I have to admit one of my greatest struggles has been this business of being myself.
Affirmation was in short supply in the home I grew up in, and that created (at least in me) a very unhealthy dynamic. I learned early on that if I could discover what someone expected from me, and deliver on that expectation, I could easily recieve the acceptance and love I hungered for. The problem wasn’t in finding out what people wanted. I became very adept at that. No, my problem soon became deciding what to do, or how to react, when someone else’s expectations conflicted with my own expectations for myself and what I knew in my heart was the “right thing” for me. I’m sorry to admit this, but too often, my desire to please someone I deeply cared for, won out over my own sense of what may, or may not, have been right for me.
Pop psychologists call this “people-pleasing” as though it were some terrible dread disease. Personally, I don’t think it is wrong in all instances, when we are faced with a choice, to choose to please someone else rather than ourselves. People who consistantly choose to please no one BUT themselves, soon earn the title of selfish, and rightly so since self comes first in each of their choices.
Finding the balance. There’s been the challenge! Knowing when to say, “When!”
Learning to do this has been a real uphill battle for me, but I should add, a very necessary one. The bible is quick to admonish us to think of others before ourselves. To serve rather than be served. Jesus Himself modeled this for His followers. Laying aside His Rabbi’s robes, He picked up a towel, and bending down, He washed His disciples feet. He took the place of the lowest servant in the house. He was wanting to give all of us a “word picture” that we would need to remember. One of willing servanthood.
Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to be the guy getting your feet washed, than being the guy with the basin and towel. We all like it when people seek to please us rather than expecting us to please them. So when is it right to please others? And, when is it right to please ourselves, because let’s face it, sometimes our foot-washing and people-pleasing, can get way out of balance in our relationships.
When is it time, and I might add healthy to say, “when”?
This can require some real, deep down, soul-searching.
There are times in our relationships (I believe) when it is entirely necessary and appropriate to stand up, and be true to yourself, and say, “Not this time.” To be yourself should be a freedom that is granted in every loving and healthy relationship.
Sometimes our no is more loving than our yes. When we our not free to say no?
Perhaps we’ve unconciously exchanged our servanthood for a doormat.
We’re not going to do this the way it’s always been done.
I want you to listen to Me. We are partners, you and I. You will not have to break down doors. You will not have to be clever, or glib, or false. We haven’t come all this way to get bogged down in that nonsense.
I want you to be yourself.
You are the only you I’ve made. People, even well meaning people, will try to convince you that “being you” won’t work.
Forget them. Hold your ground. (In peace.) Listen to their ideas, but bring everything to Me. We will decide together how to proceed.
(This is a true partnership.)
Remember always sow good seed, in good ground. Give to others and give generously. Credit. Wisdom. Love. (Above all love.) I will multiply it in My own time and My own way.
Do not say “Yes.” to eveything. Sort through the good, get down to the best, then choose the excellent! (I’ll help.) There is only one you. Remember you are finite in strength. Use what you have wisely. I will always provide what you need, so don’t be afraid to give much away.
Have I not promised to give you much so that you may give much away?
Always be generous, then you shall always have what you need.
Strive to keep your life simple. (I have given you clear direction on this matter.) You know what to do. Just do it.
I bless you child. Now go, and bless others.
“I will guard and support you…” Isaiah 42:6