I should be over this struggle already.
I should be more disciplined in my relationship with God.
I should be working a job that actually utilizes my degree.
I should be doing something that makes a difference.
I should be in a committed relationship.
What's your "should-be?"
Oh, we all have them. If you can't think of any, just picture the best, possible version of yourself and compare and contrast how far away from it you currently are. Pretty depressing, huh? Yeah... this is why alcohol is such a popular product.
Over the past few weeks I have had numerous conversations with people - young and old - who seem to be saying the same thing: "I'm FRUSTRATED with my life because I just don't feel like I'm where I SHOULD BE." And after asking a few questions, it seems to me like we're all dealing with the same issue packaged in different circumstances. But where does this come from? Why are we all discontent with our lives?
Here are a couple of my thoughts on the matter:
"Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust."
I've had to realize that sometimes I have expectations of ME that even God doesn't have for me. Now I know that might sound strange, and I'm not using this verse as a cop out to be weak and struggling, but the reality is that we can be our own worst critics. We hold these "standards" over our lives of who/what we "SHOULD BE" that, often times, just aren't from the Lord. They've come from somewhere else - culture, family, the enemy - you name it.
Sometimes we just need to sit back and rest in the fact that God understands what we're made of. YES - we have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us to do great and mighty things - but the Spirit of God never produces the "shame of the should-be." If that's what you're feeling, you can't trace that back to God. That's from somewhere else.
Then there's COMPARISON - the Killer of Calling. How is it possible to live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with peoples accomplishments, accolades and attributes and NOT deal with comparison? No one is posting the boring moments of their lives. No one tells the stories of years of waiting for their promise - we simply see their lives after the fact.
Most of our expectations come from what we see others doing. We measure our lives to theirs and... in comes the SHOULD BE.
Any of this connecting with you? Let's take it a step further and talk about the TRUTH:
GOD ACCEPTS YOU NOW, NOT LATER
God doesn't love the "future version" of you. He didn't choose the "you" that you see five years from now. He chose you and loves you, NOW. Until we can come to the same revelation that God isn't WAITING for us to become someone He loves and accepts, we will always be fighting to become some "should-be-version" of ourselves. The problem with this is that, if we are always fighting to be what we "should-be," we will never actually get there. There will always be a better version.
This creates a life of guilt and shame; we're never happy with who we are. Although this is not a license to sit back and accept mediocrity or laziness, it is a reminder that Jesus loves us here and now. If that's true, let's learn to love and accept ourselves, here and now.
YOUR LIMITATIONS ARE ACTUALLY GOD'S LEVERAGE
The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that "God's strength is made perfect in our weaknesses." It might seem like the only way to become better is to... BECOME BETTER, when in fact, the very opposite is true in the Kingdom of God. Jesus lived the life we could never life; He fulfilled every New Years Resolution that would ever exist, simply because we would never have the strength to make it happen! Here's a thought:
Instead of thinking "what would Jesus do" to try and BE like Him, think, "where does Jesus live" and learn to die to your own ability to become your "best you yet" and let His life live through you!
Your weaknesses are opportunities for God to do wonders.
YOUR "SHOULD-BE" IS THE ENEMY OF YOUR "COULD-BE"
"Should-be's" only invoke shame. They're a magic mirror that reveals to us the person we aren't. When we constantly think in terms of where or who we "should-be," we will never live with the realization of where or who we "can be" in Christ. Anywhere you "should-be" is a place you aren't - and because you aren't THERE, you are in the wrong.
But anywhere you "can be" is an opportunity for you to rise to a place that's attainable - but only through the power of Christ in you.
Think of it like this:
SHould be = SHAME || Could be = CHRIST
Most of the time, our should-be doesn't even line up with God's vision and dream for our lives.
If we want to live in what "could be" we must first dismantle our "should be" and surrender our expectations and plans to the Lord.
You may not be where you USED to be, and you may not be where you WANT to be - but God's got you right where you NEED to be. Don't despise the seasons of small beginnings. Don't let your SHOULD BE create shame and frustration in your life today. Decide to declare the goodness of God over your circumstance and continue to believe Him for His promises!
Jared Ellis was called into ministry at the age of 16 years old, after being delivered out of a life of darkness, depression and depravity. He has traveled all over the world, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ and has worked with some of the leading churches in the nation such as Bethel Church and Elevation Church. He pastored in Abilene, Texas for 3 years and grew a youth ministry of 12 students to over 300 - signs, wonders and miracles happening each week. Jared is the author of "Unlocking Your Destiny: Keys To Accessing God's Master Plan For Your Life." He travels full-time as an evangelist and preaches at churches, conferences and events. He is also the GE Director at Christ For The Nations Institute where he teaches and trains Youth Pastors. While at home in Dallas, TX, he serves as a worship leader at Trinity Church.