Guilt and Anxiety – “I’ll Get by with a Little Help from my Friends…”

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (The Message)

I was recently talking with some dear friends, and we talked about how guilt can be crippling. I said that guilt and anxiety are both crippling to our spirit, but only when those emotions become out of control.

Guilt, for example, can be useful to the extent that it prompts us to see our failures and sins and then to seek remedy for wrongs we have done. The feeling of guilt can be useful if it gets us to the place of restoration. The problem is that guilt is not always rational. It, like anxiety, can become a self-defeating emotion that robs us of joy and energy. There are times when we feel guilt, but we have not really done anything to warrant it.

Anxiety too can be useful to the extent that it keeps us alert and vigilant to dangers. The problem with anxiety is that the “dangers” it warns us about are often non-existent, or greatly exaggerated.

Analyzing those conditions- the states of guilt and anxiety- is important. In order for us to get calibration, another trusted person can journey with us to explore these things so that we can get good, caring feedback. This is not to just get affirmation of those feelings, but to get honest feedback about ourselves. Left to our own devices at times, we cannot see clearly to determine if that guilt or that anxiety is rational or irrational. Sometimes we need the help of a friend or a counselor to sort those things out.

So, take a look at those emotions that can be crippling, and get the help you need so that they do not cripple you..

Prayer: Lord, thank you for those who journey with us as we explore ourselves, Amen

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