How many times do we use one of these phrases? There are very few things that we “have” to do. I don’t even “have to” eat. Now, I choose to eat because if I don’t, I will starve to death. Of course, if I were really honest, I eat for other reasons too, like because it tastes good, or I like the feel of it going down my throat, or I like the way I feel after I eat it. But most of us recognize that we don’t need to eat things like ice cream.
An interesting thing is revealed by our choice of words, and it strengthened by it. When we say I have to, we are saying that we don’t have a choice, and therefore we are not responsible! The phrase “I should” is very similar. When we say this, we are accepting some other standard, set by some unnamed entity, to make our choices for us. When we do this, we relinquish our power to chose, submitting ourselves to this other entity.
Frequently, when we talk about submitting to our spouse, other people or God, we rear up and rebel, thinking this infringes on “our rights”. Why then, do we submit to this unnamed entity that says “we should”?
If the God who created the universe and everything and everybody in it gives us the ability to choose to obey Him or go our own way, why would we give up this ability to choose? And especially, why would we give this power and authority to anybody or anything that does not have our best interest in mind?
I have been working on catching and removing these phrases from my life. As they become less and less frequent, I am becoming stronger in my own identity, more aware of the choices that I make every day, and accepting the consequences of my own choices. I choose not to be a victim, I choose to submit only to the one Who created me and loves me, and to the authorities that He has placed in my life. Where God’s instructions and those authorities appear to be in conflict, I take the issue back to God, seeking His wisdom on how to proceed. It is amazing how many situations God resolves when I remember to seek God and His kingdom first!