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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What’s enough?

The other day something happened that I totally overreacted to on a grand scale. I tried to talk it over with God after I spewed angry words all over my husband and best friend.

And it wasn’t even their fault. It wasn’t anybody’s fault really.

It was just me taking one, small, innocent remark personally and letting it eat away at my soul.

Then a friend emailed a comment about being a people pleaser and God sort of tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was listening.

I wasn’t.

I doubt anyone would peg me as being a people pleaser. My husband and those who know me best and love me anyway would call me a strong-willed, bull-headed, do-it-my-own-way-or-die type A personality. (Lovingly of course.)

But in truth, I’m a closet people pleaser in a HUGE way.

It aches in deep places when I realize I’ve disappointed someone. It hurts out of proportion to the incident or actions.

Because at the core I don’t just feel like I’ve disappointed someone.

I feel like I am a disappointment.

When I sat still long enough for God to show me my little six-year-old still wounded heart, I bawled. Mostly because it hurt to remember the pain of growing up always being told without words what a disappointment I was.

But it also hurt that I hadn’t gotten over that yet, that I hadn’t allowed God to heal me yet. That I was a disappointment to my heavenly Parent too.

I kept crying and saying things to God like, “I’m never going to make anybody’s mark. I’m never going to be the best at anything. And I’m supposed to.”

God whispered, “No, you’re not.”

On all three counts.

But I still want to.

I was totally unprepared for what God said next. I’d been hoping for some word from Him that would speak truth to the little six-year-old girl with a still wounded heart and finally heal those hurts.

But God spoke to the Amy who is three decades older.

He told me clearly I’d allowed the goal of never being a disappointment to become an idol.

And until I laid that down, I’d continue to reject His healing words of love.

I had to take a long, hard look at that and realize He’s right. A lot of what I’ve done, especially in the last year, has been done feeling like the hounds of hell were nipping at my ankles and driving me to do more, work harder, be better.

They were. But all they had to do was whisper my core lie “I’m a disappointment” and I did the rest. I shut God out and pushed and pushed and pushed to do all I can not to be a disappointment. All the while running from the still small voice of God telling me the truth.

“You are My beloved child and nothing you do will change that.”

That’s really all I’ve ever wanted. To be loved unconditionally. And I’ve had that all along.

In little ways God has been showing this to me and I’d get to a deep place and then stop short of fully stepping back into His embrace. But today the storms that have been swirling around me washed away everything but the truth.

I’d held onto my idol harder than I’d held onto God.

I cried and prayed and told God how truly sorry I was. But I still tried to figure out a way to make things right, to make it up to Him, to fix things.

Idols can’t be fixed.

And God asked me to give it to Him.

While that sounds so simple and easy, it isn’t. This lie, however awful and destructive it’s been, has been a large part of my existence for my entire life. It feels like it’s a part of me.

I don’t know how to let it go. I have no idea how to walk without it.

But God does. And He promises He will complete His work in me. That includes teaching me how to live with the new heart and new name and new life that is Christ in me.

It feels like I’m stepping over the edge into a dark, unknown void.

What I do know is Jesus is there to catch me. He never fails.

And for once in my life, that is enough.

8 comments:

Sally said...

Oh Amy,
I can so relate sweetie!! I'm in that place right now where I feel like I'm not doing anything right and that ultimately I'm a disappointment to everyone, especially myself. I don't really know how to let go of that either...I will pray for you!!

Rel said...

Sadly I'm with you girls! Thanks Amy for sharing what so many of us struggle with and the impact it has on our relationship with God and others. Letting go......working on that too.

Praying with you and Sally, too.

Paula said...

This is the second blog in 24 hours I've read on this topic. I think I need to listen really well. I've prayed hard and listened well trying to overcome this very thing, but it continues to blindside me sometimes.

I know that when I please people instead of God I can never fully be all HE wants me to be.

One time the Lord literally put me on the ground, flat on my back, and I couldn't get up. He told me later that as long as I continued to let other people's opinions matter so much to me, that's where I'd end up.Knocked down.

Amy Wallace said...

Sally,

I love you much, dear friend! And my heart hurts for what you're going through. Even thought I'm sad we're once again walking similar journeys at the same time, I'm thankful God is gracious to allows us to share this time and encourage one another.

It's been said misery loves company, but I think with grace it's even more so. I'm pulling for you and praying!

You are NOT a disappointment, Sally. You are a beloved daughter of a Daddy who adores you. Keep hold of that. I'm doing the same.

Love,
Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Rel,

I almost didn't publish this post because I didn't see how it could encourage others. But I'm glad I did.

Thank you for the reminder that we can pray for each other and what a HUGE encouragement that is. Thanks too for your prayers!!! I'm praying for you and your family as well.

Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Paula,

I wonder if the issues we're talking about here are things the Lord is drawing out of His daughters and bringing into the light and we're hearing about it more because more of us are willing to be honest about it.

I hope so.

It's my prayer that we would be free of these lies that paralyze us and lead us to do lots of things we hate but don't know how to stop doing... like people pleasing.

I don't believe it's His will that we stay knocked down. At the same time I'm not ready to jump up and keep doing. I want to stand like Jehoshaphat did and see the deliverance of the Lord.

It's coming. Jesus said He came to set the captives free. Your post makes me feel that even stronger. He is at work. He is speaking.

And as we pray and keeping letting go of everything but Him, little by little, we will experience the abundant life that is Christ Jesus.

Laurie said...

Amy,
This post resonated deeply with me. The approval of others... it's an elusive goal really. And one that still eats away at me from time to time, even when I thought I was free of it.
Thanks for the reminder of where my true security lies.
Love,
Laurie
P.S. Still keeping you in my prayers.

Amy Wallace said...

Laurie,

Thank you for your post. It really encouraged me not to get so down on myself when I still struggle with this issue.

I SO appreciate your prayers!!!

Love,
Amy

 
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