The struggle against people pleasing is constant. She talks and talks and asks me why so and so does such and such. I think it is her way of asking me why I do such and such. I feel beaten down and judged. It is a constant and familiar struggle in conversations. At times, I am brave and face the challenge head on. At other times, I back down from the obviously stronger personality who seems to have determined she is right and my way is wrong. Her confrontation is passive aggressive at best, and if it is confrontation she seeks to make, it does not feel loving to me. I hesitate to write these words, because I know some of you are like me and will think I am passive aggressively doing the same to you in this post. That is not my intent.
I have idiosyncrasies about me, things that I know need to be changed, but just because I know they need to change does not mean I have mastered the ability to make them change. I am often unaware of them, and people bring them to the surface in me when they ask me questions like why does so and so do such and such. It feels too familiar to me – too much like my own life to even consider that they do not mean me.
All of the sudden, again I am less than. God has not asked me to hide who I am or who I am becoming under a bushel, but with each passing word, I feel the cowardice rise. Sometimes, people create this feeling within me intentionally and sometimes they do it accidentally. The accidental ones share something they feel led by the Spirit to do and then, I think, “I am not doing that. Maybe I should.” With every passing should, the cycle continues and I enslave myself once again.
But with the ones who seek to make me feel less than, perhaps they seek to point a truth to me, to spur me onto a godlier version of me. Perhaps they do pass judgment on me and don’t want the consequence of confrontation. Perhaps they want to be the Holy Spirit in me. Perhaps I have sinned against them or they against me and we don’t confront one another. This is not a biblical solution to sin. The Bible says to go to your brother. Genuine confrontation is given with grace and truth. Confrontation is to be direct, bold, and brave. Without doing this is to steal grace from the offender. The thing is when we are quick to point out others weaknesses, we are not looking at our own. We assume another needs more grace over that particular area when we begin to cast judgment or even ask doubting questions about why others do what they do.
God gives the power to change the things He wants to change. Humans do not. I found myself recently analyzing another’s words to me again, and found Him lovingly whispering in my ear again,
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
Unlike times in the past, I was able to analyze less and lean more. What He seemed to be saying to me was that although I indeed have not mastered the words hung over me, I still sometimes fall into old habits, He is doing a new thing, a good thing in me. Men or women may not like it and may judge it and speak ill words over it or when I stumble, but their judgments do not give me honor or ruin my reputation either. I am no longer defined by my mistakes, but by His grace over my mistakes. Of course, this in no way negates my responsibility over my sins and mistakes, but Only God gives me honor and He alone defines my path, my worth. He alone gives power over the weak areas of my life that need changing. His Words are Life!
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. John 6:63