Have you ever felt so completely overwhelmed that you felt paralyzed? That feeling overtook me of late like a rock in my chest and I felt like it was hard to breathe. I berated myself not only for already messing up on giving up sweets for Lent and watching TV during lunch…but on everything…for being late today writing my “Monday morning” blog, for being so very far behind in writing my next novel, so far behind in achieving my goals for my books already written and published, and guilty that I am not a “better” author (as in not on the NY Times bestseller list yet!), wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, etc. etc. And then I was stopped in my track (on that negative self-pity path that leads no where and ends in frustration) when I viewed a video posted by Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic’s new Lenten series called “Best Lent Ever” http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/ and author of the book, Rediscover Jesus, which was distributed in our Diocese of Wilmington, DE on Ash Wednesday. He said (and I paraphrase) God wants us to be happy more than we want to be happy ourselves. I know I’ve been standing in my own way of happiness with these feelings of guilt…and I realize I have to “let go” of them. But how?
First talking it out always helps (and so my husband in turn helped by encouraging me to write my blog post on the subject – better late than never!) I think praying and meditating are good ways…the Serenity Prayer always helps me: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to accept the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (just in typing it I feel better!) and of course turning to a Bible scripture always helps, especially Psalms. This one jumped out at me today: “He (God) does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.” (Ps 103: 10-11) I realized that if God forgives me, I should forgive myself right here and now. That in not doing that, I am blocking myself from being useful (and kind and loving) to others by not letting go and moving on. And in not doing that, I am not being obedient to God, but actually egotistical (who am I to think I am better than God?) I think He really wants us to not only forgive others, but to forgive ourselves. If we can’t forgive ourselves, how can we forgive others? (Just like if we can’t love ourselves, how can we love others?) And if we can’t love and forgive ourselves, we can’t truly open ourselves to the love and forgiveness of God…and that’s what we need to do to truly be happy, which is what He wants for us!