Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Do You Aim to Please?

Scripture Art used by permission from RandysDesign
We all want approval. For some of us, striving for approval takes a wrong turn.

My Dad was hard to please. He had strict rules that carried dire consequences if not followed, however, he didn't always let you know what those rules were before you broke them. At any given moment, you might find yourself on the hurtin' side of a backhand or belt, wondering what you'd done. Sometimes he'd tell you and sometimes you were left to figure it out for yourself. A lot of that depended on how long he'd stayed at the bar after work.

Don't get me wrong. I love my Dad. He's passed on, now, but before he died, he had changed. He pretty much stopped drinking and stopped being mean, but the residual effects of growing up that way left me with a strong desire to anticipate the moods and needs of others so that I could adjust my behavior and choose my words carefully in order to please them. This was especially true of male employers. I'd totally stress myself out trying to make sure they were happy with my work and at the same time worry myself sick that they weren't. This "aim to please" spilled over into my personal relationships with men, too, but I'm not going to go into details about that.

Unfortunately, this also affected my relationship with God. I've spent the better part of 35+ years trying to please God and at the same time, telling myself that I don't have to earn God's approval. He loves me just the way I am.  I am just now, at 62 years old, beginning to understand that God is pleased with me, not because of what I do or don't do, but because I have given Him my whole heart. He's pleased that I love His Son, Jesus Christ and that I have surrendered my heart and life to Him. He's pleased that I love His people - all His people, not just Believers, not just good people, but those people that are hard to love, because it's not my love that flows through me to them, it's His love. I am just a conduit.

What a joy it is to know that one day I will stand before the Lord and hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  Not because I've earned His approval, but because His incredible love made a way for me to be His beloved daughter.

Parents, let's make sure that our behavior doesn't set our children up for unhealthy relationships in their future. Most especially, their relationship with God.

4 comments:

  1. Oh Jan, I love this. I think so many people grow up trying to conform and please - in my case due to overly critical parents - and that transfers throughout our lives in many relationships. It's a long road to grow comfortable and content in the lap of our Heavenly Father, but when we reach that stage, oh what JOY! Thank you for what must have been a difficult post.
    XO,
    Felecia

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  2. Thank you so much, Felecia. I'm comfortable being transparent about my life, but I hesitate sometimes because revealing what I've been through sometimes puts others in a bad light. I don't want to hurt anyone, but I do believe that God uses difficulties in our lives to teach us and to encourage other. Sometimes we just need to know that we're not alone in the things we go through, but that others have faced the same thing and that God has brought them through it. Thanks for dropping by and for leaving a comment. I love to hear from others.

    Hugs,
    Jan

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  3. Wow..how profound!!..It is comforting to know that we please Him just the way we are.

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  4. Yes, it is - and I have to remind myself of that often, because I tend to be too self-judgmental. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. :)

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