Embracing Awkward

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  • The Crippling Power of Should

    Today marks the start of the last week of our vacation and instead of embracing the new day with a smile and a hug my mind went different places.

    "I should have gotten up earlier. I'm 34 and shouldn't still struggle with sleeping in."

    "I should have gone for a jog this morning. It's my third day in a row without exercise. I'm well on my way (back) to being the real version of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby."

    "I shouldn't have said that in that text I sent last night. It probably offended them and now I'm on their "smile then roll your eyes when they turn away" list."

    "My friends' kids are becoming Christians and I barely know how to talk with mine in a genuine way about Jesus. I should be a better spiritual leader."

    One of my friends calls this "Shoulding all over yourself." Living in a state where you try to shame your way into being what you (read others) think you should be.

    The problem is it doesn't work. No one ever shamed themselves into being a better version of themselves. Because shame might be a powerful voice, but it's never a powerful motivator. That's why one of my counselors likes to correct me every time I use the word should. She stops and says, "Get to."

    You get to wake up and embrace the day in a way that helps you savor it.

    You get to care for your body in ways that make you feel better and full of more energy.

    You get to be your awkward self with friends and then repent and apologize when you need to.

    You get to engage your kids out of what you know and have learned about Jesus.

    And when you fail, you get another opportunity to try again. And another. And another. Grace works that way. Because Jesus took all the shoulds, that for you there would only be get to's. The perfection of his performance on your behalf, both in living the life you should have lived, and dying the death you should have died, covers the imperfection of the life you are struggling to live.

    So the next time you go to shame yourself with shoulds (let's be real, probably later today), stop and remember, in the words of John Newton, Jesus doesn't shame you out of your sins. He loves you out of your sins. Let that love transform your shoulds into get to's.