I feel guilty. Most days it’s the one feeling besides pain I can count on. There are so many things I feel guilty about and I honestly feel I deserve the guilt. After all wasn’t it our fault we were sexually abused and raped in the first place? Shouldn’t we have done something to stop it? And like I’ve written before why did it feel good if it was such a bad thing…I’m guilty for feeling the pleasure.
That is how we feel as survivors. We take on the guilt from our abusers. Then we allow any little thing in our lives to make us feel guilty as well. We are well versed in guilt. I feel it. You feel it. We all feel it, but feelings are not truth. We are not at fault for any of the guilty feelings I’ve mentioned. None of it. Yet I know we still feel guilty.
So guilty that many days I constantly ask God to forgive me for these things. For not being the woman He wants me to be. Not being perfect or like the people I see who seem to be following God.
Why don’t I crave His word? Why don’t I feel like singing His praises? Where is the joy I am supposed to feel in Him? Why did I not pray enough today or at all?
So many judgments. That is not God. He is not keeping a list of our good and bad deeds. There is not a righteous punch card we have to fill out and turn in to get into heaven. We just need to know Jesus.
Yes, I am a sinner. We all are. None of us are perfect. So why do we feel the need to strive for this goal of perfection? As survivors we always feel we are never good enough. We were so degraded by our abusers that it has left us feeling like we must strive to be perfect.
Many of us were also “loved” by our abusers and asked to live up to their standards, but chastised when they weren’t met. Then the same abusers who “loved” us hurt us. So it is difficult for us to not view God in this way.
We keep trying to live up to God’s standard but we need to realize He doesn’t have one. His only longing is to have a relationship with us through His son Jesus. For those of us who have been in church this is even harder to comprehend because “church” teaches us a lot about the “shoulds” in our lives.
You should be the fruit of the spirit or God is not in you.
You should attend church or you are not a part of the body of Christ.
You should praise God no matter how you feel.
With God there are no “shoulds”. There is only the reason He created us. To have a love relationship with him. He did not send Jesus to us as a get-out-of hell-free-card, He sent Him to allow us to be able to have a relationship with Himself.
He wants to love us. Broken pieces and all. He knows we are not perfect and we can never be good enough for Him because He is God and only He is perfect. He doesn’t care. He loves us anyway. He definitely does not want us living in guilt. For our sins we have committed, but especially not for things which we have no control.
Right now I don’t crave God’s word like I want to, but you know what? I don’t crave anything. I don’t sing His praises, but I don’t sing anyone’s praises. I don’t feel joy in God, but I don’t feel joy or any elation at all. Why? Because I’m not who God wants me to be? No. Because I’m not trying hard enough? No. Praying enough? No.
Because just like you I am in recovery. I have complex PTSD with severe depression. Because of the trauma in our brains and body many of us don’t feel joy or have the want to do anything.
With time, as we resolve our trauma in therapy, it will help resolve the PTSD and depression. God can bring the want and hunger for Him into our lives as He resolves our trauma and the effects of it.
I still hold judgments about myself. I still feel guilty. Most likely you do too if you’re still reading this. Most of us were taught if we feel guilty we did something wrong but our meters are broken.
We can all work on that and know we’re not alone in our struggles. We can pray for God to help us because He wants to and He will.
For today we need to try to release the unnecessary guilt. Hold on to God and try to take in what we can of His love as we continue this difficult journey.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
That’s us. Remember, you are not alone.
© 2018 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.