“Honey, you’ve had a busy day. Come watch the game with me,” suggested my husband.
“In a minute.”
Silently I added, First, I gotta clean the kitchen, wash a load of clothes and finish tomorrow’s report. My promised “minute” evolved into several hours.
Speaker Robert J. Kriegel contends that “gottas” have become the chief reaction for many of us in our bigger-better-faster-more culture. “The Gotta’s can run your life,” writes Kriegel in his book, If It Ain’t Broke . . . Break It!1
I gotta clean the house before company comes. I gotta study my Bible lesson. I gotta get an A on that test. I must start the kids on piano lessons. I should host the neighborhood party. It can become a never-ending cycle of inner demands.
Obviously, you and I need to accomplish certain tasks in order to lead healthy lives (brushing our teeth, showering and eating to name a few.) However, when we let the shoulds and gottas control our lives, we lose our sense of contentment. God isn’t the one who pressures us. He wants us to delight in our life and work—whatever it is at this season. Satisfaction and enjoyment are God’s gifts to us.
Lord, I don’t want to be confined by my “gottas.” Yet, getting rid of the excessive shoulds in my vocabulary isn’t easy. Please help me.
Make It Personal: Name three gottas that could keep you from enjoying this coming week. Now eliminate one of those gottas—just for the next few days. Easy does it.
Adapted from It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life and based on “That everyone may . . . find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:13
If shame causes a person to hide who she is, I must be ashamed of myself. I hide the books I read for fear of being ridiculed. I refrain from sharing my thoughts when they differ from someone who doesn’t understand me. I practice piano only when no one is around. I’m afraid I’ll be considered arrogant if I do what I believe God is calling me to do.
Years ago, I wrote these words in my journal. Reading them now, I feel sad because fears like these kept me, for quite some time, from becoming the person God created me to be. I’ve met other women (and men!) beset by similar troubling self-views, so I recognize that it is possible for any of us to feel ashamed simply being ourselves.
Here’s what I’m learning: Just because a friend or relative is not a musician doesn’t mean I can’t be. I can enjoy reading, studying and teaching even though another person would rather do a hands-on helping project. If someone I love participates in sports and I don’t, that’s all right.
They can use the talent and gifts God gave them and pursue the activities and ministries they enjoy. And I can do the same.
Would you like to join me in praying: Lord, please help me to accept my personality characteristics and talents as gifts from You. And when someone else doesn’t understand who and what I am, give me courage to smile and not hide*.
Make It Personal: What do you enjoy doing? How can you do more of what you like?
Sitting in my overstuffed chair, sipping chai tea and chatting with God.
G’ Morning, Lord! You are the same today as You were yesterday, last year, and eons ago. And You’re the same as You will be a million years from now, although TIME as we know it will probably be gone by then. I would think so. Yet I don’t know that for sure. Only You know that.
You, Father God/Jesus/Holy Spirit don’t live in TIME. I do. All we humans do. TIME is your idea and gift of protection, structure, and organization for us. You let us choose how to use this gift. You give us this privileged responsibility.
Thank you, Lord, for the confidence You place in us and the respect You show for us. You amaze me.
I’m a walking zombie. I remember thinking and voicing these words after months of awakening with a crying, hungry baby up to seven times a night. (Found out later that he had chronic ear problems.)
I also recall feeling rather alone and wondering if anybody was listening. I never dreamed I’d be so tired. So when I read Krista’s e-mail about her new-mommy days, I identified. Here’s Krista’s story:
Krista says, “I’m Still Here!”
When my son was a baby, he went through a phase like most babies do, where he would become distraught if he couldn’t see me. I’d walk into another room to grab something, and he’d cry. If I walked behind his bouncy seat where he couldn’t see me, he’d wail.
One day I was busy trying to finish some chores, so I walked out of view and he cried. When he couldn’t find me, he screamed louder. I felt sad for him and said, “Honey, it’s okay. I’m still here. Just because you can’t see me, doesn’t mean I left you.”
I gasped. Oh, my, that’s what God is saying to me. Suddenly I felt the love and nurture of my heavenly Father. He assured me that even when I didn’t see evidence of His presence, He was there. This was the first of many parenting aha’s that God shared with me—and I’m incredibly grateful.
I love Krista’s story and am glad she gave me permission to share it in my new book, Nourishment for New Moms. If you’re a new mom (for the first time or the fifth!) you may enjoy the other stories, tips, and practical encouragement in my new book. OR perhaps you’d like to give the book to a new mom who could use a little “nourishment” and validation.
What do you remember about your new moms days? Ever feel like a “walking zombie”?
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.