I’m a pleaser. I’ve written about that here. How I follow rules sometimes for the sake of the rules and not for the sake of pleasing God, but just because I want other people to like me, enjoy my company, think I’m doing a good job.
Sooo…really I’m not doing a great job lately. At anything. All that people pleasing and saying yes and crunching numbers and writing posts to get pageviews and comparing myself to others has left me exhausted physically and emotionally and spiritually.
It’s make me defensive too. And angry. Why should I have to justify saying no or giving up obligations or taking a rest from some commitments just because I don’t have a “job” or an at-home business? That’s been the war-cry on my heart lately. The pressure to give in and do it all because I stay home and “have the time” has worn me thin and broken me down.
I melted on Monday. Super sobby chokey crying that left me with a raging headache that sent me to bed at 8 p.m. Not so fun.
Folks, I’ve set both sides of the fence between staying home and working full-time. I’ve told you that neither is easy, neither is better, neither makes you any better a mother than you want to be. But I’ll tell you another truth for me: staying home racks me with more guilt than working did.
Working is easy to justify. We need the income. Done. People can understand that.
But staying home when you really need another income? People don’t understand that, so they seem to figure that if you’re not also working in some way, then you must need plenty to fill your time.
I have a three year old and a three-weeks from being one-year old. I have an eight year old and a seven year old. I have a husband. I have my own little God-sized dreams.
I don’t need anything else to fill my time.
The work I commit myself to right now, outside of my commitment to being a wife and mother, needs to work that is calling my name. It needs to be work that challenges and convicts and creates in me the glory of God so that can spill over. It doesn’t need to be work that I’ve taken because someone else won’t or because I know I’ll be talked about because my list of church volunteer activities is less than a mile long. It needs to be work that makes me passionate, and honestly, sometimes, it’s not the work that’s only found in the four walls of a brick building with a steeple on top.
For me, that calling is these words on this blog (and some words within the bound pages of a book). It’s the stage at the middle school and the community theatre. It’s the park and playdates with moms who need a little encouragement and a friend who’s going to love them like Jesus because maybe they don’t know how much He loves them.
I read this the other day. I read it again this morning. I just love when Beth Moore writes exactly the way she talks, all spastic and rambling and passionate. I love this: What do you look like when you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength?
I look like a mom who sometimes sheds the baby on her hip to love on middle school kids who want to be on a stage. I look like a mom who’s a bit frazzled with kids in the minivan who are waiting until after we’ve delivered a needed meal to eat their own. I look like a writer who’s open and honest and always afraid to put my words on paper and always amazed when people read them and respond to them.
Thank God He made us different, equipped us each with a gift and a passion and a desire that’s not all the same. I’m tired of being ashamed that my calling doesn’t seem as spectacular or as important as someone else’s.
I’m tired of trying to please and be liked by everyone except Jesus.
2 thoughts on “Why Pleasing People Makes Me a Crazy Person”
I struggle with the guilt, too–partly because I don't have any kiddos yet, so I feel like I should/could be doing so much more! But then my hubby reminds me, I'm a full-time student, I have a part-time job, I take care of our home, I cook almost all our meals from scratch… I do a lot. And ALL of it glorifies God.
In medieval times (I'm learning about this in a class right now 🙂 ), “vocation” was a word that described only those who worked in the church–priests, monks, nuns, and the like. The Reformers, Martin Luther included, realized after studying the scriptures that “vocation” is whatever we are called to by God. In my case, my vocations are wife, homemaker, student, daughter, friend, worker, etc. When I fulfill those vocations to the best of my ability, I am doing exactly what God wants me to do, and I am honoring him in the process.
And Lindsey, that's what you're doing, too. Don't ever feel guilty for staying at home. Being a mother is a job with incredible ETERNAL benefits! No, you're not going to get a big paycheck, but you save your family money (no childcare! less eating out! less gas money! etc.). You are blessing your children and husband in ways that have eternal significance. Don't ever forget that–and don't let Satan get you down. 🙂
(Sorry for the book…)
I loved this post/blog? I would guess that most of us have felt the same way about the pressures of volunteering for various things at church, school, etc. My favorite part that I wish more people would take to heart is where you talk about how our work should challenge us and be something we're passionate about and that it isn't always doing what no one else will do or something that's done in church building.