up right as I stepped from the edge, prickling my feet with its barbs. Mocking me with its hideous foliage and ubiquitous flower.

Guilt is a strangling emotion. It will overtake a fruitful garden and lay waste to its beautiful, and helpful plants.

I felt guilt for my activities. It popped up, as expected, and I leaned forward, plucked it from the ground, and cast it over the ledge.

I asked God for forgiveness. And, like the kind and loving father depicted in the New Testament, he gave it. The act of absolution is definite and miraculous. I’ve learned soul shifting things from the dance with the demons at the edge. And in that learning, is absolution, and  freedom.

I recently read something about guilt that made perfect sense. “Feeling good about ourselves is a choice. So is feeling guilty. When guilt is legitimate, it acts as a warning light, signaling that we’re off course. Then its purpose is finished” (from a Daily Reflection).

I’ve been off course. A series of events, a series of heartaches dating back nearly a decade, brought me to the edge. I stepped back. I learned that what I was doing wasn’t who I really am. It wasn’t a reflection of my highest self. But, sometimes, just sometimes, we have to see the photo negative of what we are not to know what we are.

The slip along the edge has taught me what I am not. It has also taught me my subconscious fears and my needs. It taught me the lesson of swallowing the bitter pill of unhappiness over and over again will eventually pollute the heart, body, mind, and soul.

There is no person is in control of my destiny, nor my happiness. And, as much as people need people, they can’t be the center. God must remain the center. And, God always navigates us back to our mission on earth, to our highest selves.

Even though those demons cloaked themselves in beautiful promises, and I fell once again into their trap (they do love to change up their tactics), God showed me that my transgressions are forgiven and He guided me through the lessons learned by them. Guilt has taught me a great number of things, and consequently, I let it go. Ripped it up by its roots, stopped it from spreading and choking the rest of my garden.

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