Kiss Guilt Goodbye

Mary Whelchel, an expert on working moms, helps you be the parent God wants you to be

Some would say those guilty feelings are a sign that a mom should be at home rather than working.

Maybe, but just because you feel guilty doesn't mean you are guilty. Working mothers assume that every problem their children have is the result of their working. It's just not true. If you stayed home and devoted every minute to your children, they'd still have problems. You need to look closely at your emotions and determine if you're feeling true guilt or false guilt. If it's false guilt, get rid of it.

What's the difference between true guilt and false guilt?

We feel true guilt when we're not listening to God. True guilt is specific: You know why you're feeling guilty and what you're supposed to do about it. It's a matter of being obedient to God. If a mom is working and she knows God hasn't called her to that job, she better get out or she's going to be buried in guilt.
If you've been putting your job ahead of your family, that's true guilt. Is your job short-changing your family? That's true guilt.
False guilt is a vague, cloudy feeling, one that's tough to nail down. It says, "I'm not right. I'm not what I should be." It feels the same and acts on you the same as true guilt, so it's tough to know the difference. It all goes back to those marching orders. If you know you've got your priorities right and are following God's lead in your life, then you can be assured those feelings are the work of Satan, trying to find your weak spot.

Obviously, God wants us to get rid of any false guilt. How can we do that?

The best weapon against false guilt is Scripture. Find a verse that relates to your guilt, memorize it, put it on your screensaver?whatever you need to do to get it in your head. Then, when those feelings threaten to overwhelm you, remember that Scripture.
Let's say you're battling the fear that your kids won't turn out right because you're working. Use a verse like 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power ? " or Proverbs 22:6, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

The Bible is often used to tell moms they shouldn't be working. How do you respond to that?

The Bible doesn't offer black-and-white directives about whether a mother should work. I do, however, find many principles about priorities. It's clear that women should be responsible for their households and put their families ahead of their careers.
Scripture does offer a great example of a woman who does both things well, the Proverbs 31 woman. She puts the Lord first and then takes care of her family before heading to the marketplace. She knows her calling and obeys.

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May 25

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