Drowning in the Sea of People Pleasing

I remember when I was younger and I went out for a swim. The waters were a little rough that day but very inviting. So I decided to take a swim and soon I lost track of how far I had swam out. The winds had picked up and so did the waves. The undercurrent was also getting rough so I decided to swim back to the beach. As I began to swim back in, I began to kick harder against the waves. I realized I was having trouble because of the worsening weather conditions, so I starting to assess how I could get in to the beach without drowning. Within seconds, out of nowhere, a man came up from behind me hysterically flailing around in the water and grabbed a hold of me. He was in a panic. At this point, we were both going to drown.  I had seen in the movies where the person hits the flailing person in the head and knocks them out so he/or she could drag the other person in. Well, I don’t think I was going to be able to carry that off. I didn’t have the strength to even hold my head above water. Thank God, someone saw what was happening and saved us both.

My life has been a lot like the time in the water, except I believe I have become the flailing person. I have held onto people in my life to the point of drowning, all for that last bit of approval. I was living in the sea of people pleasing, drowning in my own fears. Over and over again these past years, I have been faced with almost an identical situation. It has taken me F.O.R.E.V.E.R. and a million drugs to realize that there is something more important out there for me. I have also learned thus far— that I have to let God show me what those things are in which I have spent my life running from. I can be very stubborn and it has cost me almost everything, including my life.

Little did I know I would have to lose my life in a sense to gain it (Matthew 16:24). There is was a particular person in my life that wreaked havoc.  From the very first day I met her till the day we parted ways, it was pretty much a nightmare.   She is a negative, conniving, and undermining of what people do or tried to do. She is a major gossiper; and well, she is just downright evil.  Everyone talks about her and how bad it is (even her boss) but they buddy up with her so they can stay on her good side– Myself included. Basically, she is an adult bully. And I would get so angry at times, I wanted to tell God just to beat her up.

For some reason, I felt it necessary to grab a hold of her struggles and sink with her. I grabbed a hold of her own sinking vessel, as I had the lame idea that she could somehow rescue my identity– Pull me to shore.  What a bizarre and warped idea– I know– but I kept searching for my self-worth in all the wrong places. It reminds me of the country and western song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” I would say that was fitting.

Why do I do this? Well, that is something I am working on now (for my journey is young—as all of us) but I do know it has nothing to do with this person.  She is only a symptom of a much bigger disease. And now that I have removed her from my life, I am much happier.  One of my many lessons God has revealed is that although I do need to learn to love everyone, I don’t have to like them. The biggest change in my life came when I started praying for this person. She obviously needs love.

I heard a friend say today…

It’s not in the finding of God but in the daily seeking…

4 Responses to “Drowning in the Sea of People Pleasing”

  1. I know God is taking you on a journey. What you are looking for and not finding He waits to give to you. I believe He is coming after you to tell you who you really are to Him. It’s the only thing that saves us.

    Shame blankets us with this perspectives of who we think we are. God comes to bring the truth that sets us free to know who we really are.

    He’s coming for you! He will not relent until you know of how deeply, intimately, and perfectly you are known and loved!

  2. Wow Julie.. thank you… And you know.. I am so ready for HIM…

    like the kids game.. ready or not, here I come… Come on..

    yes, Poor God, He has stood at the door for a long time and patiently waited on me…

    You are such an encourager Julie…

  3. Drowning is the exact way to describe people-pleasing. Sadly, I have not yet arrived as far as the people-pleasing goes but I know the Lord longs to transform my entire life! But it has been such a hinderance. But your story brings me hope. Thank you for being transparent and sharing!

  4. Berthine…. thank you for sharing yours… we are all in this together…

    God Bless you….

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