Can I just say it? The word “should” is not one of my all-time favorite words.

It can stir up unpleasant, shamed, not-enough feelings. I tell myself I should. My family tells me I should. My co-workers tell me I should. My friends tell me I should. The world around me tells me I should.

And along with the word “should” come a few other words – “but you probably won’t.”

I have a to-do list for this weekend and it includes things I should do. A few of those “should do” items are troublesome to me because there is a voice in the back of my mind speaking to me about them.

“You should do that. Yes, you should, but you know that you put that on your to-do list last weekend and it didn’t get done then. What makes you think you’ll get it done this weekend? Why even bother putting it on your list?”

I’ve listened to that “probably won’t” accusation a few too many times. Enough times that it begins to scare me away from doing what I want to do and from doing what I am gifted and called to do.

I’ve listened to that accusation often enough that it has tainted the word “should” for me.

Instead of the source of condemnation, the word “should” can be an invitation to an adventure.

  • I love to craft so I should make some time in my weekends to make something beautiful.
  • It would be good for me to lose some weight so I should experiment with new recipes for low-fat foods.
  • Reading great books is good for my brain so I should see what my library has to offer.
  • Writing is a way for me to reach out to my world so I should look for ways to improve my writing.
  • God has given me a wonderful life so I should enjoy it and share it as much as I can.

Suddenly “should” is transformed from a shame-producing word into a peek into what could be just around the corner – from something I avoid to something I anticipate.

What about you? Are you letting the voice of our enemy accuse you with what you should do? Or are you letting God invite you into discovering the excitement of what you should do?


Today along with the other writers of Five Minute Friday at  I’m writing about the prompt word “should”.  Come take a look at what the others are saying about this week’s prompt word.

5 comments on “Should – Accusation or Invitation?”

  1. I “should ” comment on everything you write as they cut to the heart of my issues and how they haunt me. My shoulds become lists in my mind.
    Thanks for the reminder of what I could do. Loves.

  2. Love your perspective Barbara! I was thinking along the same lines- why does ‘should’ always have to be a negative thing? Some things we should do for fun!! Thanks for stopping by my blog too, I appreciate your willingness to learn new things!

  3. I love this post. I have too many “shoulds” on my list. But now instead of feeling guilty about them, I am going to look at them through new eyes to what could be. Blessings!

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