Over the last couple weeks, I have been taking the word should out of my daily vocabulary and looking it over. It can be a rather heavy word sometimes. In many of my experiences, generations that have come before my own have used the word should to place guilt on my shoulders. I have found myself doing the same to my children, younger mothers, and even my friends.

It’s not intentional. I don’t mean to make my friends feel like they should do something I feel is right for myself. When I quit eating sugar, I realized that in conversations about why I chose to stop eating processed sugars either they would tell my why I shouldn’t give it up or I would inevitably tell them why they should. The moment this came into the light my heart sank just a little bit. I didn’t quit eating sugar to make anyone feel the powerful pull of should they quit the white stuff. It isn’t easy, and sometimes I still find myself giving a list of reason why someone should stop eating sugar. I try to open my heart and be very honest, giving up something to say yes to something you want more is all I truly recommend for anyone.

I haven’t come to any grand conclusion on how to see my bag of shoulds just yet, but I am enjoying the view from different angles.

Why in the world has your bag of shoulds and my bag of shoulds gotten all mixed up? I am not talking about the times you should take a shower because you smell, or the moments you should call 911 because someone is hurt. Nor am I talking about going to work and paying your bills. I want to get deeper. I want to examine my shoulds bag of rocks and find out what is meant for me to carry and what is not.

One should I tend to feel burdened under is my relationship with the divine. There was this should passed down when it came to faith that has honestly kept my relationship from expanding and my awareness of how amazing God truly is from growing.

should have a daily bible study and question nothing.

I should always be at the church even if I feel a pull to a ministry elsewhere.

I should never question anyone older than myself.

I should spoon feed Jesus to people, and force feed them when necessary.

I should you scar tactics when people appear to be turning away from this church, because they may go to another church and then they will be lost to us forever.

I shouldn’t talk to people who step out from under the umbrella of my church’s safety, if I do I might be captivated by their sinful ways and it may be to hard to keep my faith.

As a woman, I should be quiet, make sure the men are taken care of and never out know a man when it comes to scripture.

As a young girl, I shouldn’t trust myself with my own decisions, and I should always believe what my spiritual male leaders have told me without question.

As a homeschool teacher, I should be brilliant in all things and feel terrible if I am not.

As a wife I should be respectful, always have laundry done, only give my opinion when asked, but never expect it to be taken seriously. Thank God I married a man who wasn’t given this list of what I should be like and how he should treat me. No, Caleb has his own bag of shoulds. His shoulds may be very different than mine, but they are heavy just the same.

What I hope to see out of this evaluation of this word is what to put down and leave here at this place, and what I cherish and want to keep with me. It’s like the quote, “Sometimes you have to say no to something good to say yes to something better.”

When I choose to give up eating processed sugar, I said no to something I loved to eat to say yes to a clear mind and a smaller waist. I said no to my taste buds and said yes to taking better care of my brain. This isn’t everyone’s road to walk. I don’t want you to quit eating sugar any more than I want you to uproot your kids and homeschool them. My shoulds have to put myself and my family first. Your shoulds should too.

I have my bag all laid out to be evaluated and cleaned up. Who wants to carry an overstuffed bag of dirty shoulds around their whole life that were never intended for them in the first place?

May you see the beauty in who you are and what you are meant to carry, and may you also be brave enough today to take at least one should out, clean it off, and see if it’s yours to carry.

Love & Joy my darlings.