Quit “Shoulding” Me!

This past weekend I was privileged to have the opportunity to serve at the Hearts 2 conference by Ignite the Family in Peoria, IL. Typically I am so busy serving that I am unable to hear the speakers, but I was honored to get to hear our Saturday morning speaker, Grace Johnson who is a gifted speaker and potter.

While Grace spoke and began to make the most beautiful pitcher on her pottery wheel, she shared her story. One of the most profound things I hear her say was when she decided to tell the world and the church to Stop “shoulding” her. It spoke directly to my core. So what does that mean?

Many of us recognize that the world puts demands on us that are unnecessary which can lead to having perfectionist tendencies. Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram all show the best of everyone’s homes, cooking skills, families, etc. Everything is perfect and in it’s place – therefore it’s photo-worthy – ready to share with the world. It says “Look at how perfect we can be!” That’s something we have talked about and recognized for a while now. Jill Savage calls it the “Perfection Infection” which infects many of us, especially women.

Grace spoke to this and wanted to end some of these things that world “shoulds” us to do. These things are NOT God’s truth.

  • We should make sure are clothes are all put together and presentable at all times. Including hair and makeup.
  • We should be successful in all aspects of our careers.
  • We should have kids that behave at all times in public no matter what.
  • As Christians, we should have kids that turn out as Christians just like us.  They won’t be in jail, won’t get pregnant outside of wedlock, and won’t be jobless. If we did our jobs as parents, they would turn out good.

These things are not truths of God. Instead He reminds us in Romans 12:2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We don’t have to listen to the “shoulding” of the world and we need to focus on God’s truth for us.

But many times as Christians we are under the assumption that “the church” (as a whole – not individual buildings) tells us the truth because they are supposed to be acting under God’s Word. But unfortunately that isn’t always true.

  • We should smile and tell everyone “I’m fine” on Sunday mornings.
  • We should serve on all of the committees and ministries we are asked because we will be more blessed the more we serve.
  • We should give our money without hesitation and trust that the church is going to be good stewards.
  • We should have happy homes where there are no major problems happening.
  • We should _____________________________________________________. (fill in the blank)

Again, not all of these are God’s truth, but truths that are man-made. This isn’t what God says about us at all. He says we are lovely and perfect the way He made us. He continues to hold us and love on us because we are HIS. He wants us to come to Him with our hurts and imperfections. He wants us to be real, raw, and, honest with Him, so He can comfort us and guide us.

As I watched Grace share her story and reveal how she walks in freedom everyday because she told all these other voices to “Quit Shoulding Me!” Instead she listens to truth from the Father and walks in the freedom He has given her.

So many times my frustrations don’t come from the “shoulding’ from the world, but the ones that come from the church. The pressure and guilt I feel when I have to say “no” to serving in some capacity is immense and gets in the way of my joy while at church. So many times when I am serving in more than one capacity at church, I feel like I have lost my passion for serving because I am burning out. Romans 12:11 says “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Instead we must find what we are passionate about, what gifts we have and bring, and serve in that capacity with passion and zeal! 1 Peter 4:10 says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” We should ask ourselves if we are being good stewards of our gifts and using them in the way God wants us to. Or are we just saying “YES” out of obligation or because the church says we “SHOULD?” 

TODAY’S THOUGHT: What “shoulding” do you need to stop listening to in your life?

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