At first glance, the word “should” seems innocent enough. But even its definition exposes its critical nature: “used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.” Taking it a step further, let’s be real with each other for a minute – how many times a day do we hear this menacing word in our heads…or, for that matter, even speak it out loud? I think it’s safe to say that this little word causes big turmoil in the battle of our minds each day. I should be taking care of me and working out more ~ I should be taking better care of my kids – I should be a more involved mom. I should be more involved in my community ~ I should be more involved in my church. I should be doing a better job meeting my husband’s needs ~ I should be a better friend. I should be less emotional ~ I should be more compassionate. I should keep a cleaner house ~ I should be more carefree to embrace the mess. I should be more goal-oriented ~ I should live more in the moment.
In other words: I should be a perfectly patient mom while simultaneously being an adoring wife all while serving my community, pursuing my career goals, and maintaining a pinterest-worthy home. OH…and I should be making dinner instead of writing this blog post.
When I write all that out, it sounds ridiculous. And that’s just my short list. But that’s exactly the point – exposing our “shoulds” shows us the insanity of our thoughts. I intentionally paired contrasting thoughts because it’s comical (& sad) to see the guilt we embrace in our lives when we listen to the “shoulds”. I once heard a woman speak on the subject of Mom Guilt. A common thread that most all of us experience to some degree as moms. She said that we need to learn to “stop should-ing on ourselves.” Ha – I love that. It’s true. Should-ing on ourselves is a lot like another familiar sounding phrase – both of them stink! And both of them leave us in a big, hot mess!
So how can I quiet the loudness of the “shoulds” in my life? What other word can hush their influence? What has the power to calm the raging seas of my mind? One word: Jesus. “Even the wind and waves obey Him.” If even the elements of earth calm at the very instant of His command, how much more so can His word, His promises calm my anxious thoughts. When my thoughts are focused on the shoulds, my eyes are focused on me. When my thoughts turn to Jesus, my eyes are re-focused to Him. I become less concerned with what I should be doing and more concerned with what He’s already done for me. I become less consumed with checking things off my list and more consumed with His kingdom advancement in my life. I become less aware of where I feel like I am falling short and more aware of His great power despite my weakness. I become less interested in having it all together and more interested in having Jesus by my side. In other words, I become less ~ He becomes greater. And that’s exactly where I want to be. It’s there that I’m content. See you later “shoulds”. Just give me Jesus.