A year ago I made a radical decision. I made the decision to stop pleasing people. That’s right, you read that last sentence completely correctly.
Let’s see, there were a series of unfortunate (at the time) events in which I saw that just how clearly humans could let a person down and how faith in one’s fellow man was a truly lost cause.
It lead to me taking an extended break from social media and ending some toxic relationships.
But it mostly led me to the stark conclusion that I could no longer be what I had been my entire life: a people-pleaser. And just why, exactly? I mean, if you’re pleasing other people, everyone’s happy, what could be wrong with that? A lot. A hell of a lot.
See, if you live only to please people, you are not devoting yourself to pleasing God. Boom. There it is. When I focus on pleasing my children, my husband, my parents, my boss, my customers, my friends: I am failing at pleasing God. His voice is being drowned out by everyone else’s. It’s uncomfortable , but true.
Why were some of those relationships so toxic? They led me away from God. And I will tell you an absolute truth: if it doesn’t lead you to Him, it leads you away from Him. It creates a void, one that cannot be filled with human relationships or work or anything else. And you cannot succeed at being a good mother, wife, child, employee, friend or anything else unless He is your priority, He is your true north.
I began making weekly mass a priority. A high one. I made a renewed commitment to the Divine Office, primarily Morning and Evening prayer. I have begun reading and really studying the Bible. In the New Testament the Gospel of Matthew with BSF and on my own in the Old Testament. I make time to pray. I really make time and God stretches it. I am renewed and refreshed in making teaching the faith THE priority with my children. I pray before I make decisions. I listen, really listen, for God’s will in all my decisions. And I choose what He has set before me as the right way. No more, “sure God, but I got this,” because I don’t. None of us do and the illusion that we do comes from one being only, Satan.
I no longer put my trust into my fellow man, I put it in the only One who became man and died on a cross in a brutal crucifixion for our sins. I don’t hide my faith because it might make someone else, be they a non-believer, a Protestant, or an adherent to another faith, uncomfortable. I’m learning to shed the skin of insecurity. Which is painful and at the same time freeing.
And I am rejecting ideas, plans and even people who are not bringing me to Him. Not being a people pleaser means not caring what others think because God will deal with all that if I submit myself to His divine Will and plan. If people are disappointed by this, that’s okay. Do I always succeed? Not always. And when I do succeed, I have a very bad habit of thinking “did I upset them?” Which I am learning to quiet. The fact is, I’m not good at this whole not pleasing people thing, but I am getting better. I am one step closer to Heaven than I was yesterday. And that is a very, very good thing.