For the next several Monday’s I’ll be reflecting on thoughts stirred by reading Mary DeMuth’s upcoming book,Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus.
Calling All People Pleasers
Of course it would happen that I read chapters three and four in this particular moment of life. In the last month I’ve been struggling to hold on to the various hard-won truths God has been teaching me. As is typical after a spiritual victory, the thief is eager to slip in and rattle my cage again.
Chapter three, entitled, Discern The Vow Factor called to mind some issues that have been bubbling up within me for a couple of weeks (or more) but I had been stuffing them back down. Following that chapter four, Let Go Of the Giants, hammered the point home, reiterating the truth I know in my head but fail to live under sometimes: Seek only God’s approval. Period. <sigh>
It’s no secret how I’ve wrestled with cementing my sense of self-worth. I’m a people pleaser by nature and as a result of that it’s far too easy to lose my sense of direction and value in my quest to put smiles on the faces of others.
Who doesn’t want to be liked? Who doesn’t want to hear they have preformed well? The problem is, as a people pleaser, I’m also saddled by the propensity to do more more more! Mary says, “Life is a series of promises we break or make to ourselves”–and I know, for me, this is painfully true.
It is impossible for us to succeed at everything, and when we make these relentless vows and then subsequently break them, the feeling of failure sits on our chests and suffocates us, while simultaneously draining us of our value as people. Or maybe this only happens to me….
I hadn’t considered that all my vowing is really a veiled grab for control. Ouch.
As a christian, isn’t my life supposed to be surrendered unto Jesus? I’m not postured for surrender when I’m making promises to do this, that, and the other thing, on my own.
“A vow is something we think in our own strength. It’s internal determination to fix our lives without God’s help” Everything, Mary DeMuth
This is precisely the struggle I keep falling into.
If I really lived with Jesus as my everything, I could stop making these foolish promises under my own strength and rest securely in the reality that apart from Him, failure is inevitable.
I’ve lived my entire life tripping over my bootstraps, while struggling to keep them on, for the approval of others.
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