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Breaking Obligation


#1

So how do you break the guilt/obligation/failure cycle?

I’m of the mind that you have to come to a place in your hunger for or relationship with a loving Father where you realize that guilt will not lead you to the life of the Father. Most of us were trained with it, however, and until you know how God and his Gospel works, guilt is an easy thing to follow because it preys on our fears. When I’m uncertain what God’s demeanor is, it seems better just to do what we think we should and hope we get brownie points for it, than to actually break it’s cycle.

I don’t know how to conquer it except to ignore it, which is way easier said than done, but guilt doesn’t last just for a few seconds; it gets stronger and stronger the longer you ignore it until it just seems best to go ahead and follow it to get out from under the guilt and fear.

So ignoring it takes a bit of doing and a whole lot of relationship, where God is in it with you to untangle its talons from your flesh so that you can begin to live out of love, which is where real transformation begins.

Thoughts, anybody!


#2

I certainly wouldn’t say I’m there yet, but for me, removing myself from the major performance/guilt based situation in my life, being surrounded by brothers and sisters that encourage the good in me, combined with a whole lot of time and a whole lot of healing that only God can do. Those things have made a huge difference to me.


#3

That last sentence of yours says it so well, "So ignoring it takes a bit of doing and a whole lot of relationship, where God is in it with you to untangle its talons from your flesh so that you can begin to live out of love, which is where real transformation begins. "
Grace, communicated by the Holy Spirit, helps me shake it (guilt) off and step on top of it. Sometimes the Spirit speaks right at the time of need, and sometimes I don’t hear Him until seeking help through prayer.
Thank you for your books that have helped me on this journey of healing, to be able to be loved by God.


#4

Maybe I’m breaking obligation by not going to my Mom’s for dinner on Easter Sunday. I realize I still have issues. This decision is still wrapped in personal pain… so I can’t blame my family’s religious choices entirely.

We haven’t gathered together as a family since the funeral of my oldest nephew in January . So Sunday will be the first attempt at getting Mom’s family together . We had an opportunity at the end of March when my husband and I had our anniversary and I had my birthday. I didn’t get any feed back from the rest of the family so I let it slide. A week later my Mom is booking family dinner for Easter. I was not happy and have decided not to go.

A religious holiday is accomplishing what a family relationship couldn’t.

It felt like… and I emphasize the felt part, that I was trumped by tradition once again. I have enjoyed our family get-togethers when it hasn’t been about traditional religious events. Maybe I feel like a part of the family when it is about family… but I don’t when it is about “church”. I feel like the token vegetarian at a BBQ.

My dad’s words to me keep coming back in my thoughts.

"Don’t come home if you don’t want to."
He said that the first year I told him I wasn’t coming home for Christmas.

My Mennonite raised and committed as an adult Lutheran father was the first one to start walking me out of my life of obligation. I am grateful for him for that.

Ruby from Calmar.


#5

Obligation, this truly is the trap that is so persistent and patient, just when I think I have made head way and moved out of the religious performance based obligations and start to relax a little into a relational based faith again, up pops another head insisting that I ‘should’ do this or that.
It is then that I do like Ruby has said and listen to how it makes me feel. Do I feel obliged to attend or perform? Or is it something I really want to be part of just because it honours God? If it is the for,er then I avoid it, if it is the latter then I am happy to attend.
But like all of us here (I am guessing) it is those things that do not fit into one or the other cleanly that cause real issues and struggles, then I wrestle with them and try to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision guided by the Spirit, but like all men I often mis-hear and that can quickly lead to the spiral of guilt.
What I am learning now is to forgive myself, the way I am happy to forgive others, that way when I make mistakes I am not the persecutor too!

Pete in Peterborough UK