*yes, I understand “shoulda,” “coulda,” and “woulda” are not grammatically correct.*
To those thoughts in my head,
“I shoulda went to that college.”
“I woulda been happier with him.”
“I coulda had that.”
“I shoulda went out last night, I missed out.”
“I coulda kept him/her around if I had just changed this about me.”
“If I woulda had more faith, this wouldn’t hurt so bad.”
“I coulda done more.”
and the list goes on….
Stop nagging at me.
Looking back, yeah, I “should have done,” “would have done,” or “could have done” a lot of things differently, I know. You weigh on me immensely and make me think you’re powerful enough to determine the rest of my life. As if that one teeny-tiny thought is the catalyst for what kind of quality the rest of my life will have.
So I scream, “enough of making me fall into despair and hopelessness.”
You’re a demon. A sneaky little bug that flies around my head. That’s the thing, though, you’re TINY and weak, yet you make me think I am both those things. I am stronger than you are and the fullness of truth lies all around me, but I can’t feel it or see it. When my own life isn’t a flowing wave of perfection I stop in my tracks and try and hit rewind and you guide the whole journey back down memory lane.
Along the way, in search for a remedy to this madness, a cure to this disease, I figure the response you give is “I’m supposed to move on” or “I’m supposed to stay here.” Honestly, sometimes the fear of your thoughts are heavier than the “thing” I [shoulda, coulda, woulda] did.
If I ignore you, you’ll always hold me back. And if I live in you, I will always be gripped by you. Both leaving me lacking boldness and courage. Is that your goal for me? To be stuck?
I’m sure it is. You’re exhausting and restricting.
A small voice catches me off guard, with a shining light. He smacks me and speaks: “laugh at yourself.”
All this time I thought I deserved this fear. I thought I had to settle here, to hide. I doubted anything good when all my mind did was replay my weakness.
Sure, others tell me “laugh at yourself! Overall you’re a good person!” or, “no worries!” but you spoke a redeeming laughter. A “laugh at yourself and look to me!” When the wisdom and sight of the truth of what happened sinks in it’s encouraging, it’s comical. It exists not to condemn me, but to help me heal.
This voice is not my own. I cannot be my own Savior. It’s a wise Savior who laughs in the face of those pests “shoulda, coulda, woulda” and squishes them as easily as a human can an ant. He calls me to laugh at it and repent it — A man who wisely instituted a free opportunity to drop it off. (it’s called the confessional for those who can benefit).
Not because it’s “no big deal,” but because agonizing over it and failing to see, experience, embrace, and receive the gift of His goodness is wasted time. The future of hope I have no assurance in (by my own efforts), but the assurance of what He promised.
“I want you.” … “I don’t look at you differently.” (Luke 15:4-7)
“You are a part of my Kingdom.” (John 14:3)
“For I know well the plans I have for YOU. . Plans to prosper you and not to give you harm. Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)
These thoughts are now where I turn to when you pests come flying in. These are the thoughts that I stand my ground on. In the name of love, my true identity, and on the ground of sheer goodness where He offered himself as a remedy for my misery, shedding His blood to prove it.
To you old friends shoulda, coulda, and woulda, hast la vista.
I find counsel in the Lord who is wiser than me. The Lord who see’s in greater perspective than I do. Who, at the moment of my choice to fully repent, forgets EVERYTHING and wants to move on with me. Who reminds me I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139: 14) and I am not the sum of my sins and weaknesses. I am the sum of His love for me (JPII).
The Lord who breathes freedom and purpose into me tells me who I am.
His beloved. His daughter (son).
“My name is ____________, and I am a daughter (son) of the almighty, unstoppable God. I am seen, delighted in, known, & loved. God has a unique plan for my life & is revealing His heart to me on this day. I can do anything good. I don’t have to strive to compete with others – I only have to do my best, to be myself, & to trust in the slow work of His hand. I am not defined by my failures, my mistakes, my relationship status, my accomplishments, or my work – I am defined by the song God is singing over my life – the song of who I am and who He created me to be – a (wo)man who is vibrant, valiant, gracious, and brave. I belong to the risen God, and it is in this deep, inestimable truth where I can find true rest. Amen, Hallelujah.” –Written by Emily Wilson
Guess what, old friends, I am saying “yes” to a God who changes the world, my world. The one who possesses the fullness of truth I’ve been searching for in all those times I lingered in your misery. The God who reins in mercy and justice, love and peace.
Jesus isn’t safe. Jesus is the only one who has the courage to defeat the gross demons that linger around us and consume us. And the only one who has proved He can defeat them.
Jesus is good, and the life He leads us to isn’t predictable, easy, or comfortable but it’s fulfilling. It’s peace-filled and purposeful. That’s the benefits of keeping Him around more than those thoughts. Being friends with the real Jesus, following Him wherever it uncomfortably leads us, always fills the emptiness that I often struggle with inside.
Jesus isn’t a “spur of the moment” kinda guy, the way you guys get to me. He is a man who promised me a lifelong happiness in and through following Him. It’s funny how all those other attempts to make the future I wanted, my own will, became self-inflicted trouble.
A Jesus who fixes the holes of my heart instead of letting me repress, turn away, drink, shop, sex, or drug them away. A Jesus who exchanges miseries into divinities of wisdom, compassion, mercy, love, and more.
I can’t fix the past. I can’t — on my own — pull myself together and change what happened, but He can and He will create something full and meaningful from it.
More of you, Lord. Less of those demons that entrap me. There is no need for a Christian to live in shame.
His name is Christ and everything He touches turns to Gold
PS- Watch Lion King