I’ve been a “should” person most of my life. I’m pretty responsible. O.K., sometimes I’m overly responsible. That works for me in many cases, but it can also work against me.
Sometimes, like right now when I’m worn down by many life stresses, I reach a point of just not having the energy to keep up with everything. I take it as a sign of my growing degree of mental health that I’m not beating myself up over it.
My life is more balanced when I tune in to God’s call and stay in touch with it. When I’m driven by the “shoulds”—either my own or someone else’s, I may not be listening with my heart or using my gifts in the best way. When I keep my heart focused on being chosen and called by God and stay open to God’s guidance in my life, I see the gift that my life is and I shine . When I get hung up on the drive to get it all done or to impress others, that’s when I can lose touch with what God desires of and for me.
Jesus made time to get away from the crowds and from his band of followers to pray. This kept him grounded and connected to his purpose, his calling. He also put limits on what he did and the number of miracles he performed. He had the power to cure all the sick who came to him, but he chose to heal only many of them:
That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons….In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” –Mark 1:32-39, italics added for emphasis
If I listen with my heart to the ways God speaks to me through prayer, Scripture and the people and experiences of my life, I’ll gain clarity about what I’m called to do and what I may be driven to do by selfish motives. I need to ask: Am I motivated more by the desire to please God or to gain status or favor in the eyes of the world? And, because I’m human, I’ll need to ask this question with some frequency, maybe even several times a day. After a while, my heart will become more attuned to God’s call, and I’ll begin to experience the joy that comes with becoming the person God created me to be. God, help me.
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