So the turkey is gobbled, the stuffing is gone and I’m left with wonderful memories and a larger waist-band. How could I have done this again I think to myself. And then the guilt sets in. I don’t know about you, but for me I need some guilt management.
Here are a few pointers on how to handle guilt:
1. Remind yourself that no matter what you do, God still loves you. I know this is simple, cliche and fits on a bumper sticker, but most people don’t take this truth to heart. We think that one act of failure or giving-in will cast a deep shadow of un-acceptance by God on us. Not true. In fact, it’s impossible. God loves you even when you eat one too many turkey legs.
Now, that isn’t a free pass to do whatever you want, but when you realize how much He did for you, it changes your life and you want to be a better person because of it!
2. Retrace your steps. Think through the events that lead to your feelings of guilt. What could be avoided? What could you control and not control? Often, we find ourselves making the same mistakes redundantly without any serious reflection. Most of the time we can identify what it was that affected your slip-up.
3. Have a plan of action. I know that when I’m around friends and having a great time that I grab too many chips, dips and spreads before the actual meal starts. (This is called “grazing”). Then when it’s time to sit at the table, I feel obliged to fill my plate. With the upcoming holiday events, my plan is not to avoid the apps, but to only have a small plate or handful instead of making that my meal.
4. Ask God to give you both awareness of an upcoming problem and strength to correct it. Being aware of situations that are tempting for you is the first step in dealing with the resulting guilt. Following through on your plan is where the gold is! Ask for strength to say no and then say “NO”.
Remember that feelings of guilt come from the gap between where you think you should be and the realization that you’ve not arrived. Enjoy the journey of growth. When you stumble, know that God still loves you and encourages to try again.
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