Revenge of the “Should’s”

I hate the word “should.” Throughout my day, my emotions and voice
rise when I feel the word should bubbling beneath the surface. Deep down
inside, I picture how I think life should be, and the difference of what is
becomes an emotional space bursting with disgust for myself and anger
for those around me.

Here are a few of the should’s I can feel in about 15 seconds–the same
amount of time it takes my kids to rip off their clothes, dump containers of
Legos and Squinkies and Barbie shoes into a pile, and for me to sneak a
cookie into my mouth.

“I should have enough willpower to not stuff my face with sugar.”

“I should be able to keep my house from feeling like a toy store explosion
topped with a sprinkling of dust.”

“My son should be able to eat what’s on his plate without a 3-hour debate
complete with bar graphs and pie charts.”

“My daughter should be able to wear clothes without a screaming fit.”

“My husband should realize I need some time to myself even though
I haven’t said it out loud.”


As my eloquent soliloquy reveals, most of my stress is worrying about
my imperfections, my family’s imperfections, and our lives not being
100% conflict-and-messy-free. The truth is, however, that life is hard.
And the Bible never says it’s not supposed to be.

The Bible does give us many powerful verses about worry, though.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat
or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than
food, and the body more than clothes?
 Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your
heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Matthew 6:25-27, NIV

My completely non-biblical paraphrase: “Hey Jill, do not be anxious about
your life or your family’s lives, what your son will or will not eat, nor about
the clothes your daughter will or will not wear. Is not life more than the sugar
you can eat or the cleanliness of your house? God feeds the birds of the air,
so of course He will take care of your needs. Don’t you know He is trustworthy?
You’re only wasting hours of your life by worrying. Duh.”
loosely Matthew 6:25-27, JMV*

The Bible tells me I’m not perfect, but am made whole by God’s grace.
When I remind myself of that truth, I breathe deeply again. My voice becomes
less harsh. My eyes stop shooting fire. Because sometimes life isn’t what I
worry it should be, but it just is

Sometimes life is my kids eating nitrate-filled chicken nuggets in the car and
hoping their daily vitamin sucks up the chemicals.  

Sometimes life is settling a heated argument between two kids about which
one of them has gotten closer to a cat.

Sometimes life is apologizing to two kids for overreacting during their argument
about which one of them has gotten closer to a cat.

Sometimes life is a garage that smells like diapers and rotten trash.

Sometimes life is having to do thousands of squats because I chose
to eat a lifetime’s worth of sugar last year. (Hopefully this “sometimes”
never happens again.)

Sometimes life is hard. But all the time life is worth it. I accept my kids,
my husband, my house, and myself for who we are…and we are beautiful.
We are precious. And our lives are too full of God’s grace for

*The Jill McDaniel Version is a paraphrase not endorsed by the
Committee on Bible Translation, nor by another reputable governing body.
Used by permission.

Friendly Cat 512


7 thoughts on “Revenge of the “Should’s”

  1. Tell your kids when they visit our house they can get equally close to our cat. Then they have to wash their hands and use the lint roller on their clothes so no allergens come in the house.

    This was a helpful reminder in the middle of a real-life Monday.


  2. This has been me lately. I even cried at school , over all the stress. But luckily (luck=Living Under Christ’s Kindness) I was talking to a godly woman who reminded me that I need to hang onto God’s promises, enjoy everything, and tell myself I’ve got this. It ended up being a great day. The rest of the week was hard but there is a confidence that it’s going to be ok especially if I get off the tablet and go do some work.


    • A kind friend with godly wisdom can make all the difference on those days, can’t she? Your ministry through school is so important. And she’s right, “You’ve got this.” Thanks for sharing!


  3. I was once told by a wise person not to “should” on myself…;) Once it was said like that, I don’t always omit it from my vocabulary, but I can at least catch myself! Love the cat arguing–made me laugh!! Great blog!


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