Becoming What I Should Be


Last month, I said we’d come back to the subject of “what I (we) should be.” So here we are …

 It was at least 25 years ago that I saw the woman but I’ll never forget it. She was just leaving the grocery store, and I remember little about her appearance—plain-looking, overweight, maybe 30 years old. What sticks in my memory was the message on her sweatshirt:

~I may not be much … but I’m all I’ve got~

A cry of pain? Or a challenge to the world at large? I like to think that her implied message was simply: “This is me. Don’t expect more than what you see. I’ll not put on airs for anyone; I don’t need to, because I accept who I am and I am what I choose to be.”

If I could truthfully say that, I’d be satisfied. But too often I trip over what I think I should be.

My friend Janet chides me if I say I should be more disciplined or I should work harder or whatever. She says, “No shoulds! Life is not shoulds.” She’s right. It comes down to being what I choose to be; doing what I choose to do, as opposed to what I must do.

All right, Sam, what do you choose to be and do?

Well, gee, I dunno; life is complicated.

Do tell. So it is with my protagonist … and maybe with you, too.

Briefly put, what I choose to be and do is determined by my personal values. My worldview. As long as I live according to my worldview, I will live a complete, fulfilling life.

Oh, my, look at all the upraised hands … Yes, I am a bit of an idealist … Next question—you there in the second row … What is worldview? Ah, hah, I’m ready for that one.

Worldview is defined by James W. Sire of Intervarsity as “a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions … which we hold … about the basic construction of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.”

Got it? Worldview is how you look at life, what determines your values as to what is right or wrong and what should be.

A raised hand in the back … How do I formulate that so it’s consistent with life and what I believe? … Uh, well, just look at how the time’s gotten away from us. We’ll have to save that question for next time.

In the interim, let me know your thoughts.

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About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Finding me ... and you. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Becoming What I Should Be

  1. samuelehall says:

    Kathy, thanks for sharing. It’s important to know someone else was affected by such a simple (but not trivial) concept. When my friend Janet first commented on my use of “should,” I was taken aback. I hadn’t realized this tendency and, at first, resisted instruction or correction. The idea of questioning my “shoulds” and where they came from was a revelation and challenge.

  2. Beth Vice says:

    Good thoughts, Sam. I am always challenged when I hear the words of the Switchfoot song, “This is your life; are you who you want to be?” Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not, but this jolts me into realizing it is my choice. No matter what circumstances I find myself in, I choose how I react to them and who I want to be in my response.

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, Beth. You’ve hit the essential element–choice. We’ve always got choices. May not like all of them or any of them but we do have a choice. If nothing else, it’s simply the choice of how do I choose to respond to this situation/this person? For much of my earlier years, I felt circumscribed by limited choices. My teacher in the 7th and again in the 8th grade, Leon Hibbs, had a profound impact on how I looked at life. He opened my eyes to choices I never knew I had.
      Then I started dreaming about possibilities.

  3. Kathleen Oyler says:

    This was a good blog. I like what was said about should’s, should’s are good food for thought today.

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