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Thou Shalt Not Have Dirty Floors! | Imperfect Homemaker

Thou Shalt Not Have Dirty Floors!

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I don't know about you, but I really enjoy reading blogs and browsing Pinterest or Facebook during my kids' nap time.  I have found quite a few ladies who post really good ideas and who encourage me to continue improving in my homemaking skills.

Sometimes I'm encouraged to enjoy the days, no matter how exhausting they are.
Sometimes I'm challenged to be more present with my children.
Sometimes I'm reminded to do a better job doing little things to show my husband I love him.
Sometimes I get a kick in the pants to just get up and clean my house instead of reading about the best way to do it!

But almost inevitably I see this phrase come up in the comments on these types of posts:

 

“Shame on you for heaping more guilt onto women already pulling their hair out trying to do everything they need to do for their families!”

 

“Really?” I wonder. I don't think the intent of the blogger was to make women feel guilty. I assume the intent was to encourage women to be striving to take the next step.
Dear Mom Who Feels Guilty...

 

 

 

I get that women are busy.  Believe me, I do – because I'm right there with you!

I get that you're exhausted, and I know that sometimes thinking about doing “just one more thing” feels like it's going to push you over the edge.

But here's the thing.  Sometimes that guilt you feel?  Sometimes that guilt is a good thing.

 

Maybe you feel frustrated when you see a post about spending more time with your kids.  “Stop! I don't have time to spend more time with my kids or I totally would!” you think.  And I don't doubt that in some situations that's the case.  Single moms single-handedly keeping the household afloat?  I can see how that would be hard.  Dealing with chronic illness?  Been there, done that.  Not easy.

But what about those times when the real reason you feel guilty is because deep down inside you know that the reason you can't  spend more time with your kids is because you are spending your time on the wrong things?  There are plenty of things you can do that are actually good things, but because they take away from what's best, they're not right.  If that's the case, the guilt you feel – though it hurts – is a good thing, not something from which to run away or about which to become angry.

 

So what could be classified as “good guilt” and what qualifies as “bad guilt”?

(Update: After having my husband read over this post to make sure it made sense, he offered the suggestion that we clarify the terms a little bit.  While the Bible uses the term “guilt” in both a positive and a negative way, I think it may be easier to differentiate if we use different terms altogether.  So we'll say that “bad guilt” is condemnation, either from our own flesh or from the devil.  “Good guilt” is conviction from the Holy Spirit.  Condemnation beats us up.  Conviction builds us up.   Condemnation hurts because it says we are not good enough and we never can be.  Conviction may sting because the truth hurts, but it offers hope for change. )

“Bad guilt” says:

“My home should be decorated like this or I'm not making my home a haven for my family.”

“Good guilt” says:

“I haven't been using my time wisely and I need to spend more of it creating a peaceful atmosphere in my home.”  Or…it may say nothing at all!  Not everybody is called to decorate their house a certain way, and there's nothing wrong with that.  Your home can be a haven without the latest Pinterest look.

 

“Bad guilt” says:

“I am a lousy homemaker.  If I would get my act together, my house would be *this* clean. (Insert perfect standard of cleanliness here.)”

 

“Good guilt” says:

“I've been lazy, and according to the Bible, that displeases God.  It's time for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”  Or…it may say nothing at all!  You may be in a season of life where, in spite of great efforts, your house still stays a mess.  And that's perfectly okay.

 

“Bad guilt” says:

“If I were the right kind of mom, I would be playing with my kids daily, doing crafts with them, etc., etc., etc.”

 

“Good guilt” says:

“I need to change my priorities.  I've been spending too much time on the good, and not enough time on the best.”  Or…it may say nothing at all!  A good mother isn't measured by the number of crafts she does with her kids each week, the number of minutes she spends playing with her kids, or how few times she yelled today.  Her only responsibility is to do what's best for her family rather than trying to measure up to someone else's standards.

 

How do I evaluate whether I'm experiencing good guilt or bad guilt?

 

There are 2 simple ways to tell:

 

1. Bad guilt is based on someone else's standards.

When you look at how everyone else lives and you don't live the same way, bad guilt begins to set in.  Instead of measuring yourself against others, measure yourself against God's Word.  Does God's Word say, “Thou shalt never have a sticky floor?”  No?  Then why are you beating yourself up about your sticky floor just because someone else has that as her personal priority?
Good guilt asks, “What does God think of me?  Is how I'm spending my time best for my home and family?

2. Bad guilt is something you do to yourself.

No one can physically twist your arm and say “FEEL GUILTY, OR ELSE!”  If you feel guilty for no valid reason, that is because you are measuring yourself against the wrong standard.  Switch out your measuring stick and the guilt will disappear.
Good guilt is something the Holy Spirit does in your heart, prompting you to change your actions to be more in accordance with God's Word.

 

Bad guilt aims to hurt your feelings; good guilt aims to change your actions.

 

 

What should I do when I'm experiencing guilt?

 

When you leave the computer feeling guilty and depressed, even though there's nothing you can possibly do to change your actions, you must make a deliberate choice to change your thoughts instead.

How can you change your thoughts?

You put truth into your mind via God's Word.  You spend time reading God's Word instead of reading man's words.  You spend time telling your struggles to God instead of to your friends.  You spend time listening to uplifting music and meditating on the words instead of letting your thoughts swirl unchecked.  You memorize scripture so that it takes up so much room in your mind it automatically crowds out the faulty thinking that tries to sneak its way in.

 

And in those times when you get up knowing the guilt you feel is completely legitimate?  You just get to work making the changes you know you need to make – immediately.

The temptation is to sit around and bemoan all the time you've wasted and in the process you're wasting more time!  If your guilt brings no action it is doing you no good.

 

 

What are you going to change today, friend?

 

Do you need to spend more time thinking on truth?

Do you need to make necessary changes in your life?

 

Let's stop being angry at our feelings of guilt and deal with them in a healthy way!

 

Blessings to you and your family,

MaryEllen

 

 

 

 

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