How You Can Beat Guilt and Shame

photo by seasonswithsoul

photo by seasonswithsoul

We all have especially vulnerable places. Tender spots in our heart. Lies we’re more likely to believe. It can take a long time to even recognize them. Lately I’ve been catching glimpses of mine. Guilt and shame can get to me quickly. I make one mistake or fall short of one expectation and suddenly I decide…

I’m a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad wife/friend/daughter-in-law, etc.

And what do I do? I try harder, of course. Until I’m weary. And then that just proves the guilt and shame are deserved. Phhht. Such nonsense. And I know it. Just like I knew Twinkies did not really count as a quality baked good. But I ate them for years anyway.

So the other night I prayed, “Lord, what replaces guilt and shame?”

The answer that slipped into my heart, “Gratitude and praise.” Huh.

So here’s the process I’ve started going through when guilt and shame try to tackle me:

What am I telling myself?

I’m bad because the dust bunnies in my house are now the size of jack rabbits.

What’s the reality?

Yes, the house could use vacuuming. It’s been a really busy week. I’ll be able to do it next week.

What’s the real truth {this is a bridge statement between guilt/shame and gratitude/praise}?

My worth is not based on the size of my dust bunnies. It’s based on who Jesus says I am. And the reason my house is a bit dirty is because he’s had other things for me to focus on the last few days.

What do I have to be grateful for and praise God about?

God, thank you that I have a house to live in with my husband. I praise you because you’re my ultimate Home and you’re building me a mansion in heaven with no dust bunnies. Help me remember what matters most in light of eternity. Woo-hoo!

Now it’s your turn to try it…

What’s a lie you’ve been telling yourself?

What’s reality?

What’s the real truth?

What do you have to be grateful for and praise God about?

{Note: I’ve found that the “reality” and “truth” statements are essential. If I try to jump straight to gratitude and praise then I bury the guilt and shame rather than healing it. We’re human and we need to acknowledge that what we’re feeling and experience before we can really change our perspective.}

I know I need to go through this process when I feel the muscles in my tummy tightening up, my heart beating harder and my breath becoming shallow. We respond physically when someone lies to us–and we do the same when we’re lying to ourselves. How does your body tell you that something isn’t quite right? Learn to be aware of that and when you experience it, pause and take a deep breath. Then go through the process above. If you get distracted along the way, it’s okay. Just start again until you get all the way to the end.

If guilt and shame aren’t where you’re most vulnerable, then adapt what’s above to fit your greatest struggle. What matters most is identifying the lie, replacing it with what’s true and then responding to God from that new perspective.

Lies and dust bunnies have this in common: they aren’t as scary as they seem. And they’re not going to get the best of you.


Holley Gerth

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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