The lie might at first be spoken directly, verbally, by a parent or a relative, a friend or a preacher or a teacher. It might be communicated indirectly, more subtly, through over-protectiveness or unreasonable discipline. The lie is different than a benevolent guardian saying, “I want you to benefit from some correction and direction from me because I want you to be able to live your life to the full.” It attacks the heart; it plants deep seeds of doubt about the wholeness of simply being human.
It teaches the follower to doubt everything about themselves. Their feelings, their thoughts are never quite right, never quite good enough. They have little sense of how to navigate through their own life because how can they trust themselves? They are a beating heart that believes they beat the wrong way. The Guilty Way teaches them to survive by either following other people or following idealistic “rules” outside of themselves. It creates a constant ongoing checklist in the mind, a constant and fearful battle to figure out the next little step. Sometimes those around us who have labored in it longer than we have cheer us on. Many times they do so in jest… or more blatantly with little comments, facial expressions or reactions.
It can tinge in almost any situation. In making choices about what to wear, what to eat, what to say… who to invite, who to call, who to visit… where to buy groceries, how often to clean the house, how to arrange the furniture… what kind of job to have, what kind of friends to have, what kind of wedding to have… where to go on vacation, what kind of bathing suit to wear, what kind of activities to do… what kind of haircut to get, what kind of makeup to wear, what kind of music to listen to, what kind of movies to watch… who to talk to at the party, where to sit in church, how much to charge your customers [if you’re acquainted with this Guilty Way as I am, feel free to add to this list in a comment!… ]
It can become so insidious and accepted that we live our lives turned inside out. We live to exclusively please others or fulfill impossible expectations because we doubt that it’s good enough for us to make choices with our own happiness in mind. We doubt that paying attention to our real desires and thoughts can lead us towards the good life. The Guilty Way wraps around our hearts like a snake, squishing out our life, our spontaneity, the vibrant, good and healthy us. And it is never quite satisfied.
More on a DIFFERENT way this Friday…