Confession: I want to make you happy because I like you. I also want to make you happy so you’ll like me.
Even deeper truth: I don’t even have to really like you, but I do want you to really like me.
When you are not happy with me, I’ve failed.
A middle child through and through, I lean towards being a natural-born people-pleaser. I also work hard at accomplishing just that – doing things to make people happy and keep peace.
Yet, this past week had me failing (tangibly and intangibly) to live up to several expectations from people who wanted more from me and expectations that I had of myself.
Failure after failure. Feelings of failure had become SO evident that, while driving to a meeting, I was fighting back tears and even had the urge to turn around, go back home, and tell everyone that I was done, that I could not do it, and that there are others that are better suited for the job.
The juxtaposition of who I actually am and who I desperately want to be, do not line up. I have had to face myself in the mirror this past week and own up to my failures.
I have also had to acknowledge the fact that not only have I failed someone, but I actually did do wrong. Whether their hope in me was correct or not, there are things that I should have done better and even could be doing better now.
However, the sadness of what was… overshadows what could be.
Disappointing people is painful. Not being able to make people happy and actually being a source of anger for them, has me wanting to hide.
Realistically, I know I can only please one person a day and today is not your day. Tomorrow ain’t lookin’ so good either.
My job is not to make you happy.
Theoretically, I want to defy the odds and make everyone feel as though they have just been sprinkled with fairy dust.
When theory meets reality and that reality is that I have upset you, it stings.
I wanted to do better. I want to be better. But I’m just not.
While even simply typing that hurts me, I also realize that my hope cannot be in what others think of me. Seeking after someone’s approval will make even the most sane, most put-together, most confident person, go crazy.
From a biblical and Scriptural standpoint, my works or deeds have no bearing on my salvation. Rather, because of the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross, I have been approved. And not only have I received full approval, but I’m also delighted in.
This delight is not based upon how many people I please every day, but rather on the works done for me in my place.
In my multitude of weaknesses, he is strong, and more often than not, his shining strength grace to a wretch like me.
Living for an audience of one can be both freeing and difficult:
Freeing because you are no longer living to please others and seek their approval.
But difficult because most of the time, you do not get to explain or justify the “why” of what was done (a very good lesson, I’m told, for those in church leadership) or any of your thoughts and feelings. All you have left is just to trust in Jesus, who knows your heart, even if others don’t.
So, dear sojourner, if you are feeling the sting of letting others down, take heart. There is only One who will never disappoint, who is always faithful, who is always patient, who is always kind.
Kill the expectation of being everything to everyone and fix your eyes upon the One who can be.
– Laurel Ewing, Women’s Ministry Director