The Heavy Yoke of Guilt
Is it a gender mishap that we women tend to carry the guilt of the world on our shoulders? If we were intended to do so, wouldn’t we have the broadest shoulders, the most powerful legs, and unending stamina? More like oxen, let’s say.
Have you seen oxen work the farm? Burdensome yokes on their shoulders, as they drag a heavy weight around and around, one tedious step at a time.
The Oxen Versus the Woman
We do not have the sturdy frame of an ox, because we were never meant to drag the much-too-heavy yoke of guilt. Unfortunately, many of us have wasted a great deal of time and energy lugging our burden through life, one tedious step after another. And, being the wonderful women that we are, we have often picked up the guilt of others, as if it were nothing more than another piece of dirty laundry. The difference, of course, is that guilt is not so easily laid aside.
Did you know that even Shakespeare addressed the challenge of ridding ourselves of guilt? In MacBeth, Shakespeare wrote what has been referred to as “the psychic malignancy” of guilt: Out, damned spot! Out, I say!
Our Challenge Today
What guilt have you carried, or do you carry still? Perhaps it is your role in a broken relationship; that last phone call that was not placed in time; the failures of motherhood; or the regret of bad choices. (Feel free to add your own.)
Let’s ask ourselves this: what has guilt ever done for us? Has it added emotional fatigue, irritation, and unhappiness to an already overloaded life? Has it kept us awake at night, or had a detrimental effect on our minds and bodies? Or, as the writer below expresses, has it caused us to withdraw or avoid certain relationships:
What people don’t typically know about guilt is that it’s a double-whammy distress: You feel culpable for a wrong that is not known to people who should be apprised of it, yet when you contemplate an airing of your misdeeds, a feeling of shame kicks in and blocks you from doing so.
Our Choice Today
Have you wronged someone? Ask forgiveness, make restitution, and move on. To do otherwise is to subject yourself to a lifetime of penance.
The cycle of self-inventory became a consuming and destructive force, a revolving door of inspection, finger-pointing, and guilt. The conclusion was always the same: “If only I had…”
Undeserved guilt is a thief. It steals our peace of mind, our time, our energy, and our ability to be all that God has created us to be. Undeserved guilt keeps us bent in an unproductive posture, unable to look up, unable to see and embrace all the good that life has to offer.
AHA Moment: I never was intended to bear the heavy yoke of guilt, and I choose to unburden myself!
If guilt remains a burden in your life, join me. Let’s free ourselves to be the friends, the mothers, the daughters, and the sisters we were created to be. Free of the heavy yoke of undeserved and unhealthy guilt.
About the author
Kathleen Serenko is an author, speaker and domestic violence advocate. She writes from the heart, sharing with complete transparency the experiences that have changed her life. Her vision for Twice Broken: My Journey to Wholeness is to send out a message of friendship that says to others struggling with grief, “You are not alone, your emotions are normal, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.”