When you treat guilt like gravy

photo by goodiesfirst

I’m a good southern girl. And if there’s anything a good southern girl knows it’s this–everything goes better with gravy.

And guilt.

Yes, a nice helping of guilt.

I’ve struggled with guilt as long as I can remember. I have no idea why. I feel guilty if I do too little. I feel guilty if I do too much.

I even feel guilty if I pause at a stoplight for two seconds after it turns green. I imagine the person behind me glaring at the back of my head for holding them up. Then I look in the mirror and there are no cars behind me. Yes, ma’am. That’s how I roll.

One day I got tired of all this guilt. And I started looking at what Scripture really says about it. Especially in the New Testament. And here’s the thing: guilt is always tied to a specific sin. In other words, we have clearly and intentionally broken a command. Then we confess it and ask forgiveness.

That’s different than gravy guilt.

Gravy guilt is poured over everything. It’s not specific. It’s vague and hard to get a hold on.

Gravy guilt isn’t about what I’ve done. It’s about me. It tries to cover who I really am and tell me I’m a no-good-pause-at-the-light-too-long-disgrace-to-southern-society.

Gravy guilt also doesn’t know about confession and forgiveness. It tells me that only way to deal with it is try harder. And when I’ve scraped every bit off my plate, another helping is already on the way.

So I think we all need to pause and ask ourselves, “Is this gravy guilt or God guilt {otherwise known as conviction}?”

Conviction is temporary–it’s a response to a specific sin and leads us to repentance.

Conviction never shames or condemns us–it calls us back to who we truly are.

Conviction is about a relationship–it helps us realize we’ve hurt Someone we love and prompts us to draw closer to Him again.

What do you do when gravy guilt tries to cover the plate of your life? Same thing you probably learned to do at a southern dinner table somewhere. The hostess holds up that ladle and you know you’re about to get your potatoes drowned to oblivion. So you say, “Oh, thank you, but I’m going to pass this time.” In other words, I’m not receiving that gravy guilt.

Not on my potatoes.

Not on my heart.

Not on my life.

Then you make room on your plate for something really good. A heaping helping of grace.

As much as you want.

Seconds and thirds.

Until you’re all happy and full on the inside.


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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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