23 Days: A Big Pile of Should
Of all the words in the English language, one of my least favorite is “should.” I can think of no other word that carries with it as much defeating expectation as “should,” and yet we use it all the time. We use it on our loved ones and sometimes on complete strangers.
And I don’t know about you, but I also have a habit of “shoulding” on myself:
I should be married by now.
I should have kids.
I should go back to school.
I should get a “real” job.
I should make my bed.
I should read my Bible more.
I should lose weight.
I should stop dreaming.
I should move out of my parent’s house.
I should schedule more margin in my week.
I should style my hair differently.
and so on…
Based on what we see around us and what society says is the standard for a full life, we allow their “shoulds” to dictate how we feel about our own lives. There’s simply no grace in the “shoulds” of the world. We don’t measure up. Soon, we’re left sitting in a big pile of should, so defeated that we settle for second best.
There’s a big difference between something we “should” do and what God says we must do.
Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” Not to settle or completely give up because things don’t look the way we thought they “should” or the way the lives of our friends and neighbors do.
In the Baz Luhrman song, “Sunscreen” there’s a line that says, “Sometimes you’re ahead sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and in the end it is only with yourself.”
This earthly life is most certainly a race. It says so in 2 Timothy. And now at (somehow) almost 25, what I am realizing is how fast it is beginning to fly by—each lap seemingly increasing in speed and each “should” continues to breathe down my neck. Yet, the race is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12). They are determined to keep me distracted from truth and my purpose.
So, if I truly believe and trust that God is control and on my side, then He should be the only one dictating the other “shoulds” of my life—not me, not anyone else. The question shouldn’t be whether or not my life reflects the world’s standard but if my life reflects God’s standard.
If the answer to that question is no, then THAT is the area I should worry about and simply let the rest go.