I’m beginning to notice how much mental energy I spend thinking about what I “should” be doing.
It’s this constant pushing on my heart and mind. I have become so accustomed to it that I hardly realize it’s even there.
Until it’s gone.
Until I say, “Screw whatever you should be doing and do what you’d enjoy doing instead!”
I know this isn’t always feasible or even wise, but sometimes I think we need to shake off the yoke of SHOULD and experience a little freedom.
Sometimes I think we, as women especially, are held in a choke hold by this big bully called Should.
Should is demanding and relentless and the first one to heap on piles of guilt when we put our foot down and say no.
Should is a thief of joy and rest and peace.
Should is also kind of like air.
It’s everywhere and it’s even necessary for a decent life.
I mean, we should brush our teeth and eat 3 healthy meals and be polite to people and say we’re sorry and shower regularly and floss our teeth.
Life without all of that would be rotten, starving, lonely, smelly and decaying.
None of us wants a life like that.
So this bully called Should isn’t exactly something we can outright exterminate.
But something has got to happen.
At least for me.
Yesterday I woke up feeling incredibly tired. Despite having gotten a pretty good night’s sleep, my eyes felt so heavy and my brain so foggy. I just wanted 6 more hours of sleep.
Like that can ever really happen anymore with 2 little ones, a bun in the oven, and a full weekly schedule.
So I got out of bed, dressed and fed the girls, dressed and fed myself and managed to get all of us and our lunch/Bible study/diaper/school bags out the door by 8:30am.
Miracles do happen, people.
Tuesday Bible study was fantastic as usual. The luncheon I had with the ladies at my table was also lovely and my girls did well in the nursery for an extended time due to my lunch.
Preschool drop off was smooth, as was laying Avery down for nap when I got home.
Then it was quiet.
I was tired.
Should was shouting particularly loud in my ear.
You should be meal planning! You should be doing laundry! You should be packing Grace’s room for the big move upstairs this weekend! You should be dusting the living room! You should be cleaning the bathroom! You should be blogging! You should be scavenging the house for things to make dinner with!
Not to mention…
You should be reading your bible! Spending time in prayer! Doing bible study homework! Sending a kind note to someone!
Spiritual shoulds sometimes scream even louder and fiercer than ordinary shoulds.
I just wanted to lay down. To pull back the cozy covers and soft sheets and lay my head on my wonderful pillow. I just wanted to set an alarm for preschool pickup and lay in peace and rest until I truly had to get up for the next thing.
Well, really I wanted some magical fairy to come along and pick Grace up from school so I could lay peacefully in my bed for as long as my little heart desired!
But this is real life, folks.
No such fairies exist.
You know what I did?
I laid in the bed. Under the cozy covers and soft sheets with my head on my wonderful pillow. I set the alarm for preschool pickup and I felt the most comforting, almost intoxicating, peace wash over me.
That weight that pushes constantly on my heart and mind was lifted.
I breathed an “almost prayer” to God for the moment of rest and quiet, and I fell asleep.
Not burdened. Not guilty. Not stressed. Not reluctant.
Oh how glorious it felt!
That little sip of freedom where nothing else matters but this moment and drinking it in deeply.
That experience yesterday has gotten me thinking. I’m seeing just how much I’m dragged around everyday by shoulds that aren’t really necessary.
Shoulds that are more about my own expectations and my performance and my worthiness and my rightness and my reputation.
They are not the voice of my Lord.
He is never the one whispering, “Try harder. Do more.”
He whispers, “Be still and know that I am God. Trust in me with all your heart. Cast your cares upon me.”
With Him we can rest. We can take deep breaths and feel accepted as we are.
No performing. No striving. No shoulds.
Any good things we do ought to be motivated out of our love for Him and our gratitude for his great love and mercy.
When we really love Him and, more importantly, know we are really loved BY HIM, the good things will flow from our hearts naturally.
Not because we should, but because we just can’t help ourselves.