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Overcoming Guilt-Based Obligations

Jeff:
Today, we’re going to talk about overcoming guilt based obligations or another way to put it is the tyranny of infinite obligations. Meaning as a father or for those moms listening, who I know you guys are sneaking in and listening. I think actually half of our listeners are moms, but you’re okay, you’re welcome here. Is, have you ever said to yourself, I don’t do X enough, or I should do this, or you have this thought of kind of like this gap that maybe you’re failing at as a parent.

I know for me, I think this all the time. My mind is always usually spinning. And so I’m always kind of thinking like, “Oh, I could do that more. I could do that better.” And it’s funny, men with kids there is infinite possibilities of like, it goes from schooling to their spiritual life, to family culture, to this and that. So Jeremy, how do you kind of mitigate against that? Making sure that yes, you want to grow and learn and lean into these things, but without it going towards shame or guilt.

Jeremy:
Yeah, guys. We, as Christians are experts at tyrannizing each other with infinite obligations.

Jeff:
Yes.

Jeremy:
You should pray more, read your Bible more, share your faith more, serve more, spend more time with your kids, spend more time with your spouse. And so we actually are living in a constant state of guilt. And I’m very sensitive to hearing this from a lot of people that I hear say, “Man, I know I don’t do this enough. I know I don’t do this enough or that enough or whatever enough.” And man, that is a tough place to live. And if you’re a highly conscientious person who wants to get it right, to live under a state of constantly like feeling the burden of infinite obligations.

What I mean by that is that, is there a finish line for when you would not say, I need to pray more? I need to spend more time in my Bible. I need to spend more time with my kids. Is there a finish line, really, like in your heart to those obligations? Or are they infinite and you think that maybe it’s just good for humans to feel guilty all the time about like 20 things.

Jeff:
Yeah.

Jeremy:
Like 20 things that they can’t possibly do at the level at which you feel they should.

So what is the alternative to tyrannizing each other with infinite obligations? And the alternative you guys is to craft and construct intentionally a weekly rhythm. This is what we’ve advocated for. That you should actually look at your rhythm, look at your time the way that someone who lives in a really good budget looks at their money. You don’t have an infinite amount of time, so you should not put on your shoulders infinite obligations.

How much in a week do you want to pray? Put that amount in your weekly rhythm and stop feeling guilty. How much do you want to read your Bible? Put it in your weekly rhythm, work to improve your weekly rhythm over time and stop feeling guilty. Like live your life in seven days and figure out how much work, how much rest, how much time really goes into these different buckets. Let’s stop tyrannizing each other. The week was given to us for this reason.

So I think this is a really important thing for us to figure out. If you guys want to like dive much deeper into this, Jeff and I and our wives talk about this on the Seven Day Family Course. Because we really think that families have to craft these intentional weekly rhythms. If you don’t, you’re going to live under those obligations constantly.

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