I met with a friend of mine recently who I had not seen in about 10 years. We met for the purposes of talking business. He is a pastor. I am a planter. We are considering partnering.
What the conversation turn out to be…has changed my life.
Let me back the story up a bit. I am a people pleasure. Actually, I worship people’s opinions, ideals, thoughts….etc. Almost every decision I make has been bathed in an internal dialogue that includes the projected consideration of other people’s views.
I have made many decisions in my lifetime that were based more on pleasing the people around me than they were about what I truly believed, felt, wanted…etc.
Needless to say…..
I have a problem.
Sitting down with my friend, we began to discuss the ends and outs of planting a church. I sought wisdom and knowledge from his 6 years of planting. During our conversation, I expressed that one of my concerns with planting is that I am so driven to please people that it makes decision making very hard. A lot of times, it’s exhausting.
My friend then spent the next hour changing my life.
He asked me to consider when I began people pleasing. He asked me to consider why I worry so much about people’s views. He asked me if I had ever asked God to search my innermost being to reveal the, “root,” of this issue.
I said I hadn’t…….who wants to do that!
My friend gave me counsel that I should consider it but to do it when I was alone and had time to let God truly speak to me.
but I found healing as well.
What was the, “root,” you may ask?
I’ll tell you.
I wet the bed until I was about 12 years old.
I have carried a small fear of wetting the bed almost my whole life.
Apparently, I was born with a weak bladder. I also am a deep sleeper, which does not help. I can remember wearing a, “pee pee,” alarm on my underwear that was supposed to wake me up when I began….you get the picture.
It didn’t help. The battery died before I woke up.
This led to many uncomfortable nights when I would visit friends. One in particular happened on a church camping trip.
As always, or so it seemed, I wet the bed.
I awoke to the laughter and jeering of not only other guys but also the adult leader.
I can still see their faces and hear the putrid noise coming from their mouths. I felt trapped. I felt alone.
So, I receded inside my mind where it was safe.
Sad story right…..it gets better.
Fast forward to when I joined the big kids in Youth Group.
First night there…after the service. A group of seniors, if memory holds true, brought up that fateful night of bed wetting.
They laughed, a harmless, “welcome to youth ministry,” right of passage, even the youth minister joined in the fun.
So there I was, barely getting into middle school. Standing behind a Five Iron Frenzy poster, being laughed at once again for having a weak bladder.
It was at that moment I began hiding in shadows.
It was at that moment I began to do everything I could to make people like me.
I learned that the best solution to being made fun of was to hide or beat them to the punch. This began a life long strategy of self deprecation. If I made fun of myself, other people would lose their ammo.
When I cut myself, I control the depth of the blade.
As these memories came flooding back, I physically hurt. It was as if I was reliving them all over again.
The only difference, this time, I gave it all away.
I surrender my pain, my hurt and my shame, all back to my Savior.
I allowed God to search me and then to heal me. I sat in my living room for awhile.
It’s been a few weeks since I met with my friend. Daily, I am learning what it means to honor God more than humanity. Will I slip up and people please again? Sure I will, but at least for now I have been set from the root of the problem that was buried so deep.
I do not have to live in the shadows any more……I can live in the light.
To my friend…..