guilt driven life.

I once had a friend tell me that if they were to write an autobiography, they would entitle it, “The Guilt Driven Life.” I thought it sounded a little dramatic at the time.

But recently I have seen that one guilt-motivated decision has a tendency to snowball out of control until every decision has been determined by guilt.

Which of these two things will make me feel the least guilty? I’m going to [fill-in-the-blank] because then I won’t feel bad. I feel guilty that I didn’t [fill-in-the-blank] so I am going to [blank]. I feel bad about this. I feel bad about that.

It goes on and on.

Until everything is decided by the knot in my stomach.

Guilt is an incredible motivator. There are very few things in life that move me to the extremes that a guilt-carved ulcer does.

But then after running around like a crazy person, and trying to please everyone and trying to ease my guilt and my stomach-ache, I realize that not much has been a accomplished. By the time all is said and done, I realize that most of what I have said and done, is not out of love, or out of passion, but out of guilt.

(And then I start to feel more guilty… Guilt is vicious.)

Has anyone else ever been there? I think it is a female thing more than a male thing. Half the time I feel guilty and I don’t even know why. And sometimes when I’m not feeling bad about anything, I find myself taking a mental inventory of what I may have forgotten about. As if I should constantly be ruled by guilt and something is wrong if no guilt-motivators are readily available to move me onto my next guilt-driven endeavor.

If you are reading this thinking “Katie is going to make herself crazy!” – don’t worry, we passed crazy a long time ago.

But. I’m just crazy enough to do something about it.

Like check my motives before I start. Anything that I do, out of anything less than love, simply is not worth it.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but  have not love, then I am nothing, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Generally, I am motivated by one of three things; Love, upset, or guilt.

Guilt has been the most common motivator recently. Actions motivated by guilt leave me feeling tired, useless, bitter and unaccomplished.

Actions motivated by upset usually land me in lot of trouble.

Actions motivated by love are the only ones that ever amount to anything.

Guilt is driven by fear. Love can drive out fear.

Guilt can drive me crazy. Love can drive me to do crazy things in the name of Love.

Guilt can work me into a frenzy. Love can usher in peace.

Guilt can motivate me to new extremes of insanity. Love can move me to new extremes of godliness and holiness.

Guilt ties me into knots. Love straightens everything out.

Love hides me in the shadow of its wings.

Love moves me only under the Lord’s direction.

Love casts out fear.

Love offers hope in the place of guilt.

Freedom in the place of entrapment.

Any motivation besides love, is no motivation at all. Love is what gives value and worth.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Living out of anything but love, amounts to nothing.

No wonder I feel exhausted and worthless at the end of guilt motivated weeks.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Guilt does motivate me to give and to surrender…but to the wrong things. I want to give and surrender to Love alone. And to the things Love has called me to. Nothing more, nothing less.




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3 responses to “guilt driven life.

  1. Tommy


    Thanks for writing this. It was nice. I was just thinking about “guilt” and what should actually motivate followers of Christ in everything we do. Thanks.

  2. Heidi

    Thank you for writing this. It was just what I needed to hear tonight. :’)

  3. Steve

    You’re writing hits home. Guilt has governed my life and marriage and now my family is paying the price of all my life’s decisions based and motivated by guilt.

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