A Case Of The “Shoulds”

Recently, several of us were talking and one of the guys began to tell the rest of us about some of the happenings in his home. The idea for this post was sparked that night. Thanks, Patrik.

It SHOULD be there…

It SHOULD have happened much earlier.

It SHOULD work.

It SHOULD have been where I said it was.

I SHOULD have acted differently.

A strong case of the ‘shoulds’.

Some folks live their whole life with a chronic case of the ‘shoulds’. These are the same people who live in a state of depression most of the time; full of regrets, shattered dreams, and broken relationships.

Never attaining joyous freedom from the ‘shoulds’.

Sure, there are times in everyone’s life when they should have done something, nothing, the opposite, but they didn’t. And as much as it hurts to think about what we have lost, that’s not what the ‘shoulds’ is all about.

A case of the ‘shoulds’ has more to do with habitual behavior than an error in judgment. It’s closely related to procrastination, or always taking the path of least resistance.

It’s giving up right before victory comes.

It’s looking at everyone and everything else, blaming others for a bad decision.

How does a person know if they have a case of the ‘shoulds’?

Here’s a little quiz which may shed some light on the matter.

1. Do you need to be reminded, over and over, about something you are passionate about? No? For example, I don’t have any problem remembering to do anything that’s connected to fishing. I remember when I’m going, who I’m going with, and whether or not I need to buy more tackle. On the other hand, I’m not so good at remembering things like appointments (things I really don’t care about). That can have something to do with the ‘shoulds’ or ‘should haves’.

2. What’s your first response when questioned as to why you didn’t keep your word? You promised to do this and so, but it didn’t get done. “Sorry, it should’ve worked.” You’re late arriving for dinner, though you assured your spouse (or the dinner host) that the time would work just fine. “I’m sorry, I should’ve been here earlier, but traffic was terrible.” Well, maybe you should’ve started out earlier, do you think?

3. If someone gives you a task to complete, are you responsible enough to hold yourself accountable? Do you tell yourself, “I’m going to budget my time and work on my project until it’s completed”, or wait until the deadline and say, “I should’ve gotten it done.”

4. Do you have a penchant for stating something like this? “It’s NOT there in the drawer? It SHOULD be.” “Should be” doesn’t make it magically appear. Searching for it may.

5. Are your organizational skills so lacking you can’t remember the what, when, where, why, who, or how of life? Another way to ask would be, are you messy or do you lack discipline in the normal things of life? If so, the ‘shoulds’ have probably been nipping at your heels for quite some time.

How does a person break free from the ‘shoulds’? 

1. Accept nothing but victory. Don’t settle for the second place prize if you could have done better; if diligence and discipline would have made the difference.

2. Ask yourself before using the word ‘should’ or ‘should’ve’, if a different word would work in its place. Words like “It will work”, “I will do my part”, and “there’s no reason for failure in this venture.”

A faithful man abounds with blessings. He who puts his hands to the plow, working with and for God, enjoys the fruit of his labor.

A life filled with regrets and unfulfilled promises can be drastically changed. A case of the ‘shoulds’ can be cured with a new appreciation for God’s character and His calling upon your life to be like Him.

Maybe you can’t keep from an occasional failure, but at least you won’t have planned on it from the onset.

Ask God, and He’ll give you a spirit of diligence and faithfulness to replace the old case of the ‘shoulds’.

Just like He gives the oil of joy for sorrow, and the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness.