This morning I realized I’ve been experiencing a lot of guilt when I spend time and resources on things that aren’t paying my bills. This is partly on me for giving place in myself to this guilt, and partly on this other person who initiated this guilt in me. It’s not shame, because I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s just good old misplaced guilt.
As my faithful readers know, I finished my book on Thursday. It was a big deal to me, but I’ve felt nothing but guilt about having spent so much time finishing it. (And I mean the actual time put into writing, not just the fact that from start to now I’ve been working on it for two years). According to my resident guilt-tripper, since writing doesn’t pay my bills, I should not spend so much time on my butt doing nothing. That’s right, folks: if it doesn’t pay your bills, you’re not actually doing anything.
So I composed a list of all of the things I do that don’t pay my bills, applying the same logic from above:
- Writing doesn’t pay my bills.
- Spending time with friends doesn’t pay my bills.
- Ministry and outreach don’t pay my bills.
- Going to church doesn’t pay my bills.
- Being ministered to doesn’t pay my bills.
- Spending time with God doesn’t pay my bills.
Technically-speaking, the job search doesn’t pay my bills either, but I feel guilty every time I participate in an activity that is not job-hunting. According to resident guilt-tripper, activities like those listed above are things people get to do when all of their ducks are lined up in a row. Until my ducks get their acts together (or more appropriately, until I get my ducks’ acts together, because you know, this can’t possibly be in anyone’s hands but my own), it’s unreasonable for me to spend time doing things I enjoy, like writing or being with friends. It’s unreasonable for me to spend time and resources doing things like ministry, outreach, or going to church. It’s unreasonable for me to spend time being ministered to or being filled by God.
Absurd, isn’t it? And yet I listen to these lies every day.
Well, I’m done. I’m done with resident guilt-tripper telling me I should accept a crummy life, that I should settle, that I should suppress any desires for great things, that I’m not good enough for great things.
I don’t have any desire to live a small life where I hold myself back, so I’m not going to anymore.