Last week I had the most wonderful time sitting at a picnic table studying God’s word, journaling, and writing some. It was quiet and peaceful. I felt inspired.
I had such a blessed time writing more than I have in months, and guess what? Not one document was saved…not one. Technology and me….ugh.
I was wondering if maybe the Lord wasn’t keen on what I had written? Or maybe I needed to consider it more…delve deeper into what God is revealing to me before I write.
I’m not sure the reason, but I’m starting over nonetheless.
This summer has been one of regrets. I’ve made some decisions that I thought would be good, but weren’t. My intentions were good, but the outcome was bad. And, I wish I could change things, but I can’t. I can only look back and learn…move forward wiser.
I’ve spent the last several days looking back…considering things and praying that God would help me see what needs to be seen.
He is faithful.
I’m seeing how desperate I am for affirmation, security, and love.
In my quest to fill these needs (wrongly), I’ve sought them all by trying to make others happy at any cost. My children, my family, my friends.
For the past few years friends have admonished me about this issue of trying to make everyone happy. I have scoffed at them. What could possibly be wrong with wanting others to be happy?
Well, I’ve discovered a fair amount. Because, honestly, I don’t want other people to be happy because I love them so much, I want them to be happy because I want them to like/love me. I want them to value me. I want them to be pleased with me. I want them to affirm me.
That was a lightning bolt to my heart.
It hurts and reverberates through my whole self.
Lord, really? I’m like THAT?
And then I consider how annoyed I get with my children after I’ve done a thousand things for them in a day. How frustrated and angry I can feel at not being helped in my quest for their happiness.
My motives are all wrong.
And the results are all wrong.
You’d think after all this time I’d have figured out that my efforts at making people happy often have the opposite effect.
Probably because I’m doing it not out of love or a true desire to make life better, but out of my own need and want and fear and insecurity.
I saw it even yesterday with my youngest daughter.
I get so frustrated with her asking for things (constantly) and instead of dealing with her heart issue, I spew forth evidence of mine. I give her lists of what I’ve done for her, what I’ve given her, and tell her how ungrateful she is.
Wow. Way to ruin any thing at all I’ve done to love her well.
I just made it all about me. Again.
So now that I know this about myself…what do I do? How do I change? I mean really.
It’s so easy to be resolved sitting here on my sofa when everyone is asleep…but in a few minutes the chaos begins and my efforts to please will be in full swing. And I’ll do it happily for most of the day, but then, as I do every single day, I’ll hit the wall of weariness and feel tired, taken advantage of and testy. And I’ll stop being a mom that cares about anyone else’s happiness…honestly, not even my own. Because at that point, I just want peace at any cost…which very rarely is a result of my words and facial expressions and actions.
Lord, what’s the first step?
There are practical things I could do…like a plan for the day, a chore chart (‘cause those have always worked great, said me never), eking out time for me to relax (alone or with my kids)…
There are spiritual things I could do…like pray, study Scripture, and seek counsel, but I kind of want more, Lord…is that wrong?
I’ve read so many books about prayer lately…formulas, cards, closets, strategies…they have all left me feeling more confused and ineffective in my prayer life.
How do I become the prayer warrior I’ve always wanted to be? I think maybe this is the first area I figure out in my happiness quest. Because I’m always trying to figure out the magic formula for prayer that will make God (and me) happy. I want Him to be very pleased with my prayers.
I know those strategies and such work for others, but I can’t wrap my brain around them. In some ways, they are an hindrance to my prayer life. I get so caught up in doing it just the right way, that I barely do it.
So I’m just going to start praying.
Just going to pray throughout the day…as I begin each new task or start any project or do anything at all…that God will reveal the attitude of my heart, my motivation. That He will remind me of who I am so I am not so desperate for affirmation apart from Him. And that He will show me how to truly love my family and friends, and even myself.
My hope is that I will no longer be seeking to make everyone happy, but rather that I will be seeking to love others well.
And sometimes loving someone well doesn’t have anything at all to do with making them happy.
Nothing is wrong with happy, but maybe happy just needs to be a result of being loved well.
And maybe reminding myself that I am indeed loved very well by my Father will make me the happiest…and that can spill over my children, family, and friends.