Yesterday I wanted to have a down day relaxing with my wife. More often than not, I can’t justify doing that. Therefore, I said to Brenda before we take a down day, let’s take a few minutes to plant the beautiful bush you purchased last week. I expected this task to take 10 minutes. In hindsight, I suppose I thought I’d experience little or no guilt taking the down time, if I knew I accomplished something first. Brenda reluctantly agreed to my plan. She doesn’t feel any guilt about taking down time, so she didn’t feel any need to plant the bush.
I hadn’t dug more than 6 inches before I burst a main water line to our sprinkler system. Water began gushing everywhere. I knew based on the amount of water leaking I had to turn off the main line as quickly as possible. After doing this, I had to remove the water from the hole in order to inspect the damage I did to the pipe. I as I was feeling for the damage, I cut my finger on a jagged edge of the damaged pipe. The color red began to show in the small amount of muddy water left in the hole. I lifted my hand from the hole to inspect the cut to my finger. Fortunately it was a small cut which didn’t require immediate first aid. Two hours later, the pipe was fixed and bush was planted. So much for a ten minute task.
Later in the day I decided I’d take “two minutes” to change a Bible verse on our website. I don’t know this happened, but somehow I deleted the introductory message on the first page of the site, and I couldn’t get back. An hour later I had a temporary fix, but I knew I’d need to work on this again the following the day. Two little projects that shouldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes ended up taking three hours of the day I’d reserved for down time with my wife.
Yesterday I discovered that guilt often drives us to do things that are self-destructive. It’s time to allow love rather than guilt to drive my behavior. How about you? What self-destructive things does guilt drive you to do?