Blessing, Curse or Both?
It was the best of me. It was the worst of me. And it’s the same thing about the same me.
Clearly, I am a pleaser. I need to please, try to please, do whatever is necessary to be pleasing. This is a…good thing, right? Class officer, valedictorian, excellent grades, scholarship athlete. I get things done for people. They can count on me. When someone needs something, my volunteer hand shoots up. I thought this was a pretty good thing until recently when I realized what a tight hold peoples’ demands had on me. Even when I wasn’t the one asked I would come to the rescue. I did stuff for other people, in order to be pleasing.
Now there is a whole long slippery slide down which one can tumble when one depends on “being pleasing” to ‘them.’ You define yourself based on how they see you. You have anxiety about being enough. And, heaven forbid, you might fail or fall short. Who would you be then? This could be a whole other set of posts. But, like it or not, I seem to have been born this way.
Yep, even in high school and college I was the naive, gullible one who would fall for things. Object of jokes and ribbing. Totally unaware when something I said had a double-entendre or something I did was totally awkward. (that’s what kids today call it. I am grateful we have a word for it now.) But I just wanted people to like me, so I went along. And I took this practice into adulthood, until I came to realize how destructive it could be and how blindly I pursued it. Then, I cursed this nature in me.
But wait. This is a nature born into me by none other than my Creator. Why would He curse me so?
Recently I have realized that gullibility is the flip side of trust. My naive nature allows me to trust when others have a hard time trusting. I can enter giving the other a clean slate where others have to clear away the dust of past-doings to get started.
So I’m thinking that maybe God didn’t make a mistake doling out the heaping helping of gullibility. He put it there so He could draw on it in situations that needed extra trust. It is a weakness in me that, when I remember to call on Him, He turns into a strength. God is clever that way, I think.
This week I am pondering these character traits that I’d give back if I had half the chance. And looking for the upside. The one that God calls on. I’m able to make a few matches but, as I’m sorting through my weakness pile, I come across several that don’t seem to have an upside. Tendencies I have and consistent behavior patterns that are destructive or paralyzing or both. I just don’t see what God was thinking when he gave me these.
God kindly showed me this: Wendy, those weaknesses that keep pulling you under, you’re held there by fear. Your fear. Fear tugs at your feet and smothers your gasps.
God didn’t put that there but it makes me blind when I’m grasping for God. Especially in that panic is the place I need faith. To call on Christ to cast out my fear. Oh, He knows I’ll have it. It’s one the big reasons I dial Him up on the help line. But banishing the fear allows the tumult to settle so I can find my way to the surface.
And wouldn’t you know, once I pop my head out, there is the upside of that character trait that I thought was my enemy. Then I can pray for it (we’re to pray for our enemies) and now it’s just a bit more friendly. At least we can have a reasonable conversation.
I’m only just starting on this journey of casting out, but so far it’s helping me see the beyond what used to be obscured. Fear is getting smaller and smaller and pleasing is becoming less and less necessary. Criticism has even become a welcome companion to construction, and editing a new found friend.
Yep – I’m not afraid of those any more. I have befriended them. And what a freeing feeling that is. God might just make a writer of me yet.