Imprisoned by “Shoulds”
"When you are angry, do not sin. When you are in bed, look deep down inside you and be silent. Selah."1
Do you always do what you truly want to do, or do you give in to other's wants because you are afraid to say no? Are you swayed by what others think because you fear you won't be liked if you don't do what they want or think you should do?
A part of growth and maturity is recognizing our legitimate needs, taking responsibility for getting them met in healthy ways, and by being our own person in that we are being true to ourselves and not allowing ourselves to be controlled by what others want, think, or expect. The healthy, mature person makes decisions on the basis of what he/she knows is right for him/her. While we don't give in to others' demands, it doesn't mean that we never give in to their wishes. It means that we do what we choose to do, not because somebody else says we should, but because we want and freely choose to do so. Living by others' "shoulds" will imprison us!
Like David, learn to listen to your heart. Your heart knows what you want and need. Learn to say no to others' demands when you know that to say no is the right thing for you to do. Allowing ourselves to be controlled by others' demands and "shoulds" also makes us angry inside.
Remember, without the freedom to say "no" our "yeses" are meaningless.
We can learn to listen to our heart "deep down inside us" and trust it. I was taught that I could never trust my feelings (heart). Wrong. I have since learned that I can always trust my feelings. What I can't always trust is my interpretation of them. However, with practice I'm getting much better at it, and believe I am a much wiser, healthier, and more mature person as a result.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to listen to my heart and become real. Help me to listen to what my inner self is telling me and above all else, help me to listen to what you are saying. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus Name, amen."
1. Psalm 4:4 (NIRV).