Knowing God means loving God and loving His people.
There are many ways to love God’s people. There are many different ways this looks. Missions, service, greeter at church, paying for a friend’s coffee, being a shoulder to cry on…
But there is one very striking aspect of my life that is not loving God’s people – in fact, it is nearly the exact opposite, pleasing them. I struggle with striving to please people. Any and all people. Not necessarily even people close to me. The spoken or unspoken opinion of others weighs higher than the opinions of my children, my family, even my husband, and most significantly God.
One of the most apparent ways this manifests itself is through “play dates.” I am afraid of play dates. They are where my weakness shines brightest. When I was working outside of the home, I often made the blanket statement, “I don’t believe play dates are beneficial for children.” Spouting ideas that they are merely a manufacturing of relationships, for parents to please themselves and feel accomplished, forcing children to play who might not naturally be friends or enjoy themselves. Never mind the fact that I try to meet my friend Liza at least once a week so our boys could play.
The reasons I didn’t like play dates was because of the potential let down. If I invited someone for a play date and they said no, or had to cancel last minute, the reason of course lied in my inability to perform. My house must not be big enough, my food not good enough, my conversation not engaging enough, worse, I applied this thought process to my children as well, not nice enough, friendly enough, and most recently, the gripping fear that people do not like to spend time with us because I have boys and my boys are loud. My boys in particular, too loud for what is apparently socially acceptable.
These are all lies that have stemmed from my lack of confidence in Christ, my overwhelming and crippling desire to please the outside world. Probably the scariest is that last fear, that my boys are too loud. I've internalized this lie and spoken it to myself too many times to count.
As we begin this year, I hope to be able to grow in my ability to love God’s people. And right now, that begins with loving myself and the sons that God has given me.
I attended an online class through The Influence Network, led by Heather Boersma, on the topic of discouragement. She encouraged us to focus, memorize, hold onto a back pocket truth. Until this point, I do not believe I have ever been actively praying and working against my desire to please people. I am so grateful for the way the way the Lord is using Heather.
My back pocket truth: God has chosen me and equipped me for the plan He has for me. Especially parenting my loud boys.
Two verses that I am working on memorizing this year to help bolster my back pocket truth:
[Now may the God of peace...] Equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Do you struggle with pleasing people?
What are your back pocket truths?
How do you love God's people?
Guess what? I want to love you too!
Influence tickets are now on sale! Will you be joining us this year?