Friday, July 9, 2010

My Personal Guilt Trip

I often feel guilty. About many things. And I can't always accurately judge whether or not the guilt is legitimate.

Case in point. My summer has not been nearly as productive as I hoped. I had a whole list of projects I was hoping to get done, but I've barely scratched the surface. A friend asked me yesterday how my summer was going, and I told her I've been being a lazy bum. "Well, that's what the summer is for," she replied, as do most people when I tell them how little I'm getting done.

Is that really what the summer is for? People who work full-time do not have the luxury of being a lazy bum during the summer, just because it's summer and "that's what the summer is for." Laziness cannot be the purpose of the season if the majority of the population is not afforded the pleasure.

There's another area of guilt: being a stay-at-home mom. I love being a stay-at-home mom. I love being able to spend the time with my girls and really know them. I love having a flexible schedule. I love not having to wake up to an alarm most mornings. But I realize that so many women do not have those luxuries -- and almost NO men -- so I feel guilty enjoying them. So, I get up in the morning before I have to, make a long to-do list of stuff to accomplish in my day . . . and then feel guilty when I don't do it all.

I love the fact that I can afford to buy organic foods and good quality meat now at the grocery store without juggling things in my budget. But many friends can't. So I feel a little guilty every time I enjoy a good steak off of my grill. This isn't right. What good is a blessing if you can't enjoy it?

It just occurred to me that "guilt" may not be the word I want here. "Guilt" implies some wrong-doing on my part. I haven't done anything wrong when I buy and eat a good steak. I'm not doing anything wrong when I make good use of the flexibility of my time schedule. I'm not even doing anything wrong when I have a relaxing unproductive summer day at home. (Now, too many of those, and then we might have a problem...)

My "guilt" comes from the fact that I'm getting something good that others aren't -- others who are just as deserving. It's that mindset that it's not fair that one person has something good that everybody doesn't get -- a mindset that seems to be behind socialism and its cousins. I hate that mindset. Objectively, I recognize the fallacy and futility in it. But apparently, it's pretty ingrained in my psyche somehow.

I suppose if my "guilt" motivates me to act on behalf of others to allow them to enjoy more of the blessings I have, then it's a good thing. But I need to figure out how to keep it from stripping the joy out of my life at the same time.

1 comment:

Some lady from Pittsburgh said...

I also struggle with guilt alot. It's often so hard to tell what is the enemy using guilt as a weapon and what is not guilt, but rather conviction from God to get us to change something in our life (like the steak, maybe? :)