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Once upon a time, I wrote a blog. Once upon a time, I was organized. Once upon a time, I only had to create my own calendar. Then I became a spouse, a parent, and a pastor, and I no longer found myself writing that blog or being organized or creating my own calendar. I began to inwardly chastise myself: "You should be doing these things."

Those shoulds created a to-do list of their own. They became the reasons why I saw myself failing. Those inward and outward shoulds became so powerful over me. Has that happened to you? Have you or others close to you used "should" language?

I want to invite you to write in the margin, take out a piece of paper, or just take time and think about the shoulds that you have or currently are telling yourself. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

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Now I want you to look over your list. I invite you to change those shoulds to "I am capable of doing (fill in the blank)." Read through your list again. Yes. You are capable of doing these things. Thinking of where you are now in your life, are these things going to serve you and those around you? Do you want to make time for them? Are they a priority? If so, make space in your life and heart for them so you can be the best you that you can be. If they are not going to work now, let them go.

Welcome 2019 by checking in with yourself. We don’t need to live with shoulds. May each of us take time to give thanks for whom we were and notice how we have transformed. May we live and serve best by prioritizing our strengths and assets right now in this present moment. May we remember that all we need is one moment to reconnect with breath and start again.

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Pastor Melissa Engel serves Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Insights is written by members of the Butte Ministerial Association.

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