Last week, I had a conversation with someone in passing that left me feeling incredibly frustrated. It actually sparked my last blog post (read here). This brief interaction left me questioning myself and my abilities.
Now I’m sure that the person that I spoke to probably had NO IDEA how I was feeling. And let me be clear, they did absolutely nothing wrong! The topic of our conversation didn’t even deal with me directly.
But for some reason, our little chat left me feeling overlooked. Passed over. Rejected..
Ever been there?
Feelings are so powerful, aren’t they? They can send us over the moon in blissful jubilation or lead us into deep dark pits of despair. On the one hand, they bring color and variety into an otherwise bland and mundane existence.
But they can also create internal chaos in our normally peaceful hearts and level-headed minds.
The problem is that our feelings are so darn fickle. They can change in an instant and without warning. Furthermore, they don’t always reflect the reality of our circumstances. Emotions aren’t based in fact or truth. At times, they can be downright deceptive.
And that’s where I found myself last week… teetering on the edge of truth and a false perception of reality.
I hate to admit it, but for a little while, those false perceptions held my mind and emotions captive. The result? I was completely miserable!
Thankfully, as I spent some time in prayer and took time to reflect on what really happened, a different picture began to emerge.
It started with a gentle spirit query. “What are you really so upset about?”
Good question. Why was I so upset?!
Have you ever found yourself at the end of a massive argument with someone you love and when it’s all said and done, you don’t even know why you were arguing?
This Supernatural nudge forced me to dig a little deeper and get to the heart of the matter.
As I really thought about what had transpired, I realized that most of my frustration was based on my own personal insecurity. I was worried about how someone viewed me and my abilities and I was convinced that I didn’t measure up to their standards. However, I had absolutely no proof to back up this belief.
I had put my false perceptions and thoughts upon someone else.
As this truth washed over me, a second question entered my mind. “Who are you trying to impress? And more importantly, who are you seeking to please?”
This second question was a little harder to face. It forced me to take a hard look at myself. And when I did, I realized that I was a big part of the problem. You see, I had put way too much focus on ME.
There is a passage of scripture out of Hebrews that says, “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves and he chastens everyone he accepts as a his son.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)
I don’t know if this was so much an experience of being disciplined, as it was of being humbled. Being “chastened” is never easy, but I can honestly say that in this case, it was a beautiful experience. There was no condemnation or shame. It was simply an invitation to acknowledge where I went wrong, and then make the necessary adjustment.
God revealed to me that when I put too much focus on myself, I always end up feeling empty. I vacillate between insecurity and personal pride. Thinking too lowly or too highly of myself and my abilities. This seesaw of emotions leaves me weary and dry.
A similar thing happens when I put too much emphasis on pleasing other people. On the one hand, if I get positive affirmation, I feel great about myself. But those feelings are fleeting. When there is a lack of attention, or heaven forbid, a personal critique – I often beat myself emotionally raw or lash out in frustration. (Beautiful traits I know…)
But here’s the good news. When my focus is on relationship with God and my first desire is to please Him, there is always peace. There is contentment. And there is freedom. Freedom from pride, comparison, and people pleasing.
I think it’s because I know deep in my heart and soul that HE IS PLEASED WITH ME. And that’s all that really matters.
When I come, imperfect, but with a heart that seeks to honor Jesus – He always delivers. He affirms that I am His. That He has beautiful plans for my life, assignments big and small. And then He provides opportunities for me live them out.
And what is more fulfilling than living out the plans that HE has for us?!
Since this little heart check, I have tried to start each day with a simple prayer. “Lord, how can I please you today?”
I haven’t been perfect. I have LOTS OF ROOM TO GROW! But this simple prayer is changing me. It’s redirecting my heart and mind to the most important thing: living a life that brings glory and pleasure to God.
How about you? How can you please God today?!