Letting Go of Should

I have followed Jesus since I was very young.  I vividly remember sitting on the front pew of the church looking at my own black-patent Mary Janes dangling, far above the carpeted floor, as tears rolled down my cheeks splatting on my pudgy knees.  My heart broke with the knowledge that Jesus had died for me and swelled with the joy of knowing He loved me enough to save me.

After some 46 years of walking with Jesus, desiring more of the Holy Spirit, worshiping God–you would think my heart would be steadfast and mature, but my heart is still fickle and childish, mercurial and inconsistent. After 46 years of sanctification, the lows should be very few and very far between. The short temper should be gone.   The wisdom should be free flowing.  The patience should be deep and wide.


I had a counselor once chide me: “Stop saying that.  You’re should-din’ all over yourself.”

Paul talked about this exact same heart-struggle late in his own life:  [Rom 7:19-22 ESV] “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,”

“I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.”

I’m not alone in this struggle and neither are you.  Paul wasn’t alone in his frustration.  We all struggle.  We all fail.  We all sin.  We all give in and give up and give out.

I find it to be a law . . .  that when I WANT to do RIGHT . . .  EVIL lies close at hand.

As I sit here in my quiet office, tears roll down my cheeks, splatting on once-again pudgy knees.  My heart breaks with the knowledge that Jesus died for me and swells with the joy of knowing He loves me enough to save me.

He continually rescues me from my struggles, my giving in, giving up and giving out.  These tears mark precious moments spent in His presence, marveling at His love for me even, perhaps especially, when I struggle.    Tears of  heartbreak mixed with joy splatting on pudgy knees are never wasted.   My tears are precious to Him.  “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” [Psa 56:8 ESV]

Because Jesus died for me and rose again, I can let go of all the “shoulds” and live in the joy and freedom He brings. In this life, my sins and mistakes and the hurts of life will continue to bring me to tears. I will continue to cry to Him and He will gather my tears in a bottle, precious to Him. But, I will walk in joy–letting go of “should”–because He has freed from the law of sin and death.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  – Paul, Rom 8:1-2

I will walk in joy.





Photo by Photo by Neal E. Johnson on Unsplash

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