I live in a perpetual state of trying to please the people God has put in my life. Most times, I think this desire ends with decent results. But recently I have noticed that being 100% focused on pleasing others has clouded my vision. I got so spun up in pleasing that I neglected the loving.
I think leaving my job has been a perfect example of this. I spent six years pleasing. Always responding, going above and beyond what was asked of me, trying and trying and trying and trying. Always assuming that my trying would translate into caring for the people I was doing it for. Truth be told I was hiding behind my trying.
Since I have told them I was leaving I began to see how much I have truly come to love the people I work with. You know the saying, “You don’t know what you got ’til its gone.” It wasn’t until I took a step back to realize that these people would not be such a huge part of my life anymore did I realize that yeah, pleasing people was paying the bills but loving them is what I will get to take with me to my grave.
This got me to thinking, who else am I pleasing instead of loving? For the most part the people closest to me get both. My husband, children, and closest family and friends I am intentional about giving them the “real” me whether it pleases them or not (I know they are giving me a resounding “thanks alot!” right now). But what about everybody else? Its with them I think I have been dropping the ball.
Lets take getting dressed for example. Say I am headed out to a small or medium gathering where I know everyone moderately well. “What will I wear? What will they think? What if I say something stupid? I hope they like me? What if I trip and fall in my heels and spill my drink upon everyone in attendance and my dress rips in the process and they all laugh at me?” In summary, “Me me me me me me. Me me me me! Me me me me me me.” Pleasing them. Giving them the just best put on version of me so that I will be a pleasing presence.
What if I instead dressed a little bit down so that they could shine instead of me? What if I was able to take my focus off of getting some type of personal praise or accolades and onto focusing on what their needs might be? What if I took as much time thinking about how to love them as I do thinking about how to please them?
I don’t know. I am sure I sound crazy. But I don’t know, if leaving this life is anything like leaving a job looking back and seeing pleasing gives no sense of accomplishment. Taking these last couple of weeks to appreciate the people God placed in my path…that feels much better.
What do I think that looks like?
1. It means talking about the important life stuff, even when it is uncomfortable. Even when surface level is more appealing.
2. It means being more vulnerable. The “real” me is just as pleasing as the “put on” me, I just feel like I am in more control with the latter.
3. It means putting patience, kindness, and unselfishness over impressiveness, beauitfulness, and puttogetherness (are those even words?)