Should-ing on Yourself

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:27-29

From the moment I begin to gain consciousness in the morning, my mind is bombarded by the shoulds of life: I should really clear that huge pile of clean laundry from our floor so we could walk in a clear path and so that we can find things like our clean socks. I should call this person and get together with her because I want to have a good friendship with her. I should come up with a master plan for my day with Chad that will fulfill all his dreams. I should call that banker about our potential renovation loan. I should make sure our bills are paid and balance our checkbook. I should respond to the many e-mails I haven’t gotten to yet. I should get dressed…

Thankfully, for this one day, Jesus keeps asking, “Did I ask that of you?” Now, you may think this means I’m trying to spiritualize procrastination, and that is indeed always possible and should always be worth a try, right? (: But, for my heart, I’m learning to distinguish the voices which command my attention. I’m recognizing that the enemy of Shalom, the one who cleverly nudged Eve and then Adam to wreck shalom, doesn’t tempt me with nasty, obvious wickedness but with beautiful, mouth watering, fragrant and seemingly sensible means to get the good thing I want by my own striving.

Do I believe in the One that He sent, upon whom His full approval rests, and in whom all my shoulds can be swallowed, covered, smothered and scattered? (Sorry, I think I’m getting hungry.) Am I left with the shame of a home which is not remotely “company ready” or can my striving for “tidy home righteousness” and the approval of “company” be stilled and silenced by the adoring, cherishing, well-pleased gaze of the Father on me? Can I sit, clothed in His righteousness alone, content only to do the thing His voice calls me to, leaving the other undone?

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:35-40

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