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Enjoyment is the fuel we need to reach the finish line of an endeavor with a good attitude. We may drive ourselves to finish, but somewhere along the way we will probably become bitter and get a chip on our shoulder if we don't lighten up and take time to celebrate the journey.
I believe that we must confront the reasons why we tend to feel guilty about enjoying and celebrating life when God has clearly ordained and commanded both.
Our thinking has been warped in these areas. Satan has managed to deceive us, and by doing so he succeeds in keeping people weary and worn out, feeling resentful and taken advantage of because of excessive work and responsibility.
We need times of refreshment and recreation as well as work and accomplishment. Learn to reward yourself because you are worth it!
When I ask large audiences how many people feel guilty when they try to rest or entertain themselves or even do things they enjoy, my guess is that at least 80 percent of the people raise their hands. I was part of that 80 percent until I decided that I was not built for guilt, and I was not going to continue allowing a renegade feeling to rule my life.
I studied God's Word about guilt and studied His character and nature until I was totally convinced that God is not the source of guilt.
I see guilt as an illegal alien that attacks our mind and conscience, attempting to prevent us from enjoying anything God has provided for us. Guilt has no legal right in our lives because Jesus has paid for our sins and misdeeds. If it is in us illegally, then we need to send it back where it came from—which is hell!
I was once addicted to guilt. The only time in life that I felt right was when I felt wrong. I especially had difficulty enjoying myself because I didn't feel that I deserved it. I was most definitely a person who needed to give myself permission to lighten up and not be so intense about basically everything in life.
I was intense about how my children behaved and looked. I was intense about how my house looked, how I looked and what people thought of us. I was intense about trying to change my husband into what I thought he should be. I really can't think of anything I wasn'’t intense about!
I remember going to a doctor once because I was exhausted all the time and generally felt horrible. He talked to me five minutes and said, "You are a very intense woman and your problem is stress!" I got offended, left his office and continued with my intense, stressful lifestyle.
I didn't know how to trust God with daily life.
I was out of balance in almost everything. I did not yet realize that celebration and enjoyment are necessary in our lives—we cannot be healthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally or physically without it!
We must remember that we are not built for guilt, and we should deal with it aggressively anytime we experience it.
The best gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you—and you cannot be healthy without celebration being a regular part of your life.
You can change the entire atmosphere in your home by simply giving yourself permission to lighten up.
This article is an excerpt from Joyce's bestselling book, Eat the Cookie...Buy the Shoes.