Martha Stewart? Never Gonna Happen.

I can’t remember the first time I heard the word should, but I do know that I have no memory of not knowing what that word meant.  I have heard that word countless times throughout my life, both from others and in my own voice, in my own head.  

You should be more of this. 
You should be less of that.
You should be more outgoing.
You should be quieter.
You should be stronger.
You should get over it.  

That’s a big one for me: You should get over it.  

Like anyone else, I have suffered hurts, losses and rejections.  Some I have been able to overcome and move on quickly, and others, well, not so much. I spent a really long time beating myself up over the fact that I had a tough time resolving certain things in my own mind and moving past them.  I suspect that there are many of us who have those raw, hurt places in our hearts from our previous trials that are so easily reopened and exposed - sometimes at the most inconvenient and unexpected times.  You feel that wound and hurt in such a fresh way, even though years may have passed since the event occurred.  In those moments, I can be so hard on myself.  “Get over it!  This is ridiculous, you should just move on.  What is wrong with you?”  This is a mantra that will play on an endless loop in my head.  But a couple of years ago, God spoke very clearly to me.  It was like an amazing parting of the clouds with the sun shining through; the darkness of the “should” was being pushed away and a beautiful ray of truth was shining down on me.  Here is what I learned: Healing from deep hurt is a journey, and along that journey, there will be good days and bad days and that is OK.  I used to expect that I would arrive at some magic destination that would signify that I was officially over it and should never think or speak of it again.  I learned that there is no magic destination.  It’s actually a journey that winds around and has high spots and low spots, and the recognition of that and allowing it to unfold is huge...really huge.  

Sometimes I can “should” myself all day long, over tough emotional stuff and even over silly little stuff.  I should be doing something constructive rather than watching this TV show.  I really should be more like Martha Stewart (never gonna happen).  I should be doing more of this and less of that.  I should be spending more time with God (this is the prominent "should" in my life right now).  I wonder what would happen if we stopped using the word "should" for an entire day, removing it from our vocabulary and putting another word in its place?  Instead of, “I should be hand-making my child’s Halloween costume,” say, “I could be making my child’s Halloween costume, but instead I am going to buy it and spend that time taking my kid to the movies.”  Not, “I should be whipping up Christmas décor that would make Martha weep with envy,” but rather, “I could plan a super fun advent celebration for my family.”  You fill these in with things that work for YOU.  If whipping up fancy costumes and décor is what brings you joy, go for it!   Join us!

Barb calls herself the old girl of the bunch.  She is an observer and a comforter.  If there is a hurting soul in the room, God will likely lead Barb to her.  She would say that she has always felt God’s presence but didn’t know what it was until she was older.  God is always chasing her through music.  She feels music like a very deep emotion.  A song will speak to her and can bring her to tears or fill her with immeasurable joy, or sometimes both at the same time.  She listens to anything from hymns to Van Halen and all the stuff in between.  Barb is married to a man she describes as the most kind and generous person she has ever known and together they parent a beautiful, joyful, loving and challenging daughter.