In 6th grade, my dad sat the three daughters down for an “easy” game of Risk.
For those of you who got to play things like Uno and jump on a trampoline, you may not be aware that this game involved countries going to war and losing it all in battle. Don’t be jealous.
(And in case you’re wondering, my dad was military and I’m proud that he is a Vietnam Vet.)
As proud as I am of him, I’m not quite sure if that was the most fun my sisters and I could dream of having at that time. I’m pretty sure my dad yelled at my sister, “You’re going to sit there and you’re going to have fun!!”
Well, friend, we can laugh at it now, but how many of us are doing things that are “good” for us or things we “have” to do with the same point of view?
I HAVE to. I don’t want to. I should do this. I shouldn’t do that. If I’m a good person, I need to do it. Just muddle it through. Just survive.
It’s an itty, bitty belief that takes something that could be enjoyable, worth it, and fun to guilt, pressure, and resentment.
It could be your workout, your food, your budget, your marriage, your work, or even your faith.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but for years, I volunteered because I thought that’s what “good people” do. I followed the rules of society and my church. I wanted to be liked and I didn’t want to look selfish to others or to God.
Think about that.
I “have” to volunteer because everyone else in my church is volunteering. I don’t want to look selfish. These are all the thoughts that were in my brain.
So I volunteered. I would leave irritated that I didn’t serve in the role I wanted or didn’t meet new people or they wasted my time. I ended up acting and being selfish.
And I ended up not really being the “good person” I was forcing myself to be or loving the people I was supposedly volunteering to love.
Now, I really want to think and feel love and fun when I do these things because I can.
So now I think “I am so excited I get to learn more about this medical missions team.” I go. I learn about it. I leave happy to know more about the organization and having done it.
For those of us who are the do-gooders, rule-followers and perfectionists, we can get it twisted real quick.
Those “have to” and “shoulds” and “if I’m a good person” turn into guilt and resentment, which defeats the purpose of why we’re doing it in the first place. We’re not doing it out of love. We’re not having fun.
I’m not saying not to do all the things you want to do to be wealthy in your faith, relationships, health, and finance, i.e. go to church, call your mom, eat vegetables, feed your kids.
What I’m saying is if it’s something you don’t want to do, but you know it will help you (or your kids/family/work), ask yourself these four questions:
- How can I make this fun?
- How can I do this out of love?
- How can I have fun today/this week?
- If I loved doing this, how would I think, feel, act?
These four questions will help you enjoy that mental list you have in your head of what you “have” to do and may even help you choose to do it out of love or fun instead of out of resentment or guilt.
Think about how you would show up to friends, family, and co-workers if you did more out of love or fun and less out of resentment or guilt.
Love feels better, doesn’t it? Fun feels good. Guilt and resentment are like little prisons we make for ourselves.
Don’t let your brain keep you there.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how you are choosing to make things fun and do things more out of love this week.
Let’s get started freeing you up from the guilt and resentment you feel daily. Email me to chat about working with me.
With total real love – Natalie