Day 3: Guilty Mornings
Towards the end of my training for my bodybuilding competition, I started to wake up with guilt each new day. The rigorous exercise schedule and strict diet leave no room for error, and life becomes a finite line of discipline and sacrifice. I felt guilty if I went over in one of my macros. I felt guilty if I stayed up too late. I felt guilty if I had too much coffee. I felt guilty if I didn’t labor hard enough in one of my workouts. Every morning I would look at my previous day and analyze how I had failed to achieve the perfection that I had set for myself. No matter how hard I tried, I could not be completely flawless in every area.
I wanted to project perfection to others, but I knew if I did, I would be living a lie. I had a choice. I could be honest about my failings and accept grace or I could act like my training was seamless and I met the difficult standards each day without fail. I decided just to humble myself and let people know that training was hard and I struggled with keeping the strict parameters. I was tired of feeling guilty each morning. God knows I’m not perfect and He loves me. No matter what, I was working hard and achieving goals that were once impossible for me. God understands that I’m not perfect, which is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me. He wants to work in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12.9).
We may try to project perfection because we are worried about what others think. Or we may very well be or worst critic, feeling guilty if we can’t meet our own impossible expectations. But if we do our best and focus on what God thinks, we can be released from a cycle of failure and guilt. We will never be perfect, but Jesus didn’t come to this world to condemn us. He came to free us. Life is too short and we have too much to accomplish to be filled with guilt every morning. Giving our all may never reach a 100% success rate, but Jesus’ grace fills in the rough edges of our effort. Even in our weakness, we are strong. Even in our failure, we win. And in our imperfection, we are perfected through Christ.
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10.14 NIV).
Father, I know I will never be perfect. Show me how I can be confident even in my failures because I’m tired of waking up with guilt each morning. I know that Jesus didn’t come to this world to condemn me, but to free me from the constant judgment of others and myself (John 3.17). I may never be perfect, but I want to give you my all. I won’t try to earn Your approval. I trust that I am already completely loved and accepted. But I do want to do my best to make You smile down on me. I love You, Father. In my joy of what You have done for me, I want to live my life to the fullest. I will stumble and fall, but I know that You are cheering me to get back up and run for You again. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
• Do you struggle with feelings of guilt?
• Can you accept grace today and free yourself from projecting perfection?
• What good things has God achieved in you even in your weakness?