The Thing About Should

The thing about depression and anxiety in the midst of a seemingly “good” season, when all is “right” in the world, is drowning in the “shoulds”.

“I should be happy right now.”

“I should be content in all things.”

“I shouldn’t let this bother me so much.”

“I should be able to get over this.”

“This shouldn’t be such a big deal.”

“I should be enjoying myself today.”

The “shoulds” overwhelm and compound the anxieties more than the anxieties on their own. They wear me out and beat me down. They are my own voice, convicting me of a crime I haven’t committed. The “shoulds” portray themselves as truth, trying to nail the anxiety coffin shut. They try to bury reality under mounds of guilt, shame, and lies.

“Should” is a liar. And today, he has been loud. This week he has been loud. My vision clouded with self judgement and criticism. Any additional words, from anyone else, just heaps on layers of “shoulds”.

This realization of “shoulds” is a relief of sorts. It gives a name to something I couldn’t name, but could feel the drowning weight of. It helps me put a finger on, a voice, to a heavy feeling.

And that is the beginning of freedom.

Freedom begins when you have identified the matter at hand, and the matter that has had the upper hand is “should”. It has had too much power and today, right now, writing this, I take it back. I take back it’s right and authority to speak over my life how I should act and live and operate. I refuse to partner with and agree with its condemning voice.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. “Romans 8:37 ESV

I am more than a conqueror. I am not defeated by “shoulds”.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 ESV

The peace of God guards my heart and mind. There is no room for the condemnation of “should”.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV

The skies seem a little bluer on this side of this blog, this realization in real time. The funk doesn’t seem so heavy with the weight of “should” lifted off of my shoulders, through the truth of God.