Doing what you ‘could’ do

th-15When 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.

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 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?

None of this bodes well for my Angels, who looked last night like they were thinking about what they should do most of the night. The Royals are already in the realm of what they could do, and looking, at least right now, like a team of destiny. The only hope for the Angels is if they stop thinking of what they should do and go back to thinking about what they could do — the kind of thinking that put them on a tear the last month of the season. It’s all about your mind set.

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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5 Responses to Doing what you ‘could’ do

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    I’m trying my best to live in the ‘could do’ world… even though i know all i really do control is my attitude – some time, no too many times i don’t have the right ‘could’ do attitude…

  2. Cannon Ingalls says:

    My pastor says that phrase a ton. ‘Has anyone ever Should on you? No one likes being Should on.’ Definitely gets his point across, esp. since I do it to myself way too often. Comes from my Religious Right upbringing, and the guilt that goes with it.

  3. Kathy says:

    should’ave, could’ave, would’ave. We always use that as an excuse. Just do it.

  4. It’s both ironic and appropriate that your thoughts and insights occur on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement::

    Yom Kippur is a day on which we regret all our wrongdoings. We ask God to forgive us for all our sins. However, as we read the book of Jonah on Yom Kippur afternoon, we recognize that this day is not just about regretting bad things that we did; it’s also about recognizing the good things that we could have done, but didn’t. For those things, we must also ask forgiveness.

    The book of Jonah is at its core a story about repentance. It begins with God calling to Jonah and directing him to the evil city of Nineveh in order to warn them of upcoming destruction if they did not change their ways. The story concludes with the entire city, one of the most evil places on earth, engaging in repentance. The lesson at the beginning and end of the story is that if the evil people of Nineveh could repent, than so can we.

    However, in between the beginning and end of the book is another story — one that focuses primarily on Jonah and that forms the bulk of the book. This part of the tale isn’t about evil people turning back toward God. Instead, it is about a righteous person running away from God and trying to escape his mission until at last he embraces it.

    You see, on Yom Kippur, it’s not enough to bemoan our past mistakes. We also need to take stock of all our lost opportunities. It’s a time to ask ourselves what our calling is in life and if we are indeed living up to it. By the end of this solemn day, we will have received forgiveness for our mistakes. We have a clean slate; we are starting life anew. The question is: What will we do with it?

    Everyone has some kind of calling — a God-given mission of some sort. But we don’t always fulfill it. We have all kinds of excuses: I’m too old, too young, too prestigious, too poor, too tired, too busy. Jonah had a great excuse. God had asked him to help the archenemies of Israel – the very same nation that had exiled ten out of the 12 tribes. Jonah, out of his love for God’s people, rejected his mission. What Jonah failed to take into account, however, is that when God hands us a mission, it’s not our duty to judge. It’s our job to fulfill it. The good news is that God gives us second chances and it’s never too late to start.

    Some people know what their mission is from a deep place inside. Others have to look around at what’s broken in the world and then assess what tools they have to help fix it. This week, take time to discover your God-given calling – and then answer it!

    Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
    (Excerpted from: http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/answering-the-call)

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