The other day, I heard the words, “You should … (do this thing I’m telling you to do)”, and I thought, “Uggghhh”.
Have you ever felt like that? Perhaps, you, like me, have experienced others trying to tell you how they feel you should live your life.
I find that these people are usually well-intentioned, but what they suggest doesn’t resonate with who I am. Their, “You shoulds” don’t fill me with joy or passion. They seem more obligatory. Have you found this too?
I learnt a few years back that there are good things and God things which we can choose to do. “You shoulds” are often good things (helping someone, using a skill you possess etc). There’s nothing wrong with these, but they may not be what God is calling us to use our time for that day.
In Ephesians 2:10, we read:
God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which HE has already prepared for us to do.
I believe God has a great life planned for us, but good is the enemy of great! Sometimes we need to be a bit selective about what we fill our days with. When presented with an opportunity to do a particular project, I find it’s useful to ask myself, “Is this a good thing or a God thing?”
We can do many good things with our time and people may appreciate it. However for us to live our best lives, fulfilling our callings, we sometimes need to say no to a few of the “you shoulds”. It may feel like we’re disappointing someone, but they’ll find another to complete that task. And in the meantime, we can complete the assignments that God has set before us as individuals – those things that are uniquely mine or yours – which we are gifted to fulfil, where others may not be. These ventures will have greater impact and leave a longer lasting legacy than all of the ‘good’ things put together.
As we traverse the forced rest from ‘the norm’ which the COVID-19 situation has trust upon many of us, might we start our days asking God, “What do you have for me today?” Will we step away from the expectations of others or even the long lists of ideas set before us on social media? Will we allow God’s voice to speak to us and lead us? He may be calling us to rest and recharge. Perhaps He’s asking us to strengthen or renew relationships. This might be time to accomplish a task He’s laid on our hearts.
Will we… lean in… listen… and forget the, “you shoulds”. What does God want for us? This is all that we need to do.
When the dust settles on our present situation, it is not necessary for us to have to return to our usual routine or work place, with a list of achievements to share with others. Instead, we can arrive bearing things that matter most… a grateful heart, stronger relationships, a rested and refreshed body and soul, a reignited spark of happiness that comes from having enjoyed those things for which we were created to do; more love, joy and passion…
Will we brave surrendering to:
- freedom from the obligations of the “you shoulds”,
- our Creator’s plans (rather than our own or those of our peers or the digital landscape),
- letting our words reflect only what the Father teaches us, and
- allowing the Lord Almighty’s will to become our will? (John 8:28 and Luke 22:42-43).
I know I’m learning and growing in this (I certainly haven’t mastered it yet!). I would love to hear your thoughts and reflections from your own journey. Comment below to share with our community (of girls and guys growing). In the next few days, I’ll share some practical steps I’ve been taking myself.
Have a great day! Xx
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (several translations)
Hrishikesh Deshkar (White and brown dog standing atop brown donkey)
Andrea Piacquadio (Woman writing on a paper)
Dazzle jam (Little boy carrying can)
Energepic.com (Design desk display eyewear)
Cottonbro (Woman under pendant lights looking at the photo on the wall)
Pixabay (Railroad tracks in city)
Pixabay (Red heart beads)
Brigette Tohm (Person placing cup of latte on white saucer near pink flowers in bloom)
Elena Buzmakova (Borisova) (Women wearing a headphones)
Marcin Dampc (Group of people having neon party 1684187)
Shelagh Murphy (Grayscale photo of people raising their hands 1666816)
Barbara Ribeiro (Photo of kid playing on seashore
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