Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guilt is Not the Spirit

I got an anonymous message last week. Ever since then, I've been hurting. Stuck in a place that I never, EVER want to go back to. And that's exactly what this message told me to do. Go back. It used the words temple, and sacred, and should. I got the message Sunday. Every night since, nightmares. All night. Night terrors where I couldn't wake up. And when I finally did wake up, drenched in a cold sweat. I'm talking soaked me, soaked pajamas, soaked sheets and pillows. (I know. Gross!) Tonight I woke up crying and shaking and moaning, "I'm not going back. I don't want to go back. Please... PLEASE, don't make me go back."

Funny thing is, so many people at church would try to use my nightmares as a reason to do what they want me to do. Its the Spirit talking to me. The guilt I feel IS the spirit. Bullshit. But they still say it. And I've believed it. There is a tiny voice inside me screaming, "I KNOW you've believed this before, but please don't believe it now. Please don't take us back to that time when you didn't stand up for yourself. When you let yourself be led by fear and guilt. Please don't ever do that to us again!"

How do I convince that little voice that I won't go back? I will still take care of me. I don't care what some asshole says, I won't sacrifice myself like that EVER again.

When Dann was working on changing himself, I recognized it would take a while for me to trust him again. Just because he hadn't hurt me TODAY, didn't mean that I felt safe with him. I guess I just don't trust me yet.

Not sure how to convince myself that I can be trusted, but I'll start with this:
Guilt is an emotion. Just like every other emotion. Emotions serve a purpose, and it does me good to pay attention to them. Then I get to choose what I do with each emotion. Whether I act on them or not. Just because I feel angry does not mean I need to lash out or hurt someone. Just because I feel guilty does not mean I shouldn't do what I feel guilty about. It is perfectly okay for me to do what I want to do. It is perfectly okay for me to not do what everyone else tells me I should do.

I refuse to let my life be run by fear or guilt. I DO feel guilty and afraid right now. That doesn't mean I am going to do anything with those emotions. I am more important than any feeling of guilt. I will protect and take care of myself.


  1. I would encourage you to continue to research the psychological roots of what's happening to you. Knowing the causes helps eradicate the fear and the guilt. It's helped me tremendously.

    For me education helped me a great deal. Knowing the truth affirms that your feelings and actions are right, or at least not bad.

    I wish you all the best. You can get through this.

  2. I don't know who is trying to convince you that guilt is from the spirit, or why they are saying that. What I do know is the doctrine. Paul teaches us how to recognize the spirit by it's fruits. (Galatians 5:22-23) Among those fruits are love, joy and peace. But nowhere is guilt listed as a fruit of the spirit.

    Like you said, guilt is an emotion. It's important to know the source of the guilt. Sometimes we feel guilt because of a lack of the spirit, and that is a signal that we have gotten out of alignment with God. But other times we feel guilt because Satan is trying to get us to feel we are not worthy of God's love. This is one of his greatest lies.

    Remember, also, that fear is never from God either. Paul taught Timothy that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind".(2 Tim 1:7) If you feel filled with love, if your mind is clear and you feel empowered, those things are from God. If you feel guilty or afraid, those feelings did not come from God. It's good to be aware of why you feel those feelings because they can be helpful, but never let anyone convince you that God is making you feel that way.

    I love you and I know you can make it through. God loves you too, and He does not want you to lose the progress you've made.

  3. Jen, you've been doing so well, try to focus on how far you've come. I don't agree with the comment above "Sometimes we feel guilt because of a lack of the spirit, and that is a signal that we have gotten out of alignment with God." Those very comments are what causes guilt. Guilt comes from those who are telling us we're not doing what we're supposed to be doing, and from years of listening to this, you'll feel guilty for feeling guilty. Get rid of that word. Only YOU know what's good for you, not someone who is too cowardly to tell you to your face. Please contact me if you need a friend to talk to. We'll get through this together and no more nightmares! It may be a step backwards, but you're still forging ahead.

  4. A different point of view...

    It's not necessarily important to know the source of the guilt. It is what it is.

    What you're doing is exactly perfect. You're feeling the emotions. You're expressing them. You're giving yourself permission to just BE with them. No more is required of you.

    Sending love and breath your way to ease the pain you're feeling.

  5. I started to write replies to each of you. But, all I felt was the desire to say something to make each and all of you happy. I wanted Carla to like me and see how far I've come. I wanted to protect the little brother that I tried to protect when we were young. I wanted to protect Fanny who I could tell from the first moment I met was like me, and felt guilty for everything all the time.

    And then I read Angie's post. "No more is required of you." What powerful words.

    Thank you all for your comments. I love them! And I want them to keep coming, and I'm not going to do the things I used to do to get them.

  6. I think you're on the right track. Don't let guilt work on you. It is not an essential part of spiritual growth, no matter what Spencer Kimball said. If anyting, it's Satan's way of convincing us we're not measuing up.

    I started to know true happiness once I shed all concerns about what I "should" be doing. I "should" be going to church, etc.

    One thing I've noticed is that those who talk about serving the Lord always interpret that to mean I do should be serving the corporate Church. I'm much happier now serving strangers on my own terms.

    Thanks for your astute comments at Pure Mormonism. I've been meaning to read "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" for a couple of decades now. Maybe I "should" finally get around to it.

  7. Rock - thanks, I hope the book helps. I hope anything and everything helps. I can't imagine losing a child the way you and your family have lost Jesse.