Whenever you feel obligated, you limit your choices. If you pay attention to what you say, you will start noticing your use of three words – should, ought, and must. Those words are an excellent sign that you are turning even good commitments into obligations. For example, your marriage vows are a commitment. Are they a choice or an obligation? Do you have to stay married or want to stay married? How about obedience to God? Do you have to obey God, or do you want to? Do you have to love others, or do you want to?
Obligation de-energizes you – when you no longer see a choice. It makes you complain that you should, ought to, must do it, or have to do it. You “roll your eyes” when you think about it. You do not want to start, so it keeps you busy with other things or keeps you in bed in the morning. You end up reacting and responding instead of choosing.
Obligation removes freedom – when you no longer can see a choice. What is sad is past promises that you made, important ones, can become on obligation. Great goals that you set, can become an obligation. Any free choice that you make can be turned into a “have to do” which is an obligation.
Obligation derails commitments – when you no longer can see a choice. Just like great goals, the commitments you swore to or solemnly chose can become an obligation. Your former “want to” has now become a “have to” which blocks any sense of choice that you have. Then to make it worse, the commitment turned obligation is now used to manipulate ourselves into compliance.