I really hate to admit it, but I like to please people. Love saying “yes” (at least when the person is looking at me). Hate saying “no.” Want everyone to be happy every moment of the day.
Which reminds me of a toy based on Inside Out that my son found during Christmas shopping. While I searched in the piles of toys, he kept pushing one button over and over, which resulted in Joy’s super cheery voice blasting out,
“All right everyone, fresh start! We’re gonna have a good day, which will turn into a good week, which will turn into a good year, which will turn into a good life!”
By the end of 20 minutes, I could have smashed that toy to smithereens. Except for the fact that I was eternally grateful that my 3 year old had been so happily entertained.
But as the characters of Inside Out find out, “happiness” does not equal a well-lived life. And trying to make everyone happy certainly doesn’t.
I recently read a homeschool mom blogger who lamented the difficulty of planning a breathtaking lesson for her kids who, shall we say, were rather under-whelmed (When your audience doesn’t applaud). And I could really relate. How many times have I got all excited about doing something for my family — let’s say a cool dinner or a fun outing — only to be deflated by their lack of enthusiasm.
I realize this experience is not unique to moms.
We plan something at work. We put our heart into it, and “put ourselves out there” in vulnerability. Or maybe it’s at church. Or for a team sport. We secretly yearn for someone to notice. To comment, or rather compliment. To have their breath taken away by our contribution.
And then when the expectation remains unfulfilled, or even worse, our contribution is insulted or said to be inadequate, we find ourselves spiraling downward.
This mommy blogger mentioned three things to help us stay on track. Humility. Being realistic. And remembering that God is our true audience.
As the Bible says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
For me, it’s a good reality check. If I’m all bent out of shape about how people are (or aren’t) responding to what I’ve done or who I am, then my focus is all out of whack. My trust is misplaced. I’m being choked by a snare.
This year, I want to trust the Lord. No firmer foundation. No stronger love. And if you fear God and hope in His love, I’ve got it in writing that He will be pleased.
Here it is: “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 147:11)