Shrinking Yourself to Please Others? Pressing Through the Fear

Recently, as I was scrolling through my twitter feed I came to this post by Christine Caine.  It spoke to me and I’d like to share my thoughts with you.

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I posted this meme on Facebook with a brief comment that truthfully could have given  ample space to all kinds of imaginations.  So, let me clarify why this spoke to me.

On face value it could be taken as a passive/aggressive statement.  The context of one’s personal situation will determine how the reader perceives the statement.  I would have worded it differently had I written it myself.  I didn’t post it as an “in your face” statement. What struck me most when I read it was the beginning sentence — “You will never fulfill your purpose if you have to shrink yourself in order to stay connected to people or things.”  

Hmmm, words for deep reflection right there!

I would reword it by saying, “It is difficult to reach your goals if you have to shrink yourself in order to stay connected to certain people or things.”

As I have matured in Christ, one of the things I love most about this season in life is the wisdom that accompany’s it.  Such satisfaction to be at peace and to have worked through most of the challenges of youth and young adulthood.  Fr. Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward” was significant in helping me understand where I am in life.  The move to Texas along with having a new business brought lots of changes over the past few years.  Christine’s words reflect part of my journey.

We’ve moved often. I’ve moved so many times in life that the thought of it was not necessarily exciting.  It meant rebuilding again.  (If you’ve never had to do this, let me assure you it is one of the hardest things to do, starting over in a new place.)  Ugh, I hate it!  When you are younger you haven’t built anything , but the older you are the harder the move is.  You are formed, you’ve solidified and grown into something solid and strong.  You’ve built relationships and friendships that support you.  You have sacrificed and poured out precious moments in life with others.  A bond took place, your life was planted … So, uprooting it is hard.

Here’s how this story unfolds for me … 

Every time we’ve moved my first goal was build relationships.  I purposefully want to become a part of community.  It’s important.  It starts by becoming a part of a group.  School, church, sports, where ever there is activity geared toward group participation.  I know how to do this and can make the necessary adjustments with little trouble, I am a people person.

What Christine’s encouragement spoke to me, which the reader doesn’t know is, God has been speaking these same words to me for a year.  I’m pretty sure her words were to encourage those stuck in trying to please others rather than do what is in their own heart.  Especially if you have a call on your life.  God has things for you to do that only you know.  Having the confidence to follow or respond to these desires can be frightening.  Some people don’t have trouble with this, like the type A personality.  People like myself, who would much rather support someone else, need a push to put themselves forward.  One of my greatest challenges is seeing my own value, however, that is changing for me…

I didn’t really like the part where she says, “They don’t love you, and never did…” That’s  likely not true, maybe they don’t recognize your true value.  How many times have we not seen or empowered others.  I think its better to say, “You can do it, be confident in who you are.  You know what’s right, so follow that.  Do what you know God is calling you to do.  Trust Him.” Memes fall short in that they make broad and overreaching statements.  This is about healthy boundaries, something we learn as we grow.

It takes courage to leap into the unknown.  That’s all this was for me, it was another encouragement to continue to do what is in my heart without fear.  Other people don’t stop us unless we allow them to.  God is our strength.  Not everyone will agree with us, or support us, but when we are sure that God is leading us, (especially when one has been at this thing for 37 years), we need to go ahead and step out of the boat!

I had the opportunity to go to a Cross-Encounter at my home church recently.  I have to admit, the thing I fight often is fear, ( fear of failure, of rejection, of people’s opinions).  I was encouraged by Christine Caine’s meme because it spoke to a place of weakness where God is speaking.  He is calling me out into the scary unknown.  I’ve gotten my toes wet, but quickly pulled back.  However—I know that God is calling me out of the boat.  I am saying  yes to the call and to follow where He is leading me.  This means that the path might be different from yours, and even off the old path I’ve traveled for so long.  He encouraged me, back in November 2016, “Be fully who I have made you Susan.  Don’t apologize or minimize anything I’ve done in you.  It’s not important for others to know or understand, no… what is important is that you trust and follow me!”  Following Him means to me that I need not fear to take the turn in the bend.  To go to new places and TRUST fully in Him even as the path may be unfamiliar to me!

Shalom friends! I love you!

 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” Ephesians 2:10 Amplified Version

 

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