People Pleasing

I’m studying Exodus. Moses was a reluctant spokesman for God to the pharoah of Egypt. I suspect he may have started out as a people pleaser, as opposed to a God pleaser. I have been called a people pleaser, by others and by my inner voice, Weezer, who is a … bitch.

I have this issue. Here it is. God created us to need each other, to be relational. We need to give and receive love. So when does that become people pleasing?

banking business checklist commerce

First, I looked up what a people pleaser does. This is adapted from Psychology Today.

  •  we disobey what God says, or our own moral code, to please a person
  • we never evaluate the availability of our time or inclination before we say yes
  • we’re unable to manage our health because we’re overcommitted to others
  • we make all the plans
  • we do all this because we live in anxiety from early relationships, and that causes fear of failure or rejection

So, I hit that list on all five points. Great, what do I do? Hebrews 11:27 says this about Moses: “By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing Him Who is invisible.” He kept checking in with God, again and again and again. And as he did, he became a God pleaser instead of a people pleaser.

So I made a longer list of how I can do this in practicality. Here you go:

  • Put time with God early in my day
  • Track my food
  • Exercise before I start my “to do” list
  • Speak up for myself, and remember, the outcome of speaking up is not the issue
  • Attend events less frequently and use the time to recharge
  • Identify one responsibility I can cancel to gain free time for myself
  • Teach people how to behave toward me by rejecting behavior I don’t want
  • Say no to something small
  • Express my opinion and learn from people who disagree

So there you go. Next is, practice, practice, practice. And tell your Weezer to shut the hell up.

 

 

 

Experts

I’m not going to say anything about the current Coronavirus because I’m not an expert. I am an expert on a few things, though. For instance, I’m fairly certain there’s no earthquake vault under where I live in California because I checked it out when I was taking journalism in college. (Not that we don’t shake a little, but not a lot.) I think I’m an expert on managing dry skin because I have it. Gold Bond Ultimate, just sayin’. (This is not an advertisement, but a recommendation from my doc.) I’m an expert on my hubs, too. Maybe not completely because he keeps changing, but better than anybody else in the world. So that’s me, or some of me.

person holding green leafed plant

Who’s an expert? Somebody who’s done the work of finding out. A scientist or MD is an expert on the Coronavirus, or maybe if you want to know what it’s like, someone who’s had it. Due to that fact, I ignore a whole bunch of what I see on Facebook. But I listen to the experts, and follow their recommendations. That’s why you won’t see me in crowds for a while, including church on Sunday, darn it. We need to give the medical people a break by not all catching it together. But I said I wasn’t going to say anything about that. So never mind.

Another expert I pay attention to is that one who’s been in the trenches. If I want to know how to be a mom, I pick a mom who has stayed the course whether her kids are considered successful or not. If I want to learn writing, I listen to a writer who publishes what I want to write. If I want to be a CASA, I listen to people who volunteer as CASAs.

Why am I saying all this? Because there are a lot of folks these days who don’t know how to pick an expert. We ask sports figures how to manage finances, movie stars how to love our kids, radio talk show hosts how to manage our love lives. We even take advice from television shows, say what? Whoa!

Evaluate people! If a sports figure is living high because s/he makes millions, what’s that got to do with you? A. You probably don’t make millions. B. That dude may easily be out of money when s/he blows out her knee or his elbow. Goodbye high life. What about your hardworking parents or neighbors, wouldn’t they be better experts? Did you know that movie stars concentrate most on how to act and look good? Why would that make them an expert on parenting? Famous isn’t informed. How about picking a couple who have raised several kids. They won’t sugar coat it or give you pat answers. They’ll give you the true skinny.

OKay, you say, so where do we go for advice? Go to people who are honest and kind, to people who are humble and wise. Go to people who are willing to help and also admit they are still learning themselves. And I know you may not appreciate this next, but go to God. He’s the expert extraordinaire, and He loves you, so you can trust Him not to steer you wrong.

One last thing. God gets a lot of bad press. People say He lets bad stuff happen for no reason. Not so. Even when God allows bad stuff, there’s a reason. We may not be able to discern it in the moment, but He knows we learn more in bad times than in good. So, as an expert Father, He allows the bad times. And if you don’t believe He loves you, take a look at the world He created for you. EXPERT

 

I Hope I Can Write This

Something is bothering me. It has to do with words. Though I’m a word person, I’m concerned that I may be calling the kettle black as I write this. But It won’t let me go. It has to do with cussing. So here goes.

Ever since I was a kid the F word was a no no in polite company. It was like the most disgusting word you could use. I never had the guts, but I heard that the soap came out and some of my friends were bubbling at the mouth before they knew what happened when they dared to use it. Now I know we were kids, but that word wasn’t heard when there were women around. Just didn’t happen. In fact, if some ruffian deigned to speak it when somebody’s wife stood there, it was a fightin’ word.

Okay, fast forward. Bake and I are out for a nice Valentine’s dinner and the table across from us is graced with a dude who can say the F word two or three times in one sentence, loudly. He had other talents, too, but this is about cussing.

angry man

Photo by BROTE studio on Pexels.com

I couldn’t help it. I looked up how long the F word has been around. Since 1475! In all those years it was saved for impolite company. Well, until lately. Now I know, there are lots of cuss words, and Facebook will attest that I have said at least one myself, darn it. But I think we’re losing ground when the big F loses the impact it used to have. When the young folks tell me that it means nothing.

It doesn’t mean nothing. Words have meaning. And I, for one, would like to see that one return to the darkside. Okay, I’ve said my piece.

Life Is Bittersweet, Pull Together

January has been so full and a classic example of bittersweet. Taking the Christmas decorations down is bitter, but not having a credit card bill is sweet.

Bake the Hubs had his shoulder replaced. Bitter slogging through insurance companies, but sweet when it all worked out. Bitter painful going in, hopefully sweet range of motion coming out. I was living two lives for a while, his and mine, bittersweet because he lives an interesting life, but I grow tired faster than I used to. He asked me once why I was so willing to help him, and out popped, “Because Jesus isn’t here.” Where did that come from?

I’m training to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster kids. Bitter hours studying, but sweet to be the voice for a kid who’s experiencing one of life’s toughest times.

My little dog, Aime, is coming to her first birthday on Valentine’s Day, and so her test to become a therapy dog should be the end of February. All sweet!

Our anniversary was last weekend and we took a trip to the California coast. Sweet! Tide’s in, and we ate seafood like a king and queen. Visited the aquarium, rode the Cannery Row trolley for the first time (I can’t believe it, in all these years). Had Ghirardelli coffee while we watched the ocean, my husband’s mistress.

frozen wave against sunlight

All sweet, except it wore him out a little, minor bitter.

Not only that, but I found out Charles Martin, my favorite living author, is keynoting Mt.  Hermon Christian Writers Conference in April, and I’m going! Sweeeeeeet!!!!

We even ate sweet and sour chicken this week. I guess that about covers it. See you in February.

Merry Christmas!

I can’t let Toenail Fungus be my last post for 2019, so I’m thinking about Jesus.

nativity scene christmas decor

He was God and with God until the Holy Spirit planted Him in Mary’s womb. I wonder if He knew in there. Did He know He was love? Did He remember the swimming around after He was born? Did He remember hearing the whispers as she walked about Nazareth? Did He remember coming from Heaven?

Or what about Joseph and Mary? They’re both your regular old garden variety people trying to live the lives God gave them. And then Gabriel appears. I slow down from wrapping presents and picture that. A glowing stranger standing in my house or inhabiting my dream. I wonder if Mary reached for a handy weapon or just sank to the floor, shaking. I wonder if she started thinking hard about what she’d learned of the Messiah. Could this really be happening, right now? In her town? To her? And then he was gone. Wait, did that just happen? Now what? Talk about walking with God. Did she hustle right down to the synagogue and ask the rabbi to haul out the scrolls?

I wonder what travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem was like nearly nine months pregnant. Not by plane, but by donkey. I haven’t ridden a donkey, but I’ve ridden a horse, even pregnant. It’s okay, for a little while, but not for miles. Did she get off and walk just for a break, and then get back on when she got too tired? Was she thinking about how the Rabbi said He’d be born in the City of David, or by this time was she wondering if she’d eaten  the wrong thing for dinner, or whether Joseph and Elizabeth had joined her in some kind of insanity? Did God encourage her through those days?

Did she think, “I knew it couldn’t be me who’d mother the Savior,” when the innkeeper put them up in the stable? “Surely, God wouldn’t allow His Son to be born in a barn.”

Or what if I were one of those shepherds? I’m beating the bushes looking for a lamb who’s bleating his head off when the night sky lights up with singing angels. Dude, what is up? I crouch behind a tree. Just because they’re singing doesn’t mean I’m not in trouble. My buddies are caught in the open, and the angels tell them to find a newborn baby lying in a cow manger in a barn. Say what? But I heard it with my own ears. We drive the sheep up the road to Bethlehem, through the town, drawing people to their windows to shew us out. But we’re on a mission. There’s light in a cave just outside town. We stop the sheep just outside and hear a baby cry. Must be the right place. We creep up without words and look in. Look in … your turn.