I’ve been putting off this post for a few days now… okay probably more like over a week (I did title this being honest, didn’t I?) I had a thought. It was early morning. I decided to jot it down, think about it more later. So here goes my feeble attempt to explain… in raw honesty…how I used to draw conclusions about my identity.
I actually scheduled an appointment, and actually went in to undergo an annual physical (only 3 years in the making). I knew I needed to go, never really prioritized it. So I went, pretty painless, yet I had one experience that was quite different for me this time. For the first time in a long time, when the assistant asked me to step on the scale, I didn’t experience the “feeling”. You know, the “oh boy, ready or not, time to face the cold-hard numbers” thing. Now, in full disclosure, I did choose to wear clothes of “lighter weight” fabric this morning, I just wanted to take away any reason for a justification. Perhaps, if you know me a bit, you’re a bit surprised. Why would I be concerned about my weight? Today, I honestly wasn’t. Ahhhhhhh, freedom. For years and years of my life, the number on the scale would dictate to me if I was a good person, or if I was failing at a goal I had in mind, one I thought I could control, yet ironically it took control of me. I allowed the scale to dictate my true worth and true beauty. I started down this path in college, and it continues to be an area that only the Lord has been able to fill, whispering words of true worth, and helping my eyes see a less distorted mirror-image. Trusting the Lord through my running journey had brought tremendous healing in this area. With the help of my amazing husband, I no longer entertain thoughts of skipping meals as a good thing for myself.
Secondly, I used to live my life with decisions weighed on performance-based love. I thought that people would only love me based on what I could do, give, or simply take from them. By nature, I love to listen. So, I became the best listener anyone needed me to be (mask #1). I love to observe, problem is, I drew conclusions based on false perceptions at times. If I ascertained that a good person is one who always speaks kindly, smiles, and says, “That’s okay” to everything, than by-golly I wanted to please people so that’s what I would do in all situations, even if I disagreed (mask #2). The kicker was, people complimented me on these “roles”, thus encouraging more of the same behavior. I could list a million more characters I played very well, bottom line, I no longer owned an identity, I simply morphed into whatever anyone else needed me to be. The problem with pleasing people, is that they’re never consistent, they constantly change, so I constantly shifted my role in reaction to theirs… very exhausting and confusing.
Thirdly, in filling the roles of listener and observer, I heard and experienced lots of others’ pain. My conclusion – never share anything! Why? I would be burdening others, I would be risking much (remember those high-school days!), and I would have to look at some serious fears in my life – no thank you! I simply thought, if I just keep these plates spinning, if I just keep pleasing, if I just keep up my appearance, life would work out just fine… right?
As I can imagine, perhaps you are recalling the “day” that everything simply crashed in your world. Too many plates, too many fibs to cover up the other white lies, too many character roles and hats and masks to keep shifting… thus, a fall. If you are reading this today, and you’re simply flat wore out. If you have just tried and tried to figure this thing out called my life, and where exactly I fit in to this world. Let me leave you with a few truths, and finally, let me encourage you to simply go there – stop, look at, dig in, read, evaluate, and ask for help. I’m telling you, this freedom is worth any of the pain you’re either imagining or fearing. I can’t stress it enough. From one recovering performance-based, people-pleaser to another, there is freedom available, there is hope, there is an abundant life offered to us every day. It comes with some surrender, it comes with some heart-break at the disillusionment… but it all stems from love. From one who created you, who defines you, who frees you. You only have to ask…
Lie #1 – I was a mistake from the beginning.
Truth – “Psalm 139:14 – God does not make mistakes
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Lie #2 – I am in control of my life
Truth – We can let go and trust in His plan for us.
Jude 24To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Lie #3 – I can trust in myself.
Truth – Proverbs 3:5, We can only trust in the all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful Lord.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
From one fellow sinner to another, I implore you to acknowledge your fears. We all have them. We don’t have to be ruled by them. Freedom is waiting just on the other side of your fear. Romans 8:15 says that we have not received a spirit of fear but a spirit of sonship. An inheritance with the saints. We are seen as righteous, white as snow because of the price Jesus Christ paid for our sins. He took our penalty and we are declared not guilty. There is power in Him, the Spirit who resides in you, as a sister or brother in Christ. I implore you to step out of the dark and into the light where everything is exposed, and where freedom lives. I have been transformed from one who sought control, to one who daily lays myself at the Cross. I have been transformed from a people-pleaser to a God-pleaser. I no longer fear what people think of me, but humbly seek Him so that others may be free to think of my Jesus. He is in passionate pursuit of you. He knocks and waits for you to open the door. He is infinitely patient, and forever loving.
Will you seek His truth today?