Are You Guilt Driven or Spirit Led?

By Brenda Jank

Note: This post is Post #4 of our original series on rest and restoration. We are reposting some of our favorite articles because we believe they’re just as important today as ever. We hope you’re challenged to think of rest in a fresh, new way and will invite others to join in.

Why Rest?
In the last months of her life, I met a woman named Kathryn who was a  wife and mother of two lovely young girls. Kathryn was fighting cancer. We were both newcomers to a Sunday morning Bible study. Her family was new to Indiana. My family was new to the church. I found Kathryn’s approach to life captivating. I wanted to get to know her, but I was hesitant. Wouldn’t she be guarded with her days?
“Kathryn, could we have lunch some time?”
“Oh Brenda, I would love to! For the first time in my life, I am a person with time.”
My surprise over the use of her words, “I am a person with time” must have registered on my face. She smiled warmly and placed her hand on my arm. “I finally have time for everything that really matters.”
Are you a person with time, time for everything that really matters?
Run Hard. Rest Well. is a ministry designed to encourage people to explore the use of time.
Time for rest.
Time for work.
Why rest?
Clarity. My friend Kathryn understood, with clarity, the purpose of her life. That understanding brought energy, delight, and focus to her days. These gifts can be ours, too, but often guilt gets in the way. It’s a roadblock of monumental proportions. In the last post I mentioned there are eight roadblocks to rest. We took a look at six. Are you ready for number seven?
Guilt routinely dismantles our rest.
Guilt routinely blurs our calling, disrupting clarity and focus.
As caring, gifted, responsive people we are aware of needs and drawn to opportunities. For some of us, the needs of others and the wealth of golden opportunities before us flash like neon lights. Compelled to respond, we end up pulled in many directions, spread too thin, in over our heads.
Can you relate?
Guilt is a driving force behind much of our exhaustion. A remarkable story about guilt is tucked into the very first chapter of Mark. I missed its message for the first 40 years of my life, but it will act as a rudder for the next 40.
Jesus visited Simon’s home where his mother-in-law was sick in bed. Jesus healed her and the news spread quickly (Mark 1:29-38). That evening the whole town gathered at their door. Jesus ministered to each as day turned into the night. Waking up early the next morning, Jesus slipped away to a quiet place to be alone with his Father. As the sun rose, a fresh batch of people gathered at the house. As long minutes ticked into hours, frustration grew among the people and the disciples. A group of disciples was sent out to search for Jesus. When they found him, they announced, “Everyone is looking for you!
Can you hear their intent to instill guilt? I can.
The people waiting at the house had legitimate needs and a real desire to meet Jesus. Yet listen to Jesus’ reply.
Let us go somewhere else . . .
What?! Those were real people with real needs and Jesus was going to turn his back on them?
As painful as that truth is, Jesus refused to be guilt driven. Jesus chose, every step of the way, to be Spirit led. Jesus’ holy yes to God’s plan for that morning meant an earthly no to real people with real needs.
Were those people disappointed? Yes. Devastated? Likely. Did God leave them out in the cold? No, not for a moment. I do not know how, when, or where, but God in all his sovereignty had a plan for their lives-plans to pursue, heal, restore. Maybe that timing was going to unfold 3 hours later, 3 months later, or 30 years later. I don’t know. But God did.
Will I trust him? Jesus did.
Why rest? Why slip away to a quiet hillside to watch the sun rise? Why schedule a day with margin in mind? Why take a walk? Why take a break? Because clarity is birthed in calm. This account of Jesus’ life reminds us that clarity comes from quiet times off the beaten path.
This week when a need arises or an opportunity comes knocking on your door consider these three suggestions:

  1. Stop. Refuse to answer on the spot. Reply, “Let me get back to you.” Then pray. Listen carefully. If you are living with little margin, any “yes” will demand a “no” to something, whether you want it to or not. What will that be? Face the truth.

  2. Know your mission for the season of life you are now living. Name it. Claim it. Be incredibly sensitive and prayerful about any “yes” outside its domain.

  3. Following Jesus’ lead, remind yourself that saying “yes” or “no” requires direction from the Holy Spirit. It takes conviction, vision, and stamina, but it produces joy, confidence, and a work of God that far exceeds the guilt-driven yeses we are often inclined to give.

Why rest?
The call of your life depends on it.
Mine, too.
There is so much more to explore on this topic, but the first step is about choice.
What kind of rest will you choose?
Guilt driven?
Spirit led?
God appointed.

Did you like this post?
Visit the first blog post by clicking here.
Take note of the date. Feel free to visit the Blog Page to explore the entire series.  

Would you like to explore the series at your own pace?
Consider purchasing Vantage Point: A New View of Rest, Rhythm, and the Work of God for yourself or others. 7,000 copies are transforming lives all around the world. Click here to learn of purchasing possibilities

Brenda Jank and the Run Hard. Rest Well team are thought leaders in the arena of Restorative Wellness. Find additional resources at Contact us at:

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1 thought on “Are You Guilt Driven or Spirit Led?”

  1. Bren, Good Morning! May blessings abound!

    Today’s edition bears repeating again and again.
    The guilt driven life is like driving your car with a slow leak in one tire.
    Unless it is fixed catastrophe is sure to follow.




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