Job 10:15 - If I am guilty--woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in my affliction.
There it is again. Guilt. Yes, guilt. Guilt we feel because our chronic pain or illness causes us to no longer be able to do what we used to do. And, someone else has to pick up the slack. They have to do extra chores or even show up to family gatherings without us.
I know how that feels. It plagues me around every corner these days especially because a family member’s birthday is coming up and my family is gathering out of town. It’s difficult for me to travel long distances because of my health.
Sometimes my family is very understanding and don’t try to push me to attend such gatherings. But at other times, they think that I should and could travel out of town for events. In other words it’s all in my head.
Out comes the measuring spoon, no, out comes the soup ladle as I’m covered with a cloak of shame and guilt.
Have you been there? If so then you know what I’m talking about. So what’s a person to do? Should we “push” ourselves and go to events anyway? Yet, if we do, what happens? When we push ourselves when we’re really not supposed to, we end up with a pain flare-up right there. Right on the spot for all to see.
Then another series of guilt shows up as we quickly step out on the stage of pain and miss that last jump of the ballerina and fall flat on our face. It’s not something we planned. Not something we can control. We’re really not guilty of anything. We love our family and friends. Our hearts break to let people down.
And there we are just as the Bible verse above says, even if we’re not guilty of doing something wrong we become drowned in shame and our affliction. Thankfully God does not hold it against us when we must turn down an invitation to attend an event. If we ask him, he is quick to show us what we can and cannot do. He will never judge us.
So what can we do about this “guilt”? WikiHow gives us some tips on how to eliminate guilt in their article, “Eliminate-guilt,” such as understanding that sometimes we feel guilty for events out of our control.
There are many other good ideas to help with guilt. Just select the button below and read the rest of the article.
Finally, we all see things differently. It all depends on the circumstances. There will be times when events come around that you can attend. And on a good day, you might be able to do a few of those chores that don’t press your pain button.
Even if you fail, give yourself credit for at least trying. And as for your friends and family and how they feel about your limitations – show them grace. They don’t always understand what you’re going through and that when you miss events or doing things on your own it hurts your heart.
If they have an open heart, step-by-step we can gently try to explain what we’re feeling. Then we can take off that cloak of guilt and put on the joy that’s around us.
Have you ever felt guilt over your limitations? If so then you know what I’m talking about. Do you “push” yourself and do chores or go to events anyway? To leave a comment just click on the blue "comments" below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.