I'm not as brave or as strong as anyone thinks I am. Yes, I often choose hard. And I've endured a fair share of crap in my life. And I try to carry myself well, live worthy of my suffering, and make wise choices.

But most of that isn't because I'm brave.

It's because I'm driven by shoulds.

I've always done what I should do. As a child, a student, a missionary, a wife, a leader. Even now, I'm making choices because they are the right thing to do. It's the should factor that got me to attend the new members class at church. It's the should factor that made me sign up for a small group. It's the should factor that keeps forcing me into awkward situations. And I hate awkward.

For the most part, the shoulds always pay off. They're supposed to anyway. In the long run, I'm usually glad when I finally get to the end result of all the shoulds. When I look back over my shoulder at my path from should to should, I'm typically glad I walked that road.

But I feel a tinge of guilt and shame when I'm applauded for my bravery. For my strength. For my resolve. Because deep down I know the truth, that it wasn't any of those things. It was just the shoulds.

Maybe that's okay. Maybe I should be okay with that being okay. Sigh.

I guess I shouldn't mind if the shoulds are what give me the initial kick in the pants. Maybe it shouldn't matter what my motivation is at the start, as long as I learn through the journey and make it to the finish line.

I don't know.

I just know that right now I don't feel brave. Or strong. Or resolute. But I'll face what comes today simply because I should.

And hopefully that will be enough.