Ought & Should

This post goes out to all of you who like to beat yourself up for everything you don’t do or can’t do in your human capabilities throughout the day. Stop it. Stop paralyzing yourself with all the mental and emotional exhaustion of guilt and whatnot that has you convinced you should be doing more or accomplishing every little thing on your checklist. It is ruining your important energy and stealing from the stuff that really matters in your life.

What is it about the Christian life that feeds us the lie that we must be pedal to the medal all the time? Jesus doesn’t expect that. He understands more than anyone how easy it is for us to become exhausted with all the things of this life. Even noble things. The world is literally pulling us in every direction. Family responsibilities, work stress, busy seasons and even taking care of our personal health all threaten to land us in unrealistic habits. Women are especially good at this, grabbing a large dose of guilt to keep us in a constant motion of YOU GOT THIS, keep going. I am here to tell you, pump the brakes! It is too much!

Let me put it to you like this…. All the stuff you feel hanging over your head, is it helping you lean more on God? Is the long list of what I ought to do or should be doing pushing you into a sweet time of solitude with Christ? See, what really happens when we buy the “we gotta keep going and doing” line is that we trade off important boundaries put in place by Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, serving and helping is very important in each of our lives. We are called to obey and if God is leading you to serve in an extra heavy way this season, pay attention to his parameters on that. The human mind & body are not set up for nonstop service. Take time to sit quiet with God and listen to the direction of his plan.

The most important role of your life is sharing time & space with God. Everything else that you take on will be directly linked to that lifeline. It’s nearly impossible to avoid exhaustion and burnout when we skip attending to our vulnerabilities. We get tired. We face huge stressors. We push ourselves and we can even forget that all of the stuff we are striving for (often in the name of serving God) are actually things that God has in check already. He doesn’t need you or me to figure any of it out. What he wants is for you and me to trust him and watch how he works it all out.

I’ve just returned home from a long week of babysitting grandbabies. It was the hardest yet sweetest work I’ve done in a long time. They were so much fun but they were busy beavers! I feel the biggest respect for all three of my beautiful girls (young women) that are deep in the trenches of mommy’hood right now. Our family is a beautiful reflection of God’s love through what I see in each of them as they love and grow their busy families. I know that season well. It is rough & lovely….sweet & painful….exhausting and exhilarating! It’s also very easy to get stuck in the mindset of AM I DOING ENOUGH? My own experience there in that season was hot on the surface this last week. I remember hanging by a thread. I remember feeling like I needed to do other things but couldn’t because of my circumstances. Looking back I wish I had known that I didn’t have to do it all. Sitting with Jesus and handing over all my ought & should’s could’ve saved me a lot of drained energy.

Ponder this –> What is it that you’re doing that moves the boundary lines in your life? Where do you need to trim the fat? What needs to go so that you can sit with Jesus more? Do that. Let yourself off the hook of thinking you ought to do this or should do that. Remember, there is rest in solitude. Knowing that gives me a better understanding of how God intends me to live out my every day. I need him and I long for his gentle peace – I can find that when I sit in his presence.

You can too.

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