The Pastor’s wives at Mountain Lake are no slouchers. They serve our church and community. They give of their time and resources. They pastor the people of our church with their love and counsel. And, they are incredible friends, wives, and mothers. But, you know what? They couldn’t successfully do any of that without filling their own tanks first. That’s one reason I challenge our group to read through various books together each year. We stretch our faith and sharpen our skills as we soak up devotional thoughts, leadership lessons, and best of all, as we share our journey with each other.
Last week, we kicked off our latest book selection, So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. I sent an email to my PW’s with my thoughts for the first chapter, and since insecurity is something every person deals with at some point, I thought I’d share them with my blog friends, too.
In the first chapter, Beth writes, “Are we honestly going to insist on drawing our security from people – men or women – who are oblivious to the inordinate amount of weight we give to their estimation of us? Seriously? Maybe others in our lives are not so clueless. Maybe they revel in the power they hold over us. Either way, are we just going to live our lives hurt and offended? They thought is exhausting. The reality is ultimately debilitating.”
I don’t know about you, but I have always tended to be a people-pleaser. I come from a family of people-pleasers. So, I give a lot of weight to what others think about me. After all, I want to make them happy; to have them like me. I clearly recognized this many years ago when I experienced a permanent fracture in a friendship. I played no part in the demise of the relationship. The break wasn’t due to an offense committed by either of us. The other person simply didn’t like me. End of story. But, the fact that someone didn’t like me did a doozy on me! Everything within me wanted to do something – anything – to make this person like me. To gain their approval. To win their friendship. I was giving such weight to their estimation of me that without their approval I felt defeated. Thankfully, God broke through the haze clouding my thinking. I knew in my head that winning the approval of men and women should never be my goal, but God helped that nugget of Truth sink into my heart. And, let me tell you, there is freedom in releasing my people-pleasing grip on life!
I’ll be honest enough to say that I still want people to like me and that I still innately enjoy making people happy, but I’ve learned (am learning) that my value doesn’t lie in their estimation of me (or my house, or my skills, or my life, or my way of doing things, or my personality, or my….anything!). I certainly don’t thumb my nose at others’ opinions, though. Constructive criticism and wise advice can be invaluable to a successful life. But, allowing those opinions affect how I feel about myself is off-limits for me now.
What about you? Do you sometimes struggle with the “pleasing disease”? If so, let the words of Paul motivate you to change the way you think:
Galatians 1:10 “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.”