Guilted by the Shoulds

by Debora M. Coty @deboracoty

The dental hygienist fixed her accusing stare on me after a not-so-stellar appointment. “You should floss more,” she leveled. “What are you doing to clean your teeth daily besides brushing?”

“Um …” I groped for something. Anything. “I use the doggie biscuit technique; I chew on extra crunchy chocolate chip cookies.”

She was right. I really should floss more. But sometimes should is a dangerous word. It’s a stress-filled, pressure-packed slave driver. It ruthlessly inflates the bulk of a woman’s to-do list, often crowding out healthy sanity-essentials with guilt-induced clutter.

  • I should go to that meeting; they really need my help.
  • I should cook a big dinner every night like my mother did.
  • I should clean my house so the kids won’t write notes in the dust.

Seems there’s always something more we should be doing.

But as every woman struggling to squeeze into last year’s skinny jeans knows, more isn’t always better; sometimes it’s simply overwhelming. You know, my friend, we can be whelmed without being overwhelmed. Whelmed is livable; overwhelmed is strangling.

So how do we shush that should guilt threatening to overwhelm us? Here are four suggestions that work for me:

Be stress-smart. When you’re slammed into a stress mess, sit yourself down with a calming cup of your fave hot beverage. I’m talking five mere minutes here, not five hours. You can afford it. Close your eyes. Tune in to Papa God’s loving presence … His heartbeat … His peace. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” (Psalm 94:19 NIV).

Avoid BOOP (Boiling Oatmeal Overflow Phenomenon). BOOP is one of my Coty Near-Facts of Science (theories not yet proven by actual scientific studies but nevertheless known by women to be true). I postulate that women are like pots of oatmeal; at the beginning of the day we simmer – little manageable bubbles of stress rise to the surface and harmlessly pop. But as the day progresses, the heat escalates and the oatmeal boils higher and wilder and meaner until it overflows and spoils everything around it with a nasty, ugly, sticky mess. The key to avoiding BOOP is to know when to remove the pot from the heat. And speaking of burners …

Promote yourself off the back burner. Don’t argue girl, just do it. You may sacrificially place yourself there routinely, but your Creator doesn’t. You’re a front-burner person to him. He wants you to enjoy this marvelous gift of life He’s given you, not sludge through it. So it’s time to add a little fun to your day.

Write yourself into your schedule for an hour of something you really enjoy a minimum of twice a week. Walk in the sunshine, bike a woodsy trail, sing opera, join a roller derby team, boogie your bad self down, get your nails done – hey, whatever tingles your toes. Put the beautiful smile back on your face. Your fam will be ever so grateful.

Be a dipstick. The Lord puts only enough fuel in your daily tank for you to arrive safely at the destination He’s routed out for you. All the detours you add will either run you out of gas or land you in a ditch. Check your tank, review your destination, and then engage in the Three Ps: Prioritize, Plan, and Pace yourself.

Achk, I know. So many things we must do. A few things we want to do. And countless things we should do. We just have to recognize that we have the power to choose which shoulds are potential coulds … and then unapologetically embrace the woman our choices make us.

I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.Isaiah 41:10 NASB

*Adapted from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms by Debora M. Coty. Used with permission from Barbour Publishing.

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Guilted by the Shoulds – tips for coping from @deboracoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Debora’s newest release is Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms addresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: What stresses you out? How do you give yourself a break?

The Living Word

by Karen Porter

Someone asked me, “What are you reading right now?” I laughed because my answer consisted of the titles of five different books. I keep several books going at one time, strategically placing them in various places around my house. One in the bedroom to read before I fall asleep. One in the den so I can multitask while my husband watches a football game. One next to the back door so I can take it to the patio with my morning cup of coffee. I read literature, fiction, non-fiction, and classics. Many I treasure and often re-read. But no book, poetry, or story has affected me in the same way as reading the Bible.

No matter how many times I read a passage in the Bible, I find a new thought or new insight—and another new blessing when I read it again! I’ve heard this idea expressed from other believers too. They usually say something like, “the words jumped off the page.” I always chuckle when I think of the words leaping around. But it is a good way to express the surprise we feel when we see a new principle or application in familiar verses.

The author of Hebrews wrote about the power of Scripture when he said, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT) The Bible is a living book, wrapping itself around our current life situation and speaking the truth of God into our worries, anxieties, and fears. I believe the living nature of the Bible is one of the major reasons for us to believe that it is, in fact, the Word of God. While there may be interesting quotes and creative use of language in the classic works of Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis, nothing penetrates my soul and challenges me to life-change like the Word.

One of the reasons the Word speaks to us in a deeper way today than it did a year ago is because our needs are constantly changing. For example, in the weeks after my mother passed away, I needed God to speak words of comfort and peace. I read, I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT) As I read those words, His peace (His gift) washed over me. My beautiful mother was with Him and no longer ill or crippled. He sent peace in a fresh and tangible way as He promised He would in Psalm 94:19, “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” (NLT)

Because His Word is living the Holy Spirit uses the language to fill my empty places and confront the dark places in my heart.

Today, you and I may need to be challenged and inspired to take on a new task or stand strong in a tough situation. Perhaps you need to take control of your choices so you will be healthy. Perhaps you need to strengthen your emotions so you can forgive someone. His Word is the place to find what you need.

Warren Wiersbe once said, “The Gospel is simple enough for an illiterate pagan to understand, believe and be saved. But it is so profound that the most brilliant theologian cannot fathom its depths.”

Have you ready your powerful, living Word today?

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 NLT

karen-porter-About the author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. Most days she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Speak Like Jesus,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What words have “jumped off the page” for you lately?