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Do I Really Have to Do That?

Updated: Nov 6, 2019

Everything in life is a choice, and how we approach these choices is based on our attitude. Either our attitude is an attitude of “want to” or “have to." I know when I feel I have to do something there is not a lot of motivation or incentive to do it. Whenever I feel like I have to do something, I resist it. Just like a physical push, if someone starts pushing on you, what is your natural reaction? To push back. This is how most people live their lives. “I have to go to work.” “I have to go to this party.” “I have to exercise.” “I have to go to church.” Guess what? You don’t have to do anything. Yep, I said it. You don’t have to do anything. You can do anything you want in life—as long as you’re prepared to accept the consequences. You can choose to not exercise, you can choose not to go to work, you can choose to break the law. These are not the best choices, but they are still choices.

Emma Matthews - Unsplash

“I have to” means I am not my own person. Someone else is controlling me. In “have to” situations you are constantly telling yourself, “I’ll do it, but if it was up to me, I’d rather be doing something else!” Most people conduct their life on a “have to” basis. Notice when you do, you give up accountability for your life. Many of these “have to’s” were instilled in us by parents, coaches, and teachers. “You better go to church...or else.” “You drop that ball one more time...50 push-ups!” “You better study for this test...or you’re not going to pass this class!” Notice where the “have to’s” come from: fear-driven motivation. “Do it, or something bad will happen.” As Christians, this is not what we are supposed to be motivated by nor are we to motivate others this way. I’ve noticed when I want to do something nobody has to pressure me, scare me, or threaten me to do it. Why? Because I have a positive expectancy in the outcome. I’m living my life based on what is best for me rather than fearing disaster or pain.

Turn the "have to" into a "want to." Put your life on a "want to" basis. You will not exercise until you have a strong want to. What good thing can you see as a result of exercise? You will not get out of debt until there is a strong want to reason. What will your life look like when you don’t owe a dime? Then and only then will the energy, passion, and drive come to your aid and get you out of bed to go to the gym. To help you resist the temptation to shop at your favorite store. And help you make the decisions that nobody had to twist your arm to make. You chose because they are the right choices. The choices that will benefit your life.

The most successful people I know and many successful lives I have read about accept the consequences of their choices. They do not blame others for what they could or could not do. They are responsible, accountable people. So let’s choose to be responsible for our lives. Nobody is controlling us. Let’s take complete accountability. If there is something in your life you just don’t want to do you have two choices, stop doing what you are doing or change your attitude. Life is way too short to spend most of it feeling manipulated and coerced. When you choose to live a “want to” life you will find freedom. Freedom found only in a life led by faith and joyful expectancy.

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