Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to a Mothers of Preschoolers group. It was great fun to see the young moms bonding with one another and seeking guidance from one another. There were some moms who had older children there as well; they were like motherly mentors. The members of the group had submitted several questions to be discussed during our time together.
One of the questions started off with, "Should I ... ?" When I, as a counselor/therapist, hear the word "should," I am quick to point out that the word "should" is a very bad word. No, it is not a cuss word, but it is a destructive word. When I "should" myself, I am creating a no-win situation.
Let me explain...
Let's say a dear friend is in the hospital. I have had a long, hard day. It is 7:30 p.m. and I am finished seeing clients. I might tell myself, "You know, you really should go and see your friend. If you are any kind of friend at all, you should make the effort to visit. If you don't go, you are just being selfish and self-centered." By using the word, should, I have created a no-win situation. If I go home after telling myself that I should go visit my friend, I will consider myself a terrible person and friend. However, if I know that I am exhausted and tired and missing my family, but should myself into going to the hospital in order to prove that I am a good friend, I am still in a no-win situation. What if God had wanted me to go home because I was emotionally exhausted? What if He did not want me to visit my friend? Or what if I went home, but God wanted me to go to see my friend in the hospital.
Should is an iron-clad word. It connotes a value judgment. If I should do something, but I don't do it, I'm a terrible person. If I should not do something, but I do it anyway, I am also a terrible loser of a person. How can I win? I can't because I have "shoulded" myself.
In stead of using the word should, wouldn't it be better to simply ask God what He wants you to do? He might want you to visit your friend. He might want you to go home and rest. But, you won't know until you ask Him.
In stead of "shoulding," you might approach the situation by saying, "It would be good to see my friend in the hospital, but if I'm too tired, God might want me to go on home. Lord, what would you have me do?"
Do you use the words: should, ought, must, or have to -- very much? If so, try to eliminate them from your vocabulary. Simply ask God in every situation what is the better thing for you to do, rather than assuming you "should" do this or that. He might surprise you with His answer. I can tell you this, you will be much freer and happier if you will simply choose to please the Father rather than satisfying your self-imposed"shoulds."
Much love, Murphy
Murphy Geer Toerner
- Murphy's Devotions
- Austin TX and Baton Rouge, LA, United States
- I enjoy helping people. I am an encourager and I can see the good in others. I want people to understand what it means to be an authentic Christian and not just a religious "nut." I believe if Christians lived and loved others as Jesus lived and loved others, we would experience more of heaven on earth than hell on earth. These thoughts and writings are intended to encourage you to be who God originally designed you to be. They are also intended to challenge you and make you think. Also, I want you to know that I'm praying for you every day. Blessings, Murphy Blessings to you, Murphy