Permission to Breathe (On Guilt)

“Long-term, gospel-motivated obedience can only come from the grace of what Jesus has already done, not the guilt of what we must do.”  -Tullian Tchividjian


It pushes hard on a spirit like a bag of bricks on a back. Guilt keeps you slow, sometimes unmoving, wrecked.

I’m talking about the guilt that says, “you are a failure; you will never get it together.”

So we move slow, aching all the way, heaped up in our “failure” for not doing all that we should be doing. We squirm in our skin because we want to please God, but why bother, we’ll just keep messing up.

“I want to keep trying, but there’s no point. I’m just a mess.”

A gob of fleshy, glorious, God-image mess.

We’re all there; we all have a mess. Guilt says, “keep trying to get out of that mess, {snicker}, you never will. Try harder anyway. Oh, and you are disappointing God.”

Quiet that slithering guilt voice for a minute and listen to what our God says…

You, with unveiled face (I see you, I know you!), are being transformed into my image by my spirit.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

Your souls stands naked before Him, and there is no shame if you are in Christ Jesus. He sees you and He sees Jesus because your spirits are welded together. And He loves you. We are all a mess. We will all fail. Stand up straight.

Let the bricks hard fall.

Put one foot in front of the other and walk. You have the strength and the power of the universe painter inside you. He will, by His spirit, change you, mold you, in time for His glory. You just walk it out, in freedom.

You can’t lose His love.

So keep walking; and give your spirit permission to breathe. You are free.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Romans 8:35 ESV

“I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” romans 8:39 The Message

This post is linked up with “How Big is Your But?”


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Photo by Allyeska

23 Coffee Talks on “Permission to Breathe (On Guilt)”

  1. Anne says:

    Oh, and how I know this to be true. That burden weighing me down. My conscience telling me – truthfully – what a sinner I am. Satan (unrecocognised, because he comes as an angel of light) quoting Scripture proving how much of a failure I am. But Satan only ever quotes half-truths. And that makes him a liar. He NEVER reminds us Christ's total and utter forgiveness – for sins past, present and future; he never gives us those comforting words of a Saviour who promises unconditional love.
    Away with you, you half-truth-teller, you liar!
    But I'm such a slow learner…. why do I not flee to my Saviour immediately, instead of wallowing in the mire of my guilt? And yet…. my great and gracious Saviour forgives me that too. Again. And again.

    Thank you so much for posting x

    • Sarah Mae says:

      "why do I not flee to my Saviour immediately, instead of wallowing in the mire of my guilt? And yet…. my great and gracious Saviour forgives me that too. Again. And again. "

      YES! :)

  2. Katy says:

    Wow. I needed this so badly this morning! Just the reminder that my Jesus knows me the real me and loves me in spite of me! WOW! What an amazing God we serve! What…a merciful, gracious and forgiving God we serve. He is so good :)

  3. Christin says:

    Soo true and I am living proof of this.

    You know what's amazing? When you let the guilt fall, and walk in freedom, it is easier to carry out His will!!! It really is! And as soon as that pesky guilt whispers in our ear, it MUST be rebuked.

    You will know the difference between guilty and God's voice. Guilt is heavy. God's voice gentle and leading.
    Great post Sarah Mae!

  4. "Your souls stands naked before Him, and there is no shame if you are in Christ Jesus. He sees you and He sees Jesus because your spirits are welded together. And He loves you."

    Love this truth, and I love the way you have put it.

    Praising Him for the foundation, through Christ, to "with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

  5. Amen and amen.

    I've been struggling with some of this lately…I needed this affirmation!

  6. Shannon P. says:

    The other day I was reading in Joshua …

    "Then the Lord said to Joshua, 'Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.'" (Joshua 5:9)

    I loved the imagery … He has ROLLED AWAY our shame. WOW.

    So beautiful. So freeing.

    • Sarah Mae says:

      That is beautiful imagery. Thank you for sharing it!

  7. Kristi says:

    Thank you!! Just a simple thank you!!!

  8. Traci says:

    beautiful! So interesting how we want everything to be right and all the duck lined up in a row, and when they're not we feel so unworthy. So glorious to know He wants us in the mess and doesn't care about our ducks, or thier row!

  9. Crystal says:

    Thank you!! I really love this. I struggle so much with accepting His love and grace on a daily basis. It's like I know it and ultimately I believe it because it's in His Words but I want to know it and live it out. I have been memorizing Psalm 139 to help me combat this. He knows my thoughts, my sitting and my rising… yet, He hems me in, holds me and leads me with His right hand. What love!

  10. Amber says:

    Thank you for the encouragement! I got back out of bed last night at 1am, when I couldn't sleep because of all these thoughts, and wrote a post about my failures this month. I needed this today. God is good, yes? =)

  11. Tracy Stoffell says:

    This post was just beautiful. So many people walk around with the weight of guilt and shame upon them and when I say many people I am so including myself. For years I lived so defeated and truly had to come to heart knowledge that I am a child of the King and he loves me and accepts me. Thanks


  12. QueenLos says:

    thank you I needed this today… God is speaking through you.. keep doing what your doing!

  13. Summer says:

    You are so right, we should never let guilt keep us from serving God. Sometimes guilt can be good. Guilt can mean our conscience is working. (Romans 2:15) It can tell us that we have a moral or spiritual problem that we need to work on. And, it will help us to confess and repent from our wrongs. But a balanced view is always necessary. We do have a tendency to be to hard on ourself which is what I am sure was your point. :) Very nice post. Thank you !

  14. Judith says:

    Thankyou! …with all my heart…I needed this…I need to really "get" this!

  15. Thank You :-)

  16. Dianne says:

    Excellent post. Easy to say, but so tough to live. I pray that we can all be encouraged and freed through your words – and ultimately God's truths. I don't want to continue to live and act out of guilt, but out of loving response to Jesus and all He's done for me.

  17. Jessica says:

    I'm reading the book "Crazy Love" right now, and in one chapter he addresses how the only person who can make you love God more is God. Any amount of work we put into it will always fail. Thank you for sharing these truths with us today, and I love what you said about their being no shame for those who are in Christ.

  18. Jen says:

    Thank you..just what I needed. :) I was just writing about it last night in my own blog. I've been struggling with the guilt of not being enough of a mother. I have a son with autism and so many times, I just feel not good enough. Yet, I know in my soul, that God gave him to me because I would be good for him just as he has been good for me. That guilt — for what ever area in your life — is hard to carry. Especially knowing God's there with arms open. Thanks, Jen

  19. Marie says:

    Thank you Sarah Mae amazing just what I needed! :)

  20. Sisterlisa says:

    Somedays I feel like I can't breathe. Today is one of them.Your freeing words opened up my lungs a bit.. thank you :)

  21. h. rae says:

    Mmmm… this feels so good to read… to throw off the guilt and step into His waiting arms! Thank you for this post!

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    I'm Sarah Mae. I'm figuring out how to fit perfect into fallen skin. Stick around for the stretching...your soul is welcome here.

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