I have spent way too many years of my life fighting feeling guilty.
Guilt - I have discovered that this is what comes from trying to live life with my plate too full. Too many times I find myself trying to do it all. I have finally come to realize that I can't do it all.
When I was homeschooling the kids and working while trying to be a wife, mom, and homemaker I was always riddled with guilt. When I was at home, I felt guilty that I wasn't at work. When I was at work, I felt guilty that I wasn't at home. When the kids and I were just messing around at home, I felt guilty I wasn't teaching them. When I was teaching the kids, I felt guilty I wasn't just being their mom.
Basically, I was good at doing a lot, but not good at doing a lot well.
Hand in hand with the guilt, I often felt overstressed and overwhelmed. Little things would send me into a tizzy. I felt like I held the world, at least my corner of the world, on my shoulders - I felt responsible for everything.
I found myself overreacting to everything: Megan had a cough - I was sure it was TB, lymphoma, or something else deadly; Levi broke his arm - I was sure the x-ray would show bone cancer; Joel was slow to come out of the bathroom at a restaurant - I was sure he had been abducted; Brian was late coming home from work - I was sure he was dead in a ditch.
I was slowly unraveling at the seams.
Last summer after taking a step of faith and deciding to leave OB thereby drastically cutting back my work hours I noticed something dramatic. The guilt was gone. I had finally found for me a balance.
Last week, however, the guilt came back. Because of my occasional inability to say no, I found myself working three days in a row. Three days of the kids at home fending for themselves. I know they are old enough to, but still that's my job and for that I felt guilty.
It didn't take long for all those feelings to creep back.
The difference this time is instead of working harder to keep doing what I was doing thinking that would ease my guilt, I recognized the Holy Spirit working in my life prompting me to make changes.
I am thankful for this feeling of guilt - this conviction of the soul. I am glad that it is there prompting me to change the direction of my life and prompting me to clean off my plate a little.
This time I won't fight it; I will listen to it.