Do you ever feel like you are drowning in “shoulds”? I should do this or that or a million and one other things? “Shoulds” can be expectations from others or ourselves. People expect it of me. I expect it of me. The church expects it of me. Jesus expects it of me. Whatever that moment’s particular “it” happens to be; it’s a fill-in-the-blank. And if you’re a “should” person like me, you can probably fill it in with no problem.
I was jogging the other day and realized my mind was running through lists of “shoulds,” and I was drowning! (Of course my brain would keep lists of them.) It was overwhelming and panic-inducing. I realized I keep lists of past “shoulds” and also future ones. The past “shoulds” bring guilt: I should have done it differently or not at all or maybe there was something I didn’t do but should have done. On the other hand, future “shoulds” are a weight: I should parent this way, I should school this way, my house should look like this, my kids should behave like this, my prayer life should look like this.
Please, someone tell me: where do I get all of my expectations of “this” from? Why do I persist in thinking things should look a certain way, behave a certain way, be a certain way? And then carry them all as failures and weights?
On that muggy morning, my run turned into a time of prayer: “Jesus, help me, I’m drowning.” Praise the Lord! The Holy Spirit met me with a verse that jumped into my mind, a verse that has actually come to me a lot lately.
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Come. Just come to Jesus. Weary and burdened with “shoulds”–that’s me. He will give me rest. I can choose to take His yoke on me–not the yoke of past-failures and future-expectations for myself. He is gentle with me and humble. With Jesus, my soul will find rest. Because His yoke is not like mine. His yoke is easy and light.
His “shoulds” for me bring freedom and life. Rather than me trying to reach perfection and perform, Jesus’ “shoulds” regenerate my soul, changing me from the inside out to make me more like Him. This kind of Jana walks in love and forgiveness (especially toward myself). This kind of Jana accepts grace for past failures and looks with hope toward the future because there is no weight there. There is only a soul at rest in Jesus. I can trust Jesus is with me: covering the past, overseeing the future, and only giving “shoulds” that are easy and light.
I should just come to Jesus.
Actually, that’s the only “should” worth listening to.