The past few months I’ve been sharing what God is teaching me about rest. Rest is my one word focus for 2022, and it has opened up a whole can of worms. I keep writing about this journey largely because I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with rest. Resting our bodies, resting our minds, resting in the Lord. And this month my lessons on rest landed squarely on this question: What should we do with “should”?
I have been “shoulding” all over the place. And I really had no idea how often I “should”, but now that I’m aware, I’m letting you into my sickness. Let me stop and define exactly what I’m talking about. There are “shoulds” in our lives that definitely SHOULD be (pun intended). We SHOULD follow the laws governing our country. Second, we SHOULD honor our commitments. We SHOULD be faithful to our spouses, do the job we were hired to do with excellence and care well for the children and/or possessions God has entrusted to us. And we SHOULD abide by God’s Word. As a contributing member of society and practicing Christian, there are some things we SHOULD do.
However, many of our “shoulds” we impose upon ourselves. At least I do, and I have a feeling I’m not alone. Right now, learning to rest looks like releasing some of my self-imposed “shoulds”.
What are Self-Imposed “Shoulds”?
For example, I love to read. But in the name of productivity, I usually only allow myself this luxury in bed right before I go to sleep. This = not much time to read. So I went to the library yesterday and checked out a huge, heavy, hard-backed coffee table book I’ve had on my list. There is no way that book is fitting in the bed with my husband and me – even though we sleep in a king! I will have to read it sitting up in a chair. So if I want to finish it before the due date, I will take a break from chores and projects to read during the day.
Do you think I’m crazy yet? If not, let’s talk about reading some more. I love novels, but I also like learning through non-fiction. I’m drawn to books about defending the faith, mental health, race in America, issues faced by myself or my loved ones, and many other things. So in the interest of making my reading time count, I have believed I SHOULD alternate between fiction and non-fiction. Except that some of those non-fiction books have been weighing me down lately. And since I’ve realized that fun is rest to me, I gave myself permission (are you hearing this?) to put some books on hold that I think I SHOULD read to make room for what I really enjoy reading. At least in this season.
More “Shoulds” I SHOULD Dump
Are you getting a picture of the prison “should” became for me? Let’s keep going. I enjoy podcasts. Or do I? I subscribe to a couple that make me laugh. But most of the ones in my feed are of a more informative nature. Things I think I SHOULD listen to. Topics I SHOULD learn more about. In this we reach the depths of my disordered thinking. It stresses me out when my podcast list backs up with episodes I haven’t finished yet. Something that I used to enjoy has morphed into a chore to check off my list. These tools no longer serve me, I serve them. To the point that I no longer allowed myself to listen to music because I had episodes to check off.
So I unsubscribed to some podcasts – good podcasts that I have learned from. And I gave myself permission (again with this?) to save others until later in favor of my favorites now. I actually thought I SHOULD listen to them in date order. But since releasing this “should”, I even listen to music sometimes. Singing releases feel-good endorphins. And I need all of those I can get.
None of this means I will cease to be a student of things that are important to me and mine – and the culture at large. But God is showing me that I had morphed into an all-business kind of gal. And it’s not helping me rest in the Lord. He created us for joy and in the stresses of every day life, I’ve set joy aside. Well, no more.
Did I Share Too Much?
I hope you still consider us friends after this glimpse into my warped mind. I was on my way to becoming a task oriented robot, but with God’s help, I’m learning how to rest from my self-imposed “shoulds”. Are there any “shoulds” in your life that are just not necessary? What SHOULD you eliminate to find more rest or joy. Let me know in the comments below to continue the conversation.
And now for this week’s featured post from the link up.
I could not decide on a single post to feature this week, so I’m bringing you 3! First, Michele Morin and I have been on similar journeys with rest and I can’t say enough about what I absorbed from Embrace a Life of Restful Exertion to Counteract a Self-Help Culture. Amy Jung hit the nail on the head for me with the reason I am focusing on rest with Do I Practically Live as if I Don’t Trust God in Certain Situations? And last, Lisa Burgess, my partner at Grace and Truth spoke to my doubts and insecurities with Is There a Future in Blogging? 14 Reasons to Keep Writing Your Blog. And there’s a book giveaway attached to this last one! Check out all of these amazing writers. And thanks everyone for linking up with Grace and Truth.
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