By Emily VanDyke
“I am convinced that guilt and shame are never from God. They are merely…the defenses of a little man who wants to be a big man. ” – Richard Rohr: Franciscan Priest
Guilt and shame often go hand in hand. They are weights we all carry, but are rarely things we share with each other. It feels embarrassing or perhaps it feels too negative towards our own selves. In the above quote, Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, tells us that this guilt or shame we may feel are not coming from God, but rather, they are coming from man.
“What then, shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
We know that taking time for ourselves or choosing to rest can often bring with it a waterfall of guilt and shame. We hear it from people all the time. So, what can we do? We know this shame is not from God. We know this guilt is not from God. It is from a judgment that a work-driven society places before us that says if you take a moment to breathe, you are selfish and unproductive and lazy.
But logically, we know in our core that this is not true. We are designed to rest. Taking a break, prioritizing rest, or even turning your phone on airplane mode for an hour is not selfish. It is not lazy. It is not unproductive. We know that as we work and pour into others, we also need to take time to re-fill our own cup. We cannot continue to pour into others’ if our cup is empty. This does not mean we are selfish. This does not mean we are lazy. This does not mean we are unproductive. It simply means we are taking care of ourselves, which is a requirement of being human.
While the society and world we live in will continue to add more and more pressures on constantly doing more, we can rest in the fact that society is not God. If we believe the words that are written in Romans, we know that God is for us. The guilt and the shame we feel from resting cannot come from a God who created us in His image to need rest. Heck, even Jesus needed to rest (Mark 6:30-31). Heck! Even God needed rest after creating the universe (Genesis 1: 2-3). It takes time to switch the thinking in your brain, but the next time you feel that shame or guilt coming up as you take time to pause, try to remind yourself of all of this.
May you take time this week to rest knowing you are in good company.