Listening to Your Spirit

“My definition of guilt is quite simple:  when you try to force yourself to do something you don’t really want to do….  Anytime you hear yourself say, ‘I should, I’m supposed to, I have to,’ you have ignored your spirit to please your tribe.

“Coming into harmony with your soul releases the tension in your body and eliminates the mental Ping-Pong.  When you hear your spirit, there is a huge surge of energy with a wonderful feeling of relief.  Suddenly you are awake, alert, and fully alive and ready to live.”

— Christel Nani, Sacred Choices, p. 49

1 comment

  1. My friend e-mailed me a very insightful comment about this post. It got me thinking so much, I thought I’d post it as a comment on the site — I’d like to hear what more people think about it.

    She put together this quote with the one right below it. The one right below it says, “Satan’s lie is that our temptation is unique to us.”

    My friend said:

    These two seem to contradict each other. I am not sure but would venture to guess that the first quote could be misconstrued as permisson to dive into temptation.

    ***

    Now, some things I’ve been thinking about it.

    First, it struck me funny — It had never occurred to me that those quotes were contradictory, but she does have a point. The first quote probably COULD be construed as permission to dive into temptation.

    However, I don’t think they are truly contradictory, in most cases. I guess I think it’s one of those “Balance Things.”

    Yes, there are some cases where I think our hearts mislead us. When something is specifically called a sin in Scripture, I don’t think any amount of “following your heart” should persuade you otherwise. After all, according to James, “Each one is tempted, when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”

    For an obvious example, if I see something I really want that belongs to someone else, and it looks like I could get away with taking it, and it wouldn’t hurt anybody, and really it’s the right thing for me…. If doing what I “should” do keeps me from stealing, I think that’s a good thing!

    But most of my “shoulds” aren’t a matter of sin at all. And learning to say No to them is very freeing and brings lots of joy.

    As an example, I did a teleconference with Christel Nani last Spring. She talked some about this, about asking yourself Why you do the things you do for the people you love.

    It was late, and I was very tired. My son had flown in that evening. I was planning to stay up late and clean up his room and put the guest bed in place–all things I had meant to do since moving in, but hadn’t had time to do.

    But listening to Christel Nani, I realized that I was only going to do that because somehow I thought I “should.” It dawned on me that Josh is an adult. When he left for college, he didn’t exactly leave the room neat and tidy! If he wanted to sleep on the guest bed instead of the sofa in that room, he was fully capable of clearing a place for it! It was something of a revelation. Instead, I went to bed and got the sleep I needed that night. I was in much better shape for interacting with my son, and I didn’t feel resentful about doing something for him that probably wouldn’t have been especially appreciated anyway–that I was only doing because somehow I thought I “should” do that.

    Or another example: Some number of years ago, I decided to stop volunteering to do things at school and at church that I was not gifted in — and free myself up to focus on things like my writing — things I believe God called ME to do.

    I took a LOT of stress out of my life when I learned to say No to good things — in order to have time for things that are better for me personally. I still need to work on that.

    So yes, I think there are some things you SHOULD do that you, indeed, should do. However, I hope with most of those things there are a lot more reasons to do them than simply guilt. Because it seems to me that acting out of guilt is almost never good motivation.

    I would so much rather follow God’s leading through Joy than His leading through Guilt. And really, I do feel that when I’m on track with what God has for me, Joy is the primary emotion, not Guilt. So I think I can take Christel Nani’s advice that doing something ONLY because I think somehow a good person “should” do that can indeed be a sign that something’s wrong.

    What do you think?

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