Series: The Breadcrumb Trail
It seems like every time I turn around, I’m having another conversation with a woman regarding how chaotic life is. How much there is to do, volunteer for, achieve, the projects left to finish, to start, to help with—this list goes on. I remember when this was me. When I was knee deep in all my “yeses” and the word “no” rarely formed on my lips. I found myself in a sea of roaring waves threatening to drown me, and all the while I held the oxygen mask that could have rescued me. For far too long, I traded a peaceful soul for a frantic existence that would be the end of me if something didn’t change quick. Hi, my name is Jen and I am a recovering Yes Girl.
Here is an example of what this looked like for me: I would make my long lists of “to-dos” (some of which were expectations I thought others had of me) and often, I would accomplish few. Then feelings of guilt would enter and I would feel bad because I wasn’t more productive or I might let someone down. It was as if I had a mission to not only accomplish the impossible, but also earn the approval of those around me. As some of you have figured out, you cannot please everyone, but you can exhaust yourself striving for this. The casualties of this ‘people pleasing’ war, are usually those closest to you. Fortunately, you have a Savior who loves you too much to leave you stranded here.
This may sound cliche’, but my road to true recovery began when I opened my Bible. I am grateful for the truth found in scripture, the mentoring of Godly women, and the grace given to me by those who were most affected by my unfortunate absence. And in the moments I feel myself falling back into that unhealthy place, I remind myself of God’s beautiful deliverance of me and what His word says in Galatians 1:10 (NIV):
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
You and I were not created to glorify man, or to over commit ourselves to please others. We were created to glorify God in all we do. When we focus on what pleases God, our lives reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. In honoring Him, our motives shift from selfish ambitions to giving God credit for using the abilities He has given us to bless others! Releasing the desire to please people frees us from the bonds of others’ expectations, but also brings us a peaceful soul, a promise that we are protected, loved, and cherished by a God who never forgets our name!
I never want to back-slide into the “yes girl” mentality, so I have purposefully set up these scriptures in my heart as my “stones of remembrance”—(or breadcrumbs). In the chance that I slip, I will call upon the Lord in my time of need:
But from there, you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 (HCSB)
On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV)
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber; Psalm 121: 1-3 (NIV)
In our humanness, we make mistakes, but God is gentle to lift our head and remind us of this truth and where our aim should be from Ephesians 2:10 (NLT):
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Jeremiah 29: 13; Galatians 1:10, 5:22; Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Psalm 121:1-3; Ephesians 2:10