Today at church we had a guest speaker and his entire message lined up so beautifully with what God had been stirring in my heart all week after a hard conversation with a sweet friend.
He was speaking on “performing” and about attempting to impress other people.. he said “If you want to change your body do it because you want to..not for anyone else.”
I couldn’t tell you much else that he said after that because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things I have done to in an attempt to please someone other than myself. It would be quicker if I told you something I did to please me.. write this blog, poor English skills and all.
For the majority of my life people have said things to me like:
“everyone loves you,”
“you fit in and make friends so quickly,”
and my least favorite “you’re a perfectionist.”
It’s funny that when words are being spoken over you it’s hard to remember that there is the power of life and death in the tongue? Having the words “everyone loves you” spoke over you doesn’t sound like a bad thing at all except for the pressure it builds over 28 years leaving you feeling like your world is crumbling if one person doesn’t enjoy your company.
I wish that I could say that I handle people not liking me with grace but I pretty much handle it in the worst way imaginable..first I obsess.. I self-examine…and then I convince myself that I can make them like me and I waste an unimaginable amount of time convincing them into thinking I am someone they should like.. oh good, I was worried that sounded crazy in my head but after writing it out I am absolutely sure it’s nuts… but you’ve done it too. Maybe not to my level of expertise but you have definitely compromised vital parts of you to ensure someone else’s comfort. (probably someone you didn’t even really like in the first place, Lord, help us!)
This starts so early.. I remember the very first time I felt on the outside for thinking differently, I’ll set the scene.. elementary school playground. (already sweating just thinking about how hard I had to work to fit in ALL THE TIME.) At recess the group of kids I was hanging out with decided to play the game where when you don’t want to play with someone you all run away at once when they come near you. (people can be awful.)
The first time I ran with the other kids..and then someone took it too far, they proceeded to say how nasty she was because she had mental disabilities and I felt that lump in your throat before you get sick.. you know the one.
I knew that I couldn’t play anymore and that I was going to have to be different. It only took a few minutes after I walked over to spend time with this girl (who by the way.. didn’t want me to play with her..awkward) before I was on the outside. Everyone decided I too was nasty.. and for the rest of the day no one wanted to hang out with me. I can’t remember how long it lasted but it wasn’t the last time I got kicked to the curb for having a “different” opinion.
Being different was the number one thing I use to pray not to be.. to be honest I wasn’t even sure God could hear me but from the time I was very young my conversations went a lot like “God, I just want to be normal.” I’m not even sure about what I meant by normal.. I just knew that I felt different and I really wanted to fit in.
My parents fought a lot and I hated it.. I wanted a “normal” family.
My birth mom has paranoia schizophrenia and I just couldn’t understand why she was so sick and why God wouldn’t heal her. (I refused to even tell people that I had two moms because I just wanted to be normal.)
I grew up with a brother who battled addiction and who repeatedly lost the battle.
I loved a boy who refused to love me back for over 12 years.. no matter how much I tried to change for him- I thought I could just be someone else forever. (Thank Jesus- Christopher swooped in and showed me real love.)
I hated my body & tortured it with every crash diet I could get my hands on for years-including bulimia because I needed to feel a sense of control after I would lose control and emotionally eat.
It’s been 5 long years and my body still refuses to usher in new life.. I just wanted a normal family.
Sometimes I wonder why I battle this desire for control and then I trace back all the places in my life where I had none and it’s clear to me that I was never going to be “normal” but instead very set apart.
I realize now that my prayer for normalcy fell so short of what God had planned for me.. and for you.. He has something much better in mind.
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
One of my favorite places to be is the beach, I love to get in the ocean and forget that I have a million uncontrollable heartaches this side of Heaven. Several times when the current is strong I have experienced that moment of absolute panic when no matter how hard you try to get back to shore the tide pulls you deeper and you’re just sure this is how you die.
The last time this happened I was on a trip with some friends and as I was nearing exhaustion my friend yelled out over the roaring ocean to “stop fighting it and let wave crash over me.” I wanted so badly to do it my way.. to walk towards the beach and keep my head above water until I looked over at her and without a care in the world she let the wave crash over her and she popped up moments later closer to the shore than I had gotten in what seemed like hours. That has to be the closest imagery that I can give you to what it feels like to spend all of your time ensuring everyone really does love you.
Our guest pastor today said it like this ” Love is meant to be a free gift, performing to get people to love you alters your design.”
People pleasing is performing. also.. it’s exhausting.
There are things in this world that will only get accomplished through your own personal brand of YOU-ness. Those dreams, those words, those passions.. that fire in your belly are directly attached to your purpose. God specifically made you EXACTLY the way you are and He approved of you long before you began seeking approval. There is no need to fight for the scraps of someone else’s affection when the one who hold the world adores all of you.. even the messy parts of you that so desperately want to be made neat.
You can come just as you are friends- and if you want to change something, do it for you-not for approval.
ps. baby mama update: Tomorrow I go back to the clinic for an ultrasound to hopefully determine the day for our second insemination- this week I am praying I remember that feeling like I failed doesn’t change the truth that I am the child of the one who NEVER FAILS.
See ya next week,