31 Days

A while back I did a writing challenge called 31 Days. Bloggers are encouraged to choose a topic and write a post on it every day in the month of October. You can start reading mine here, it was 31 Days of Enjoyment, and it was both fun and a challenge. I thought about doing the challenge again last year,
and even drafted 31 titles on two different topics but when the time came to write, I let it go. I didn’t feel the least bit bad about it either.

This summer I started thinking about it again, revisited my drafted topics and prayed. Tomorrow is launch day and I’m not launching anything. I don’t feel the least bit bad about it either.

I’ve been thinking about my love/hate relationship with a word lately. It is a word I must love because I use it all the time, but I definitely hate it because of the way I feel when I use it in a sentence proceeded by the word “I”. What word?

Should.

Should: verbal auxiliary \shəd, ˈshd\ used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency

It’s been a growing realization that the single word “should” is like a rudder in my life that steers a ridiculous amount of what I think, say and do. You might think that isn’t a bad thing when what I should do is let that guy that cut me off go on his way unimpeded when what I want to do is ram my truck into his car.  I read a book by an author who described themselves as someone who has a “heightened sense of responsibility.” Not necessarily a people pleaser, but a person who seems to think that if she can do something, she should do something. The moment I read that, I realized I was that person. I will do what I should most of the time. Even if it kills something in me.

That’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about me, but this isn’t about me exactly, it’s also about you. You are probably one of two people:

         You routinely do what you think you should, no matter what it costs you or others.

You share your opinion of shoulds for other people like a farmer sowing seed.

We love to give unsolicited advice, don’t we? I’m giving you some right now-knock it off. If you are willing to admit that you are either one of the two people above, just knock it off. It’s so unhealthy to let some self-created sense of responsibility make your choices, and equally unhealthy to throw your self-created sense of responsibility onto others.

Because if it’s self-created it’s not God created. Some of us are great at using scripture for the basis of what we think we or others should do or be, when what we’ve neglected to do is ask the One who created us or that person for His should. This is where legalism and grace prove enemies, co-existing is impossible.

Legalism says “These are all the rules, follow them.”

                                         Grace says, “Follow the One who rules all.”

Do I have an opinion about what you should do or be? Of course, I just told you to knock it off, that’s my opinion. It’s also my opinion that it’s good advice, advice I would do well to follow myself. Because one of my favorite scriptures is Romans 8:6.

The word carnal in this verse is from the Greek word sarx, which means flesh. It means unaided human effort, in other words, self-created. When you generate the shoulds, it won’t bring life and peace.

This next 31 days, I won’t do a writing challenge, I won’t skip the onion rings at Ty’s Burger House, and I won’t do the fifty other self-created shoulds bearing down on me. What I will do, and challenge you to do, is sift through your shoulds and ask where they come from. How do you determine that? Maybe by posing this question:

Am I being driven, or am I being led?

The Shepherd who leads may take you through a valley or have you climb a rocky hillside, yet following Him even on that path will bring peace. And that’s how you’ll know.


I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. John 10:14

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