There is a covert bully who has launched a full-out attack on you. You don’t notice him because he disguises his voice with one that sounds like your mother, your friends, your co-workers, you. He pushes you around in guilt and fear and you listen like a robot, doing things you don’t want to do.
The bully is Should, and it’s time to slay him dead.
How many hours have you wasted worrying about things you should be doing? How many harsh words have you spoken, not against injustice, but because you were frustrated over not living up to an expectation? Do you really want to color-code your closets or do you just think you should? Did you really want to hand-make those Valentine’s cards? Do you really want to cook a five-course meal for your in-laws? Do you really want to finish those baby books? Do you really want to clean the grout with a toothbrush?
Does this mean we don’t have to clean our house? Go to the dentist? Grocery shop? Are we being selfish if we think about what we truly desire? We have learned that being a grown up is simply learning how to be okay with shoulding on ourselves. When we were kids we naturally knew how to follow desire but now that we’re grown, we have learned to fill our days with responsibilities that we don’t like. But that’s life! you say.
Really? Because the Bible says life is Jesus.
And Jesus, who is life, says this about life: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
So what about the illness of loved ones, the disabilites of our children, the disparity in the world? There are so many difficult situations and heartache in the world around us, people who need our hands, our commitments, our love. So why do we insist on killing desire slowly by volunteering for committees we care nothing about?
Save the passion for the people. Save the serious for the things that truly move you. Sit heavy on your hands and raise them only for those things you can’t not step up for.
Duty is much more efficient. It is linear, easy to make a case for, quick to convince. Desire takes risk, time, discovery, curiosity. There is no formula, no proven results, no guarantees. Desire is desperately inefficient. And so is love.
You are loved. You have been given love. Love lives in you. Instead of listening to Should, let love move you with grace and intention into the world. As Thomas Hart says in Art of Christian Listening, “Wants are mine; shoulds are somebody else’s.” Care enough for the people in your life to choose those things that make you come alive. Take time to figure them out. Let the Lord speak. Let your heart speak. Let your life speak.
What would happen if we were brave enough to listen to our own desire? What if it was God’s idea from the very beginning to give you particular desires for particular things to fill a particular purpose? What if ignoring the voice of your desire is actually ignoring the voice of God?