I love being on vacation. There’s no better feeling than waking up and not having to do anything. Living life with a bunch of “coulds” is so much better than a bunch of “shoulds.”
At home I think, “I should wake up early so that I can go for a run before work.” On vacation I think, “I could go for a run this morning; I don’t have anything else to do.”
At home I think, “I should probably have a salad for lunch because it’s healthier.” On vacation I think, “I could go for some dessert because that Hula Pie is amazing.”
At home I think, “I should probably spend more time working on my website or getting ahead on work.” On vacation I think, “I could read some comic books or take a nap on this beach.”
If we want to be responsible adults and contributors to society, then we have to live a life of “shoulds.” Hopefully everything we should do takes place at a job we love or in a family that supports us. I mean I should work to the best of my abilities because I’m being paid a salary. But I also want to work hard because I love my job and believe in our church. I also should try to be the best husband and father that I can be, but I’m more than happy to do it because I love Alycia and Clara so much.
Even in the midst of all the “shoulds” in our lives, though, we still need to find some time for the “coulds,” and not just on vacation. Vacation is great because we don’t have to do anything, but we need to incorporate some of that attitude into our everyday lives.
I can’t go to Maui every day of my life; I probably can’t even afford to go every year. However, I can find a quiet moment to sit and take a breath. I may not be watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, but I can watch it set over the hills behind our house. We probably can’t sleep in every day of our lives; most of the time we have to set an alarm and get out of bed. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t find time to take a nap or 20 minutes to take a short walk around our work.
For most of my life I’ve applied the “should” attitude to my life with God. I pretty much saw every interaction with God as something I should do: I should go to church, I should have a quiet time, I should avoid sin. There are a lot of “shoulds” when it comes to following Jesus, mostly because we have to work against the corruption of our sinful nature. However, just like I’m more than happy to be a better father and husband, we should be more than happy to do everything that Jesus asks of us.
Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Jesus came back to life three days later so that we could be given the opportunity for new and eternal life. Jesus has done everything for us, which should inspire us to live our lives for him. Not out of some begrudging attitude where we drag our feet like a child just told to clean his room, but out of joy and happiness for all that Jesus has done for us.
It’s true, we should do everything Jesus tells us to do because he loves us, he died for us and he knows what’s best. But all of those “shoulds” with Jesus open us up to an entirely new world of different “coulds.”
If we follow Jesus and do what he asks, then we could make an eternal impact in this world.
If we follow Jesus and do what he asks, then we could be better friends, children, spouses and parents.
If we follow Jesus and do what he asks, then we could live lives of significance freed from the shackles of habitual sin.
Vacation is great because all of the “shoulds” in our lives get changed into “coulds.” In the real world, though, hopefully our “shoulds” don’t feel as much like obligations as they do opportunities to serve our employers, families and friends. And we need to remember that every “should” with Jesus opens us up to an opportunity that could change our lives or the life of someone we know.
How do you balance the “shoulds” and “coulds” with Jesus?