How often do you catch yourself using the phrase “I have to”? Especially during tasks that can make every day feel like Groundhog’s Day, such as going to work, cleaning the kitchen, transporting your kids to and from every activity, sport, etc.?
Before your children obtain their driver’s licenses, you may log so many miles driving them places that you are tempted to get a license plate that reads UBERMOM. Your phone rings at midnight (when you are just dozing off) with the request, “Mom, can you please come pick me up from my sleepover in about 45 minutes so I can just wake up in my own bed?”
Over time, moments like these became my “have to” statements.
I have to take the girls to school.
I have to go back home to get the lunch they forgot.
I have to stay up really late in case they call for a ride.
I don’t even know if I realized how often the words “have to” came up in my vocabulary, but I am certain it became so habitual I wasn’t even aware I was saying it anymore.
All that changed early one Saturday morning when I realized I could NEVER go back to seeing life the same way again. Right in the middle of hitting snooze (with very little joy at all) for an early morning 6th grade girls’ basketball game, I had an EPIPHANY.
It was as if God gently whispered to me in that moment and said:
Do you remember when you had three miscarriages and you were in such physical and emotional pain?
Do you remember when you cried out to me night after night, day after day, because you wanted children and you weren’t sure your body was going to be able to carry a child to term since you kept miscarrying?
Do you remember the tears that turned into prayers when you didn’t know what words to speak anymore?
Yes, of course I remember the pain of longing for something so much yet not knowing if it would actually happen.
And He responded:
Well, that game you have to get up for on an early Saturday morning…
That game is for the child for whom you have prayed.
The child for whom you cried out.
The child you so desired to have that your heart felt like it was going to burst with longing on many days.
That was my EPIPHANY.
This was the child and these were the children for WHOM I HAD PRAYED.
Here I was complaining about getting up early on a Saturday morning to go watch that child FOR WHOM I HAD PRAYED.
And in that very moment, my entire perspective changed. A newfound joy crept into my heart as the alarm went off at 6:15 the next Saturday morning to go watch a game my girls weren’t even crazy about playing.
I found myself saying, “I get to wake up early to go watch my kids play a sport they may never play again,” because these are the children FOR WHOM I HAVE PRAYED.
These were my answered prayers.
Changing the phrase “I have to” to “I get to” for any area of your life is an instantaneous way to change your heart about even the most menial of tasks. It reframes and reminds us that so many of the things we complain about are the very things for which we prayed.