Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Being Freed from the Shoulds in Life

Awhile back, the Lord was challenging me to be freed from the "shoulds" in my life. Those thoughts and expectations that I had put on myself and my performance as a Christian, Pastor, Missionary which kept me from seeing Jesus in the midst of my life and joining with Him where he was working. How I should have a church service? What type of "worship" I should have? What a good sermon should be like? You know, it had to have so many points with a fill in the blank bulletin insert and a conclusion that ties it all together.

I realized that my life in Christ is filled with freedom. He came to set me free from the shoulds in my life to follow Him in faith and trust that He has created me the way I am for a purpose. And how I am is perfect for the tasks that He has prepared for me. Today I read a short text along this thought I would like to share with you. It is from "Here and Now. Living in the Spirt" by Henri J. M. Nouwen
Without 'Oughts' and 'Ifs'
It is hard to live in the present. The past and the future keep harassing us. The past with guilt, the future with worries. So many things have happened in our lives about which we feel uneasy, regretful, angry, confused, or at least, amivalent. And all these feelings are often coloured by guilt. Built that says: 'You ought to have done something other than what you did: you ought to have said something other than what you said.'These 'oughts' keep us feeling guilty about the past and prevent us from being fully present to the moment.
Worse, however, than our guilt are our worries. Our worries fill our lives with 'What ifs': 'What if I lose my job, what if my father dies, what if there is not enought money, what if the economy goes down, what if a war breaks out?' These many 'ifs' can so fill our mind that we become blind to the flowers in the garden and the smiling children on the streets, or deaf to the grateful voice of a friend.
The real enemies of our life are the 'oughts' and the 'ifs'. They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and the now. God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment, be that moment hard or easy, joyful or painful. When Jesus spoke about God, he always spoke about God as being where and when we are. 'When you see me, you see God. When you hear me you hear God.' God is not someone who was or will be, but the One who is, and who is for me in the present moment. That's why Jesus came to wipe away the burden of the past and the worries for the future. He wants us to discover God right where we are, here and now.

I pray that the Lord will help me and you to live NOW. Communicating all that is on our hearts so that He becomes the center of our world and that we can be free to be His creation in this place at this time.

No comments: