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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Avoiding the Shoulds

Updated on March 6, 2016

Just another Water Buffalo

This massive beast of burden also gets time to just chill out.
This massive beast of burden also gets time to just chill out. | Source

Getting wrapped up or not.

Sometimes I get wrapped up in the human world around me. During this time it is normal to pay some attention to politics if you live where I live. And I like to check up on news from the world around me. I must admit I do not watch the news on TV. It just seems weird to me. It looks like entertainment instead of news. No thank you. It is not entertaining to me. But I get wrapped up in stuff all the same.

But most of the time. I am not wrapped up in the news. Most of the time like just now I go outside as it is just breaking dawn and I try to recognize the 10 or so different bird sounds I can identify. It is a very low cloud morning as our El Nino overcast is starting to take hold. Hallelujah we will get rain in this coastal desert in a day or so, you can just tell, without even watching the sexy weather lady on TV. What is up with that anyway? I was at a friend’s house just the other day and he had the news on on his huge TV and right there in his living room was a gorgeous gal smiling as she pointed at a map. My goodness she was dressed like those actresses on Oscar night. I felt guilty just looking at it.

Anyway reading a book to a youngster and picking out weeds you don’t want and pulling them and then maybe planting something and maybe painting something takes up a lot of “spare” time and so that is what I do with my extra little space in time. I am not a recluse, I just spend my time like one – and that makes no sense, or maybe it does. Now do not get me wrong here, I have a bunch of friends that I see often. I mean hugging type friends. Of course not with the manly man friends. I reckon you just get to a certain age and you get a feeling for what wastes your time and what is meaningful. A proper tomato or a proper carrot are proper to me.

Taking time to smell the roses

Sometimes it takes earnest effort to slow it down.
Sometimes it takes earnest effort to slow it down. | Source

Make a living

Dividing the duties

For some reason when I am wrapped up in the affairs of man. I distance myself from peace and serenity and closeness to God. I do not mean when I sit one on one with a friend or loved one and listen to their story or thoughts. I mean when I get caught up in the worldly affairs of man. The massive world at large. Politics and sports come to mind but just news of the international or national affairs can pull one in and away. And of course “the news” seems to love to focus on tragedies and violence and that news is disturbing.

But one cannot live a completely cloistered life in the normal spectrum of things. So I wonder how we turn the switch on long enough to be informed yet be able to switch it off in order to be healthy happy well-adjusted beings. Of course if someone is just obsessed with “news” of any sort that is a problem that they need to consider doing something about, quickly. And the opposite is true, someone who becomes obsessed with avoiding any knowledge of what is going on in the world need to consider doing something about that quickly.

It is strange. I feel like I am ready to vote in a primary. I think I know the bent of the candidates. But I only know that the republican candidates got into a spat but I don’t care exactly what was said. I expect them to get into spats because after all they really are running against each other. Of course there always is that nagging thought that I could do better. Funny isn’t it. Did you know that the concepts within the liberal and conservative movements are well represented? Between the five major candidates they go across the whole spectrum. Isn’t that cool, here in the US we really have choices. But that is as far as I can go down that rabbit hole. I cannot listen or watch it too closely as it is tiresome and just the thought waves removes me from peace and harmony.

On the right road in life

Take the time to walk down to the creek and soak your feet.
Take the time to walk down to the creek and soak your feet. | Source

Know when to....

Make time to play

So isn’t it interesting that to be good citizens and people we have to strike a balance. Be informed but be holistic in life. How do we do that? In specifics I haven’t a clue. In the broad view I have some thoughts. We have this great guide post from Jesus. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’.” That was made in relationship to taxes and our duty to pay them as part of a civil society. But it clearly goes deeper. I render unto God my meditation, study, prayer and love. I don’t just pay my taxes I engage in doing a duty to being a good citizen. But I do not owe my government more than that. If I see a horrible thing going down, it is my duty to act to stop it. I see my government doing something very wrong it is my duty to protest against it. If my sidewalk of life is dirty I must clean it. Those are duties of a citizen. And one of the most important duties of a citizen is to vote with a learned mind. But it stops there. I have no duty to watch the hype and craziness that goes along with a mass media fed campaign.

Now back to leading that balanced holistic life. I like talking to my buddies. But some are fanatical about politics and some are fanatical about sports and still others about national and international affairs. When talking with them I learn some things. But I also here a whole bunch of “shoulds”. Interesting but not how I lead my life. I should do what my boss says, except on rare occasions. I should take out the garbage at the right time. I should listen to my wife. I should pay attention to my children. And I should take care of myself so that I may be of service and not a burden to others. But should I sit around and decide what others should do? Maybe that is where the rubber hits the road.

If I do not need to decide what others should do then I do not need to obsessive compulsively have to follow what they do. I can examine what they do. And I can make decisions for myself based on that. Please Lord make it enough that I do not need to tell the world what to do.

This is not about children so much as life. I have a small one who is in school stuff for 8 hours a day. And we have time for reading and some writing and some math at home. But he darned well needs some time doing nothing. It is hard as a parent to just let him do nothing. But boyo it is my job. “Son just play”. What just a couple of hours a day just to play? I am sorry but it is not a suggestion around here it is a mandate. I direct you to have a few hours of play time a day. That is an order. And no, watching the “news” is not included in that play time.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence I am glad this sermon touched you in a good way. Thank you for coming by.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thank you for the reminder that there's a time for everything and the real secret is to keep things in balance!

      Something I need to be reminded of a lot at times.


    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Frank. I hope life is looking good for you like it is around here. I surely do enjoy writing these sermons. And it makes me feel really good that friends like you enjoy sharing them with me.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      2 years ago from Shelton

      Eric your sermons still play me like a deck of cards.. they help me from avoiding the shoulds... Like that title...LOL.. I look forward to your Sunday sermons anytime during the week.. keep them coming my good friend :)

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What a wonderful comment Linda. I hope you are doing well. There is a certain gentleness we have to allow ourselves as we sometimes struggle to find the "right" balance. We may not get right sometimes so we just have to adjust a little here and a little there. You clearly have it the mark.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, it's all about finding the perfect balance, but what is that? What you need for balance in your life is probably not identical to what I need in mine. Each of our lives are made up of components that are worthy of our attention and love--our children, spouses, jobs well done, our relationship with God.

      You have a little person in your household who depends on you for guidance and direction, and I'm pretty sure you've got that one down in spades. I have a disabled daughter who needs my daily support. She amazes me in many ways. You and I have friends who might not have children, but perhaps they are care-givers to their parents, a friend or neighbor, or they dedicate a portion of their lives to volunteer work. All worthy of their attention.

      Time spent on oneself is important--my garden, my artwork and my cooking all bring me a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. The problem is finding, again, that balance. How much time for "me" is too much?

      Spending vast amount of time on anything other than those you love (and that includes yourself) seems almost silly to me. I don't understand those who spend hours gaming, or watching sports on TV, or plunging down the rabbit hole of political debate.

      Our politicians are making it difficult for us to be inform citizens but avoid negativity (which none of us need). If only they would concentrate on ideas and plans and solutions instead of bashing each other and name-calling.

      I think Philippians 4:8 sums it up pretty well--"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well said Denise, we are on the same page. If I cannot say "I want to" then I would be well advised to have another look.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I, too, do not care to watch the media circus that political campaigning has ended up being. In fact, I rarely watch the news. Once in a while, I will listen on the radio, just to keep abreast of what is happening in the world. Otherwise, I try to stay away from it. I find it very depressing to hear of all the bad things that are happening in the world. Nevertheless, like you, I steer clear of "shoulds" as all they do is give me a guilt trip. I prefer to use the term, "I want to" instead. That way, I have a choice in the matter, and am able to weigh my options carefully.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Devika, we need some hope so thank you for that also.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and I hope the best for the USA.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much CrisSp. And thank you for your warm welcome and invitation. You never know.

    • CrisSp profile image


      2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      All I can say is...Amen to this and good luck to all my friends in the States. May you choose and vote wisely in the coming election.

      And , if God forbid, the "foolest of your foolest" candidates win, know that we'd be more than happy to welcome you here up north, where diversity and immigration is never an issue at all. :)

      Love from the sky~

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed, I am feeling my age today, soccer is wearing me out. There is a delicate balance for my young son. Enough electronics to keep him "competitive". Someone once told me that teaching a child to play (all kinds) of ball just got them into that mode. Just enough team sports, just enough solo activity, just enough hanging with nature, just enough electronics and just enough free play. Then you throw in reading, writing and arithmetic and if you have time to feed and bathe them you are kicking some butt.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I agree wholeheartedly. I am sick of the news. If they ever report a happy event I am elated! Another good one....Thank you.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana, we practice what I call "fine tuning". Too much of this, leads to too much of that. So we shoot for someplace down the middle.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ms Dora, this kind of life might seem a bit boring. I can live with that. Life has a way of spicing it up no matter.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Good for you Shaloo, there are plenty of other sources for staying informed in a less negative fashion.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      AS always , wise ,wise advice . Excellent in fact . If I were a new dad I would sacrifice the TV to the recycling center . The cell phones , the entire electronic world in fact . But hey , I AM a recluse !LOL.......Good job buddy !

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      Excellent Sermon. I happen to agree with MsDora, it seems as if you enjoy a well balanced life. I love your attitude about life and people in general. Stay blessed and keep these sermons coming.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, seems like you enjoy a well balanced some-o'this and some-o-that life. Love your attitude. Best to you and family!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      2 years ago from India

      I have totally stopped watching news on television. The news is all full of negativity. Media hardly focuses on anything positive.

      Very valuable advice in this hub!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Look at you Faith, you just go ahead and catch yourself. How great is that? We don't do no perfection around here but we try and that is a bottom line.

      We have a cold and rainy day here. Marvelous for us desert rats. So we will just play inside here today. Chess, marbles or Jigsaws with hot cocoa and tomato soup and melted cheese sandwiches. Have a great Sunday!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      2 years ago from southern USA

      Dear Eric, boyo how I can relate to your wise words here. I have enough of my own should of's to not be concerned about what others should be doing! I can't stand watching the news for reasons you state but I try to only keep up with wharpt is most important in mind. Play time is necessary each day in this life to live a balanced and healthy life for both child and adults. It hurts my heart when I know of a child who is not allowed enough time to just play because of being involved in so many other activities which seem to be so important in the parent's minds. Oops ... There goes that ...they should do ... I hope you and your precious family are enjoying a peaceful Sunday

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Happy Sunday to you and yours Bill. I cannot imagine how much of life I would miss if I watched an hour of news a day. Interesting to think about.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I can think of a handful of politicians who could benefit from this sermon. I limit my news watching because, well, I have a life to live and not that much time remaining to waste. :) Happy Sunday, Eric!


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