I was having lunch with a wise friend and we were talking about doing things because we feel we should. Maybe it’s peer pressure. Maybe it’s internal pressure. Maybe it’s trying-to-be-a-good-Jesus-chick pressure. As we were talking, she reaches into her purse and pulls out a small notebook. She had written this down as a reminder to herself:
If I’m doing something because I think I SHOULD, rethink it. I may or may not still decide to do it. But it merits more consideration if that is the only reason. (Martha)
So let’s talk about this for a minute.
I had someone tell me that I wasn’t as elegant as one of their friends. To which I replied, That’s because I’m not (her named friend.) I’m just me. A few years ago this kind of comment would have DERAILED me. I would have spent weeks wrestling with the maybe I should’s. You know…maybe I should dress differently, talk differently, act differently…the list could go on for miles.
And I did think about it for one hot second and decided I kinda like the person God is molding me to be…even when I’m dressed like this taking care of the chickens…
I really have no idea what they’re talking about. I mean…
Then there’s this: when I decided to simplify life a little so I could focus more on writing, I was told that if ALL I wanted to do was write and take care of my family/home that was FINE. They would be out there doing (their big thing).
I have to admit, this one hit a little harder. For several weeks, when I sat down at the computer, that blinking cursor and I had a staring contest. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t write, why I kept blanking. Until I realized those words were subconsciously taunting my mind.
Maybe I should want to do more. Maybe I should be out there on the front lines, in the trenches, making a difference, doing something important. Maybe I should want to do something other than JUST write and take care of my family. Maybe I shouldn’t want a simpler life. Maybe sitting on the farms front porch reading is lame. Maybe I should…
Once I figured out that that was what was going on, I could stop those whispers in their tracks.
Now, I’m not sharing this with you so you can tell me how elegant I am. Nor am I telling you this so you will tell me I’m the next Ann VosKamp (who fits both elegant farmer and writer by the way.) with my mad writing skills.
Nope. I’m telling you this because maybe you’ve had the maybe I should thoughts swirling in your head too. Maybe you’ve had someone tell you something that sent you on a whirlwind of maybe I should’s. Here’s my retort to that:
Being elegant is more than clothes, shoes and looks. It’s more than living up to someone else’s idea of what you should do or who you should be. It’s more than pinkies up performance. Or towing someone else’s line.
Elegance is running hard after Jesus, staying the course, in your own lane, doing what YOU were meant to do, being who YOU were meant to be and cheering on others who are doing the same. Anything else is exhausting.
My friend Martha’s quote is perfection. If you are doing something because you think you should, rethink it. Does it fit with who YOU are? Is it in your wheelhouse of giftedness? Are you in your own lane, rockin’ who you are meant to be?
But what about those things we truly should do to be good Jesus chicks? Like, oh, say, forgiveness or tell the truth or love our neighbor…you get the picture. What if I know I should but I simply don’t want to? What if I keep shoving down the ugly of how I really feel because it’s not what I should do?
Can I tell you something? Those feelings will come out somewhere. Sarcasm. Anger. Depression. Bitterness. Something…
Not acknowledging our true feelings because we should or shouldn’t feel a certain way has us staring at the bottom of yet another empty carton of Homemade Coconut Almond Chip ice cream and 30 pounds on the scale.
Anybody else beat themselves up over the should’s and should not’s? Anybody else eat their feelings, people please or do something because you should?
Then be brave enough to figure out the why so you can move to the want to. Why don’t I want to forgive someone? Why did I feel like I needed to lie? Why do I have such an issue loving them?
Face those feelings head on. Be honest with yourself and God. He can take it, I promise. An amazing thing happens when we bring our ugly and broken before him. He takes the broken pieces and makes them Beautiful. He rises to the top anything that is not of him and scrapes it off. He gives you a clean heart and a brand new want to. The process can be a bit painful but it’s also liberating.
I am free to be the person I’m created to be. And even better? I can give you the space to be the person God created you to be….each working in our own wheelhouse, poms-poms in hand, cheering for one another. No more maybe I should’s. No more people pleasing. No more guilt tripping. No more staring down at the bottom of an empty ice cream carton.
Fiercely for YOU!