One of the many signs that I’m beginning to feel my age is that I’ve become better at refusing to be a People Pleaser.
You see, once upon a time, I cared too much what people said about me, and I wanted to be Campus Girl or Miss Congeniality. I thought being a good girl mant I had to keep quiet even if people who posed as my friends put me down, and obedience meant not questioning the weird and unflattering comments of people I thought I was duty-bound to be obedient to.
I could take verbal abuse and justify it, just like a battered wife who kept coming back to her violent husband. And it took the objectivity of caring leaders and directors to gently point out to me that I was putting up with some things that were not right. Being a Christian, I learned, did not involve being a Yes Person, a Pushover, or a Pleaser. It meant saying yes to Jesus, standing up for what’s right, and not being afraid to let people down if their ways or being involved with them led me to sin.
Not every negative comment is to be avoided, however. In fact, I have grown through the loving correction and timely reminders of friends, for I saw the concern behind their seemingly harsh words. Those people who truly cared for me were not afraid to say the painful truth. I still run to them with my darkest secrets, unafraid to get scolded or reprimanded, and eager to hear their suggestions for dealing with my problems.
On the other hand, there were some people I had encountered in the past who seemed to take pleasure in reminding others, me in particular, of weaknesses, failures, and faults. They said it with unbelievable delight, and the usual, and expected, effect was not to lift me up, but to put lime juice on my wounds.
Well last birthday, I made a grownup decision that enough was enough. I decided to be more careful how I was treated so that I wouldn’t explode later on like a volcano after I’ve had too much verbal aggression. I would give timely corrections when other people step all over me, and would always try to remember the truth that God loves me, warts and all.
Love is complicated, for its expressions in some do not always match the needs of their beloved. I do not question the faith of those who inadvertently hurt other people, but there is also nothing wrong in sticking to the people who share my values, whom I know are journeying, struggling, and rejoicing with me every step of the way.
It is time to say goodbye to dead stars that no longer exist, but still appear to shine due to their distance from the earth.
It is time to define love as God who is love intended it to be.
It is time to stand up, out of love for my soul, and to walk on with less baggage and distraction.
Yes, this explains my silence.