You were made by hand with great love by the God of the universe, and he planted deep inside of you a set of loves and dreams and idiosyncrasies, and you can ignore them as long as you want, but they will at some point start yelling. Worse than that, if you ignore them long enough, they will go silent, and that’s the real tragedy.
I’m a people pleaser to my very core. I crave the drug of approval and the need to never let someone down or disappoint them. I used to believe that this drive pushed me to my potential. It made me reliable and loved. But I have to be honest, it has slowly taken my soul away bit by bit. Don’t get me wrong. I want to help people out as much as I can because I’m a giver and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Where it has started to be a problem is in my attitude and heart.
Helping people is what we all should do. In fact, my husband and I get great joy out showing love with others. It is part of the reason I love him. Something shifted though. It became so much a part of who I am that I didn’t know who I was unless I was doing something for someone else. I didn’t know how to serve myself or how to be alone in my own thoughts. It all came to a head when we moved. Our routine was uprooted and we needed to adjust. I noticed when all the activities were stripped away, I felt alone and didn’t know the stranger I had become.
I started reading Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I’m over halfway done and it touched my soul in ways I wasn’t expecting. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it because I was a huge fan of the beginning. The quote at the top of this post resounded into my hollow soul. I had lost touch with those dreams and loves that have been planted deep inside me. I was terrified that if I didn’t start changing things that instant, they were going to be lost forever. I needed to take a stand.
I’m always going to want to help people because it is that gifting in my soul but now it should come from a place of love not obligation. It shouldn’t be something I guess I should do but something I want to do. In hand with that, I need to realize the importance of myself. I need to serve me and that sounds so wrong to type. I need to foster those things God has bestowed in my heart and soul. This means taking the time to play with toddler over scrolling through Facebook, reading a book instead of staring at a screen, being creative instead of being scared of failure. It also means wanting real, deep relationships with those around me and not just those I can help. It means connecting on a level where there is nothing expected from each other except honesty, love and acceptance for the mess we all are.
This isn’t going to be easy but I believe it will be so worth it. It will bring me back to a deeper understanding of who I am and how deep the love of God is for me. I’m tired of trying to gain approval and worth from others when I have that in Christ. It is time I embrace the way He designed my quirky personality and huge heart instead of being quiet. I’m going to leave you with one more quote from Shauna and if you are feeling a sense of emptiness, I implore you to pick up her book and get back to your soul.
The world will tell you how to live, if you let it. Don’t let it. Take up your space. Raise your voice. Sing your song. This is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.