Five Minute Friday: Should

Along the Way @

Gentle reader,

I had hoped to rejoin the #fmfparty chat last night after a months-long absence, but it wasn’t in the cards. These days I’m doing good to be somewhat coherent past 6:30 p.m. All I could do was peek in an say “hello” before becoming one with the couch.

But I wanted to get back in the flash-writing habit.

So, linking up with Kate and away we…


In the movie Finding Neverland, Johnny Depp as J.M. Barrie tells the Lleweln-Davies family that “just” is a very ugly word, destroying the imagination.

I submit to you that “should” is equally ugly, if not more so.

Should do this. Should do that. Shouldn’t feel this. Shouldn’t think that.

We live in a world in which law and obligation are both necessary. Given our inherently selfish and sinful natures, we need boundaries. We need to know that it’s not okay to do whatever we want, whenever we want. Parents teach their children not to hit each other, to share toys, to clear the table. A sense of right and wrong, of duty and compassion, is important.

But all that can get twisted. Law and obligation become the focus, drowning out grace and joy. The “should” eclipses the “get to,” the “privileged to” and the “want to.” (For not every “want to” is bad). The spine curves under such a burden. The mind fills with long lists of resentment. The heart beats with bitterness.

Worst is the sense of guilt. The knowing that, no matter how hard one tries, there’s always another “should.” Another thing undone. Unsaid. Imperfect. The soul trembles, fearing to turn around and find that God Himself is the source of the guilt, the condemnation. So onward. Forward. Hoping to outrun, outperform.

A world made of “should” is an ugly one indeed and not at all what God intended. The law and the obligation are based in love, not striving. We are to serve and do and go out of affection for God, an affection that spills over onto others. We can’t be all things to all people at all times and do everything. It’s impossible. The task is only that which is in front of us, right now, in this moment.

Let us learn to replace “should” with “will” or “will not,” as appropriate. Let us learn to be people of the “yes” and the “no.” Simple. Straightforward. Unclouded. Unhindered.



Photo credit: Ian Schneider

12 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Should

  1. Marie, it is SO GOOD to see you back with FMF!!!!! I think I speak for everyone here when I say we missed you terribly, and you were and are in our daily prayers.

    And what a fine post with which to return. I agree completely – ‘should’ is a wrecker of both dreams and incentives, and ties lead weights to feet that should dance.

    #1 at FMF this week.


  2. Nice to see you back here, Marie! I agree, we have to be careful with “should” otherwise it’s too easy for duty and obligation to become a burden and lead to guilt. We need to hold on to grace and joy.


  3. The “should” eclipses the “get to,” the “privileged to” and the “want to.”

    I so agree that so many other words can be used to replace “should.” I went with “choose”, but I love the “get to”, “privileged to”, and “want to.”

    Obligation and responsibility are important but often lose their life in the word “should.”


  4. I’m delighted to be stopping by your spot for the first time. Ahhh… I submit to you that it is the words that precede and follow “should” that can be the villains that distress us. And you are right on, when should becomes will, we move from a position of obligation not yet fulfilled to one of commitment, of obedience before God. -Coming over from spot 18 on #FMF today.


  5. Ahhh, Marie! It’s so refreshing to read your wise words again! I’m breathing in deeply the truths you have shared. I LIKE the idea of being a Yes or No person rather than a Should person. That sense of obligation will bury us if we don’t filter it through the callings God has placed on our hearts.

    Great words. I’m smiling “seeing” you again. 🙂



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