When They “Should” All Over You

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My husband and I have this saying that we stole from a former commercial fisherman named Jack*.

Jack used to say people will “should” all over you, if you let them.

As in, You “should” do this.

You “should” do that.

So when we feel the inward pull to do more than we want to, we say that “People are shoulding on us.”

And we’ve had to learn the hard way that people “should” on each other.  We all do it.  We place expectations on each other that we don’t realize are slowly suffocating the life out of the ones we love.

And so we’ve had to learn how to get very good at saying “No”, “No, thank you”, and “I’m sorry that’s not going to work for me”.

Because ultimately, it’s no one else’s job to guard our own hearts except our own.

God has tasked us with that responsibility.

 

Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.

Proverbs 4:23

(The Message)

 

God wasn’t kidding.

Everything that flows from your life starts with your heart

And nothing kills our hearts quite like “should”.

We can get so caught up in looking ahead that we forget to live in the now, the present of our lives.

We worry and fret that we aren’t doing enough and so we redouble our efforts to get more done.

To not only do more but to produce more.

And that is death to our hearts.

It is not up to us.

We are in God’s process of learning to listen to our hearts just as we listen for His.

And if His spirit is within us  – it is Him who works in us BOTH to work but also to want to do good things.

But we have to pay attention.

It’s far to easy to drift into auto-pilot and just do what we believe is the “right-thing” rather than allow God’s spirit to direct our steps to do the “God-thing”.

And there is a huge chasm between the two.

We can be so busy doing the “right thing” that we miss out on God’s “best thing”.

For it is [not your strength, but it is] [a]God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

(The Amplified Bible)

 

So what if instead of tackling our to-do lists and striving to meet other people’s expectations of us, we stopped to ask ourselves what we WANT to do today and from there asking the Father what he thinks about that?

What would your day look like?

Would you have more peace?

Would you have more fun?

Because you were created to live in freedom.  And the choice to give to others can only truly come from that place of freedom.

 

 It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed].

Galatians 5:1

The Amplified

 

And so for the past 2 years, we have been learning as a church how to walk in a season of stewardship.

That means that God is giving us the freedom to choose to take care of ourselves and the things and people he has placed in our care.

 

As a mother, that means taking care of yourself so you have energy, time, and the mental clarity to love on your kids.

 

As someone in a ministry position, that means having interests outside of church so that you are recharged and able to face the demands and needs of others.  This also means, being completely comfortable saying “no” to others.  It was never your job to save them – only to point them to the One who can.

 

As a human being, that means saying “no” to the requests of others so that you have space and time to recharge and just be.

 

 

There are seasons and times when we slip into absolute apathy and God does challenge us to give more, but not this time.  This is a season of stepping back and allowing God to do what He does best.  This is a season of being present.  Present with Him.  This is a season that is all about lifting our eyes upward to connect with the Father and is less about reaching out to others, which is why there is such an opposition to it.

 

 

This is a strategic move of the enemy because:

 

“Should” will burn out all of our energy to seek God first.

 

“Should” will leave you wondering and striving and exhausted.

 

“Should” makes it very difficult to experience the presence of God.

 

So today, I challenge you to step away from all of the demands of others, whether they be spoken or unspoken.  And to step into what the Father has for you.  I promise you it’s worth it and full of more of His presence and grace than you or I could contain.

 

You can purchase Joyce’s latest book, Scattered, Finding God in Your Story at Amazon.com

 

 

Scattered, Finding God in Your Story

 

 *Jack Frost was a commercial fisherman before God caught ahold of his heart.  You can check out more of his resources at Shiloh Place Ministries 

Courageous Thinking

We live in a weird time in history.

Never has it been easier to build a following, construct a cause, and self-promote.

It’s actually quite amazing.

We can self-publish our own books, market our own events, and reach out to an unlimited crowd.

Our generation is perhaps one of the luckiest in terms of being handed the tools to pursue our dreams seemingly without limit.

But I can’t help but wonder sometimes, what is it all for?

Because you see, it’s really easy to get behind a cause or a well-known speaker that we support, or even become one ourselves.

A speaker, that is – not a cause.

 

Periodically, I think it’s healthy to ask ourselves, “Why do we do what we do?”

 

And that’s a really tricky thing to discern sometimes.

Because we want to believe the best about ourselves and others.

But the truth is, that we are all human.  And like every other human on the planet – we like the attention from doing things well.  We like the accolades, the atta-boys or atta-girls.  The recognition that we have succeeded in our area of influence.

Is it wrong?

No.

Everybody likes a pat on the back.  And we need those.  They encourage us to keep going.

But things get wonky when we veer of the road of clear thinking into one of two ditches.

The pattern of doing things because we feel obligated – which will lead us to burn out.

or

Doing things to get the approval of others (the praise of men) – which will lead us to compromising our values and failing to truly give to others from pure motives.

 

We are left wondering how to stay on the straight and narrow.

 

How about we start with a little bit of honesty.

 

Self-reflection is a discipline that isn’t easy.

 

It’s not comfortable to take a hard look at ourselves and gauge where we’ve let ourselves slip:

Are we helping the people around us out of genuine concern for their well-being or because we are afraid they won’t approve of us if we don’t?

Are we cleaning up the messes of others because if we don’t do it, nobody will?

Are we bitter with our family, friends, and co-workers for not meeting our needs, yet too afraid to speak up about what it is that we actually need?

Are we promoting ourselves on our social media sites because we sincerely want to help and encourage others or do we do it so that we can derive a sense of self-worth from the attention?

Are we frustrated with our lives because we haven’t embraced the feedback of others who love and care about us?

 

You’ll find that the best business coaches, counselors, and top performers in the world practice this type of self-reflection on a regular basis.  And the truly excellent ones, teach others to do the same.

Even God wants us to take time to evaluate ourselves.

Because if we can’t bring ourselves to admit that we need help and we need change, God as a loving father will help us. But let me tell you from personal experience, it so much less fun.

 

But if we evaluated and judged ourselves honestly [recognizing our shortcomings and correcting our behavior], we would not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:31

Amplified Bible


So, why is it that we do what it is that we do?

 

 

 

If some of the scenarios above sound like you, know that you’re not alone.  New seasons of life always come with a learning curve. . . and with it, permission to rediscover our own hearts and desires.

 

 

 

I’d love to hear about your courageous thinking and the changes from it!  Feel free to share in the comments!