So much of the Christian contemporary music sounds the same. At least most of the stuff that plays on the radio, that is. Don’t get me wrong—I love the message. I’m not a well-informed music critic; it’s just that I like variety. (I also love pizza, but not for breakfast, lunch, and supper everyday…) It’s unfortunate that, when spinning the dial—and I date myself with that one!—to find some good tunes, you can automatically tell it’s a Christian station, not by the words necessarily, but by the sound.
But this writing isn’t about music, per se. I’m actually considering how I respond to God my Father. A prayer that surfaced in my heart this morning didn’t exactly catch me off guard, since I have bent more toward it of late, but it resonated on a few different levels as I sipped my hot tea in the relative cool of the California morning. It went something like this:
“Help me to love and respond to You the way You have created me to.”
Simple. But profound, really.
Self-awareness has never been one of my strong attributes. I remember getting a low score on a personality poster in high school, you know, one of the “who am I” composites for health class that should be an easy 25 points? Right. I think I got a 17. ‘Nuf said.
So I was a pretty soft target. We tend to dis the highly publicized media/markets, (with good cause, in my not-so-humble opin), for allowing them to form our “shoulds” in this culture. We should look like this. We should buy this. We should think-feel-talk like this. Unfortunately, this cultural indoctrination seeps into our American Christian responses as well, if we let it. Here are some examples:
I should worship like this. I’m old enough to have witnessed an earlier form of this in the 70’s and 80’s. Drums in worship were akin to the devil, etc….glad we’re past that one. But a version of this exists. (RE: paragraph one.) Thankfully, with gratitude to many writers, worship is being seen more as a lifestyle than a mode of music. What about writing? Or studying? Or contemplation?
I should feel like this when I worship. This is big one for me. We are unique in our emotional makeup as much as in our journey with Jesus at this point in time. I have been tempted to consider my relationship with God somehow less than fantastic, since my emotions don’t seem to “fit the pattern”, whatever that is. There is so much more that can be said on this, but not at this writing. This bears warning, however. Emotions are not a good indication of reality.
All this is not to say we must cast all “shoulds” to the side of the road. Far from it. Moral “should-ness” remains steady; God has certain unalterables for which we are accountable. But I’m thinking He gives me also a whole lot more wiggle room than I sometimes give myself—to express my love and devotion to Him….
…in the way He Himself created ME to do.
Thx for readin’! dawnlizjones
One thought on “A Bad Case of the Shoulds”
Dawn, love this! I, too, believe God gives us more wiggle room than we think. If it were just a list of do this and don’t do that, there would be no need for faith or prayer or the relationship. The wiggle room is where we grow and learn.
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