For years, I lived a shoulda, coulda, woulda life. “I shoulda done that but didn’t…I coulda done that but made some bad choices…If it hadn’t been for another person or some disruptive event, I woulda done that!” I felt that I had accomplished way below my abilities. This mentality did me not one bit of good. You know what the problem was? Should, coulda, woulda living is focused on the past which produces guilt, depression and frustration. As I finally did, throw this stuff off! The past is the past. Now, get on living Focus on the future living each day for the glory of God not yourselves. Hebrews 12:1&2 refocused me and changed my life, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Matthew 6:27 gave me a kick in the backside, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Get over it, Rick Evatt, stop worrying about what you didn’t achieve, and refocus on Jesus. He is saying the same to you.
Paul the apostle states in his candid way that there is no place in the kingdom for shoulda, coulda, woulda living. Philippians 3:13&14, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Stop the shoulda, coulda, woulda mentality and “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
You may think that you are too old, way past your prime and usefulness for God, or caught up in your own world and feel you cannot get out of your own personal baggage. That was my mentality until a dear brother, Jerry Reeves, guided me at the age of 50 to refocus and clean up my life using whatever is left of it “fixing my eyes on Jesus.” There is an amazing passage in Matthew 20:1-16 that challenges you to live the remainder of your life focused on him even if you are way late entering His work. It’s a bit long but well worth the read, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning, he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So, they went. He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon, he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing? Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So, when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ ‘So, the last will be first, and the first will be last.’”
Jesus gives us no excuses. No matter the stage of your life or the baggage you are carrying, throw off the shoulda, coulda, woulda and fix your eyes on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith”. There will be great rewards in heaven if you do!