I so appreciate this community and the faithful participants who pray for one another and regularly respond with wisdom and compassion. Thanks also for your support in my desire to keep this blog open to fresh air and other people’s perspectives.
I told you a while back that I had a big life change coming up and asked for your prayers. The change is now official. I am moving to Arizona in November.
You all know how much I LOVE seeing my granddaughters. For the past two years we’ve been spending winters there to build those relationships. Last winter we realized that with them soon entering school full days during the week, it would be harder to get that quality time.
On our drive home from California, we stopped in Phoenix to check out the housing (much cheaper than California) and visit with my cousin. We found a house we liked near Surprise, AZ. and after several months of back and forth, were able to purchase it. We thought we’d go back there for this next winter and holidays so that the whole family – grandkids, daughter, son, could come and stay with us there. That would give us the quality time we longed for and a place for everyone to gather, as our apartment in California was tiny as is my daughter’s apartment.
The closing of the house was in July where everyone joined to celebrate. My son loved it so much he applied for and got a job right near our new home. In August he moved there, living in our new house while looking for his own place. We thought, “Wow, this is coming together much differently than we thought. Now both of our adult kids are on the West coast area and perhaps after this winter is over, we should put our Pennsylvania house up for sale and move out there full time.”
Someone from my husband’s circle of contacts saw a picture of our home and heard we were thinking of moving and asked if they could look at our house. They had just sold their house and thought our house might be perfect. They bought it – unplanned and unexpected. Last Friday, when all the inspections and papers were finalized, it became official.
What that means is we are selling our entire house contents (our house is furnished in Arizona) and moving November 18th. Please pray for me. This is an unexpected blessing and added stress to my already overflowing plate. I have my CONQUER conference coming in two weeks, plus other speaking engagements I had booked months ago when I had no idea I would be moving so soon.
Plus to de-clutter 25 years of “stuff”, sell everything, pack up the rest and move while working feels a bit overwhelming. So the blog will continue, I have lots to say, but I’m sorry if I don’t pop on as often as I would like. It seems like every extra minute is spent either throwing something away or putting it in a box. Prayers appreciated.
On another note, I am doing a free webinar next Tuesday, October 4th, on the topic: Are you in an Emotionally Destructive Marriage? If you know someone who might benefit from attending, click here to register.
Plus I’ll be doing a live FB event tonight (September 28) at 7:30 PM ET answering the question Is Indifference Considered Emotionally Abusive? Simply go to my Facebook Fan Page.
Hope to see you there.
Question: How do I discern true guilt from false guilt? I want to please God and serve others for Him, but I don't want to give in to manipulators, either in my family or my friends.
Answer: I thought this question was a fitting follow-up to our question from last week on whether or not a manipulator knows he or she is manipulating.
If a manipulator can make you feel guilty for saying no, he or she is much more likely to be successful in getting you to back down. Their strategy is to make you feel as if you are doing something wrong or you are being selfish when you won’t do what he or she wants. A manipulator’s thinking is simple. He believes, “If you love me, then you’ll always do what I want.” Therefore, if you say no, then you must not love me or you are selfish.
A two-year-old uses this tactic on his mother to get her to buy them something while standing in line at the grocery store. Most mothers are wise enough not to be manipulated by these tantrums. We know that a firm “no” to our child is the most loving thing we can do. The same is true for other relationships. Saying no to manipulation is actually taking a stand against someone else’s sin. This is a good thing.
However, when the manipulator is not our child, but our mother or husband or adult child, it’s much harder not to get sucked into his or her drama. It doesn’t help that they often accuse us of being unloving and selfish because we are not giving into their demands, and consequently, we’re tempted to feel guilty.
So what’s the way out? Let’s first look at Jesus. He never sinned, never was selfish yet he did say no. He didn’t always do what people expected or wanted him to do. Jesus took time out for friendship, rest, relaxation, and prayer (Mark 6:30-31,46). When you feel guilty because you’ve said no to someone, take a moment to read Mark 1:29-39.
In this passage, we learn that Jesus went to Simon Peter’s house for a relaxing dinner, but people brought the sick to Jesus and the whole town gathered at the door. Can you imagine the pressure Jesus felt with everyone pressing in on him to do something? That evening he healed many people, but he eventually said no more and went to sleep. Those who were left behind unhealed must have felt disappointed.
While it was still dark, Jesus woke up and went off by himself to pray. Peter eventually came looking for him. “Jesus, where have you been? Everyone back home is waiting for you.” Jesus answered Peter saying, “I’m not going back to your house. Let’s go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
Jesus knew he could not do everything everyone wanted him to do and still do what God wanted him to do. During that quiet time of prayer, Jesus asked the Father to help him discern between the good things and the best things. Just like we do, Jesus had to make some hard choices – to please God or to please others. He chose pleasing God. This priority regularly cost him the disapproval and disappointment of others, including his disciples, religious leaders, and his own family (see Matthew 26:8; Mark 3:21-22).
To break free from the guilt trip, we must all learn to distinguish between true guilt and false guilt. True guilt is a God-given warning signal that we are violating God’s moral law. False guilt arises when we or another human being judges our actions, ideas, or feelings as wrong, even if there is nothing sinful about them.
So next time you’re struggling with guilt, do these three things.
- Go to God’s word for clarity. Am I breaking God’s moral law or is it some other human being’s law such as “Thou shall never say no to me”?
- Invite the Holy Spirit to search you and see if there is any wicked way in you (Psalm 139:23-24). You may find you have more guilt over feeling angry and resentful that you said “yes” when you wanted to say “no” than you would have if you had just said “no” in the first place.
- Ask yourself this question. If I say “yes,” am I saying, “yes” because I want to or because God asks me to? Or do I feel I pressured to say “yes” because I’m afraid to say “no”?
Remember, you are a finite, limited human being. When you say “yes” to something, you also always say “no” to something else (Click to tweet).
When you repeatedly say “yes” to a manipulator, keep in mind that you are also saying “no” to your own needs, to perhaps your children’s needs, or to the greater good of what God wants for you. When you accept that you can’t always make everyone happy with you, (Jesus couldn't either) then the false guilt will dissipate.
Friends, how did you recognize the false guilt trip you gave yourself or someone put on you? And, how did you get rid of it?