balance cairn freedom

Should, Must, Gotta, and Have-To

by Karen Richter

Are you tired? I seem to have a lot of tired friends lately. Whether they are parents, activists, or just in a career building phase (or all three!), I see caring and beloved humans all around me moving from one obligation to another.

“I just gotta…”
“Guess I should…”
“My must-do today is…”
“I’m sorry but I have to…”

This makes me sad because we are not called to a life of Shoulds and Gottas.

But… there’s work to do, right? The world’s a mess and its needs call to us, right? When we pray, asking God to feed the hungry, God says, “I sent you,” right? It’s arrogance to think that the world is depending our our little bit, but at the same time, the world IS DEPENDING ON OUR LITTLE BIT! How do we reconcile this mental anguish and move on?

tree pose
tree pose

I’ve spent my summer doing yoga (now that’s random… just bear with me). I’m struggling with Tree pose; it’s a balancing pose and my balance is pretty crap. My teacher says, “Feel your feet. Hello, feet! Feel two corners in the front of your feet and one corner in the back of your feet.” When I’m a good listening little yogi, I do this and THEN I can raise one foot and lift my arms into Tree. When I try to jump right in, without talking to my feet and feeling my foundation, I wobble like crazy and my Tree pose doesn’t do much.

It’s my humble suggestion to approach our work, especially in social justice, in the same grounding, foundational way. First, we must feel our freedom. Freedom is our birthright, our calling, a gift from God. Freedom is the three corners of our feet.

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Feel your freedom, friends; stand firm. From this foundation, move joyfully into your work.

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