I am enslaved to my overactive, hyperdrive conscience. I’ve written about it on this blog before, and whenever I have, I get very interesting comments showing me I’m not alone. I’m not the only one held hostage by overthinking every. single. thing I do. Trust me, you do not want to take a vacation in my head. It would not be leisurely or uncomplicated.
I’ve not figured out exactly why I’m this way. Part of it could be that when I was a young kid, I didn’t have many rules in my home, at least they weren’t stated. I didn’t have an external system in place of right and wrong. So to feel safe, I created my own boundaries. The problem came when I became a relentless taskmaster, demanding perfection in every endeavor. I couldn’t forgive myself for not measuring up to my impossible to follow standards. Grace didn’t have a place in the way I treated myself. I ended each day feeling like I couldn’t measure up.
After I met Jesus, I did have a rudimentary understanding of grace, but it didn’t translate into my day to day life. I made a lot of lists, basically Christian to do lists, and if I didn’t accomplish my tasks (like be nice to everyone, sacrifice, etc.), I would feel sure that Jesus had a scowl on His face when He thought of me.
I’ve walked a lot of miles since then, and I’m getting better. But sometimes when I’m feeling super insecure, my overactive conscience jumps back in. And I have to remind myself of a few things:
- I am not the sum of my failures.
- I am harder on myself than God is.
- I am wildly loved by the One who created me.
- I can rest in knowing that if I am truly messing up, the Holy Spirit will kindly convict. His conviction always, always, always comes with a huge dose of hope.
- I may need to run my conscience by some friends to see if I’m overreacting and overthinking my faults.
I did the latter thing yesterday, and oh the freedom! One friend wrote this:
“You take on too much guilt and angst for things that are beyond your control and things God has already handled on your/others’ behalf.”
Having someone outside of me shed light on my tendencies helped me to know I was overreacting again. Thank God for friends like that!
So maybe just maybe I’ll learn to rest in Jesus’ grace. Maybe I’ll let go of my hyperactive conscience and better rely on the Holy Spirit. I hope so. I think it will mean more freedom.
What about you? Do you struggle with an overactive conscience? What have you learned? What has helped you overcome it?