Guilt can be a worthless emotion. Guilt is the feeling of remorse or responsibility over an offense. How many times do I wallow in guilt that has nothing to do with ME committing a wrong or offense? How often do I allow myself to feel pain over something totally unrelated to my actions?
Today we found out about our son’s scholarship monies for his college. It was not what I was hoping for. It is given out of the school’s general scholarship fund and is based on need. In my opinion, that qualifies us for a ton of money! Didn’t happen. This fund consists of monies donated from many different places. Since this is our first year I had no idea what to expect. J did receive a separate scholarship that was much better but still doesn’t come close to paying enough. I absolutely hate the thought of him having to borrow money to go to college but that is a reality he is now facing.
What does this have to do with guilt? My first thought was that I didn’t work hard enough in homeschooling him. I wasn’t diligent enough in checking behind him. I didn’t look over his shoulder in high school, waiting to swoop down and rescue him when he strayed. Maybe I used our adoption struggles as an excuse and I failed him. I wanted to cry because some how it was my fault.
Reality is by the time our kids are in high school we expect a high degree of personal accountability. I don’t check his work all the time, or even most of the time. We have used some outside sources but most of it has been at home. Some of it has been through verbal discussion. Even more has been through J himself doing the work, checking it, correcting it and learning it on his own. My goal is to prepare him for adulthood, not make sure he gets an A in a class. I want him to have a good relationship with his family, work hard, seek God’s will for his life. He has done these things and in my heart I believe I’ve done the best I could. Yes, I could have nagged him constantly, consequenced him for his slackness and made him a miserable human being to be around. I didn’t. Yet I see in him this amazing young man with such life and depth and strength. Others are drawn to him and I know he is a gift from God.
So why do I feel guilt? Because it is from Satan. It is worthless and does nothing but tear me down. I haven’t committed an offense. I’ve made choices in my life situation and chosen to build character instead of grades. I am choosing to believe that J is seeking God’s face for college and that he is in the center of that will. I am going to trust that God will teach him through faith to seek Him for all things, including financial needs. I am still going to claim that God will provide more money for college.
And I will choose not to feel guilt over our path. Or our struggles. Or of things beyond my control.