When I was single I thought I was a pretty selfless person. Then I got married…and I realized how selfish I was.
Just when I began to think I was selfless again…I became a mother. And I realized just how selfish I really was…again!
A simple quick trip to the grocery store just doesn’t happen anymore when you have children of the ages 5 and 7 like my boys…well unless they stay home!
When you are married and especially when you have young children, your time is no longer your own. You can’t just easily jump in the car and meet a friend for coffee or get together with girlfriends for dinner.
You have to plan ahead and many times I find myself having to give my regrets saying something like… “I am sorry I can’t make it because I have to watch my boys that night.”
Not too long ago I read an article that really challenged my attitude and changed my perspective…not just about being a wife and mother but about living my life differently.
And it all stemmed from 3 words… “I have to…”
Now think about it…How often do you say these 3 words?
I have to work…
I have to wake up…
I have to make dinner…
I have to workout…
I have to watch my kids…
I am sure the list can go on and on and on…right?
The words “I have to” tend to create the attitude that what we “have to” do is a burden. But…
What if we don’t have to…but we get to?!
It’s a burden when you have to… but… It’s a blessing when you get to.
You see… the words “have to” conveys a negative attitude. It demonstrates feelings of weightiness, tiredness, being dragged down…more like an obligation. I HAVE to…
The words “get to” conveys a positive attitude. It demonstrates feelings of enthusiasm, excitement, joy…more like anticipation. I GET to…
Think of it like a child going to Disneyland. I can guarantee you that no child will say… “Mommy do I have to go to Disneyland?”
They are more than likely so enthusiastic and restless in anticipation that they shout with excitement… “I get to go to Disneyland!” And it truly is a blessing when you get to go to Disneyland…right? I know…I know a blessing for the kids…but we are talking about changing our attitudes and perspectives right?
A great biblical example of this attitude is seen in the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. To summarize…
Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi. When both of their husbands died in battle, Naomi planned to return to Israel from Moab and encouraged Ruth and her sister-in-law Orpah to return to their mothers’ families. Orpah chose to go back to Moab but Ruth instead answered…
“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17NIV
Ruth had a choice…She didn’t have to go to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi but she got to go with her and because of her decision and her attitude…God truly blessed her. God allowed Ruth to remarry and give birth to a son named Obed who became grandfather to King David. Yes! The King David who is in the same lineage as our very own Jesus!
And because of the decision we made in accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior…we don’t have to be a Christian. We get to be a Christian!
What a privilege and honor to be a child of God and get to follow Him!
Do you view your relationship with Jesus as a burden? Even sometimes? Or do you view it as a blessing?
How is your attitude when it comes to pleasing Him and setting time aside to spend with Him? Does it feel like an obligation or an anticipation?
This is where the line gets drawn between having to follow rules and regulations…and getting to enjoy a relationship with Jesus. This is where the line gets drawn between legalism…and love.
Why is this simple change in words so important?
When we begin to change the words we use…our attitudes will change. And when we begin to change our attitudes… our perspective will change. Then our eyes will be more open to see more blessings in our lives…rather than burdens.
It’s a burden when we have to… It’s a blessing when we get to.
We don’t have to pray to God…but we get to pray. What a blessing to communicate freely with God Our Savior!
When you call out to me and come and pray to me, I’ll hear you. Jeremiah 29:12 ISV
We don’t have to study the Bible…but we get to study the Bible. What a blessing to get to know our Creator!
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 NLT
We don’t have to set time aside…but we get to set time aside to spend with our Lord. What a blessing to spend time learning and growing in our faith!
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 NLT
We don’t have to go the church…but we get to go to church. What a blessing to get together and be encouraged weekly with other Christians.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT
We don’t have to give…but we get to give to God. What a blessing to sow into God’s Kingdom financially and impact others’ lives for Him!
Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift.] 2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10 NIV
Changing our words…changes our attitude. Changing our attitude…changes our perspective.
I don’t have to go to work…I get to go to work. What a blessing to have a job when there are many who don’t.
I don’t have to work out…I get to work out. What a blessing to be able to exercise when there are many who are physically unable.
And with my new perspective…I no longer have to watch my boys…I get to watch my boys! What a blessing that these little guys have been entrusted to my care and I get to spend time with them before they grow up and prefer to hang out with their friends…rather than their mommy.
Changing our words is certainly not easy but remember we don’t have to do it with our own strength…we get to do with God’s strength!
Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1John 4:4 NASB
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
- How often do you say “I have to…”?
- Do you see how these 3 words convey a negative attitude in comparison to “I get to…”?
- Do you view your relationship with Jesus as a burden? Even sometimes? Or do you view it as a blessing?
- How is your attitude when it comes to pleasing Him and setting time aside to spend with Him? Does it feel like an obligation or an anticipation?
- We all may say that we “have to” do something out of habit and really not thinking about the specific weight that these words may carry. However, the words “have to” conveys a negative attitude. It demonstrates feelings of weightiness, tiredness, being dragged down…more like an obligation. If we replace “have to” with the words “get to” we can see that it conveys a positive attitude. It demonstrates feelings of enthusiasm, excitement, joy…more like anticipation.
- Many times Christians know it’s a blessing to have a relationship with Jesus but can sometimes feel burdened by legalism. When our relationship is filled with the attitude of following a bunch of rules and regulations, it can become a burden. We can begin to have feelings of guilt and shame and condemnation.(Romans 8:1) As Christians we should be obedient to God and His Word but it should be out of love and a desire to please our Father…not out of duty or obligation. And then we will be encouraged to see the blessings from our faithfulness.
- Changing our words is certainly not easy but remember we don’t have to do it in our own strength…we get to do with God’s strength! Pray and ask God to help you be disciplined with your tongue because there is so much power…positive and negative…in your words. (Proverbs 18:21) The more time you spend with Jesus…learning and growing…the more you fall in love with Him and be blessed to get to spend time with Him. And the less you will feel burdened and obligated that you have to spend time with Him!