“Could”s and “should”s


When teams that could win face teams that should win, what usually happens? The teams that could win, win. That’s because they are playing with something extra. They are already above expectations just to be in the same arena with the team that should win, so they have nothing to lose.

Teams that could win are usually pretty loose for that reason. They’re already beyond expectations, and thinking, “Might as well keep going with this and see where it takes us.” Teams that should win are usually pretty uptight because of the expectations they bring with them. They have more to lose; they’re supposed to win.

Faith is all about what you could do and be. It takes you beyond expectations, because it puts you in the realm of the Spirit where anything can happen. Faith takes you out beyond yourself.

Jesus once said that those who expect to please God through what they do already have their reward. They lived up to their expectations. They did what they feel they should do. Good for them. But what a boring life. You either live up to expectations or you fall short. Either way it’s no real prize. Those who live by faith do better. Their faith takes them beyond themselves — what Paul calls beyond what you could ask, think or even imagine. Jesus says these will reap eternal rewards far greater.

What you could do is all about grace, surprise, destiny and heart. It’s about seeing dreams come true. It’s about being bigger than who you thought you were. What you could do puts you in the realm of grace and mercy, out beyond what you deserve.

What you should do is all about law, living up to expectations and getting what you deserve. Under the law you usually end up smaller than what you thought you were because the law always wins. (“I Fought the Law and the Law Won.”) Either you fail to meet your expectations, or you lower them to something you can do; either way you end up lower than where you started.

Like Brennan Manning used to say when he quoted one of his favorite nuns, “I will not ‘should’ on myself today.” But if you “could” on yourself today, think of what you could do in the power of Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I really need this today. I need to be a “could do” person. I’m living in a very small space right now ruled by my own “should do” expectations. I’m living with what I can control and I’m staying small because of it. Doing what you know you should do is limiting. Doing what you could do is enlarging. Who knows how big that could get?

How about you? Are you thinking of what you should do today, or are you thinking of what you could do? What you think makes all the difference because it determines what (or whom) you are counting on.

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2 Responses to “Could”s and “should”s

  1. John A Fagliano says:

    I think the problem with a lot of us is that we put all of the good things in the “should” list. I should pray. I should work. I should sacrifice. I should love my neighbor etc… But those are all “could” do’s instead. If there is nothing I can do for someone. I could always pray. Then the possibilities are endless. I think you’re on to something important here. It’s all about what God could do through us rather than what we should be doing.

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