The words I have to… How many times a day do we say these words? Do we understand that these words set us up to feel trapped by our life? Like most people, I have lived the majority of my life trying to live up to what I thought others expected of me. This has led me to feel trapped in my life. The decision to live my life based on what I thought others wanted led me down the road to deep disappointment, disappointment in myself, disappointment in others, and disappointment in God. I wanted others to appreciate me for all the sacrifices I made for them, and boy was I resentful when they didn’t.
How much resentment could be avoided if we simply stopped doing things because we felt like we had to? What if Jesus had taken the attitude that He had to go to the cross? He willingly gave His life for us, not out of obligation but out of pure love for us. There was an amazing reduction in the stress I experienced when I started to view the things I was doing as gifts to others and not obligations. It also helped me to receive what others did for me in the same way. No longer did I expect my husband to do the dishes, but was ever so grateful when he chose to.
What would happen if we decided to say I choose to, instead of I have to? For the last few months I have been more mindful of the words I choose to use. I try to catch myself, when I’m saying the words I have to and substitute the words I choose to. Are there consequences to our choices? Yes there are, but when we choose to take personal responsibility for our choices we are no longer a victim. There is tremendous power in refusing to be the victim of our circumstances or of others expectations.
Are you ready to break out of your prison?
I’m challenging you today to count how many times you say the words I have to, and then replace them with the words I choose to.
Please share your experience with the rest of us. Sharing helps challenge and encourage others.