Perhaps I am being a little too transparent, but I have to believe that I am not the only one who has gone through, or is currently going through, feeling guilt as a woman in ministry. Recently, I wrote a blog on boundaries and knowing when to say “yes,” and “no”. Well, now it seems like I am the one who needs a refresher lesson in boundaries.

Guilt has been haunting me lately. Any woman in ministry who is married, has children, or any other personal obligation outside of ministry, has likely encountered guilt at some point in her life. Feeling guilt has been a recent development for me—guilt for attending late meetings at church, being at church every Saturday morning instead of being home, and making the hard decisions of spending my time in my ministry instead of my family.

But, where does the feeling of guilt come from? I believe guilt partly comes from the self-conflict of having your heart and mind in two different places and not being able to fulfill the needs of both. Guilt could also come from the need to please people. Guilt could come from caring too much about what others think of you. Guilt arises when you are learning to balance life (which I have not yet mastered, and I don’t know if I ever will.)

Clearly, I am learning a tough lesson about guilt, and if you are too, let’s give ourselves some GRACE! Praise God for GRACE! We all need a bit of grace daily! God’s grace is sufficient, whether it comes as a whisper of “it’s ok,” from a friend, or “I’ll handle it,” from a spouse, or an “I love you,” from your child. God is our source of strength and our source of “it’s ok” when we feel that things are really not OK.

I’m learning to accept the boundaries I set. I’m learning to be free from expectations—from others and from myself. With God’s help, I will pass this test in time. But in the meantime, I am leaning on God to help me through this lesson by learning not to beat myself up (or hurt anyone else) in the process.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Bianca Robinson Howard serves at Zion Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, as associate minister and the full-time children and youth pastor/director.