Freedom from “Please like me”

I just really want you all to like me…and by you all, I mean everyone.

As I’m walking Eli to school on Wednesday mornings, lugging the baby carrier with its 20 lbs of baby inside, calling out to Ezra to hurry up so he doesn’t get hit by a car, spurring Cora on to keep up with the rest of the pack,

I notice the other moms.

Moms who I have come to recognize from these once a week drop-offs. Moms of the little boys that Eli plays with at school. Moms who have bonded and stand talking in little huddles as I rush my brood to the Kindergarten room door.

And I want them to chat with me.

We have something in common, our boys are friends. I want them to talk about our days. To reach out in friendship and say that we should get together. They’re nice enough, they smile and say good morning, but that’s it. And really, I’m surrounded by children, I’m busy trying to snatch at sanity and not appear to be “that” mom.

“Let’s look normal, kids.”

And it’s obvious that I don’t have time to chat. I know why they don’t invite me to hang out — I’m smothered in children.

Then there’s my online community.

My Twitter friends, who I’ve never met in real life, and I want them to RT my posts and connect with me through witty banter. I have my Facebook friends, who I have met in real life but who live far away, and I want them to say my pictures are cute and randomly write on my wall that they miss me.

There are people whose blogs I subscribe to, people I read on a daily basis. And they don’t read mine, or at least they don’t comment if they are reading. And I want them to comment. I will them to comment by commenting on their posts. That’s not my sole purpose in commenting, I really do connect with what they’re writing and want to encourage them. But this is definitely a case of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

God did create us for community.

And He has provided me with a plethora of relationships. A caring, thoughtful, loving husband. Fun-filled, imaginative, wonderful children. An encouraging and supportive family. A Godly church body. Many genuine, life-giving friendships. The list goes on and on. Yet, it’s so easy to become self-absorbed and forget about the multitude who are with you for the few who have their backs turned to you.

There’s a place inside of us that is only filled by Him. There’s a longing, a relationship, that He alone satisfies. When I forget that, when I neglect my time with Him, when I turn my face to others, that’s when my desire for their approval becomes an obsession.

I strive and I perform. Like a chameleon I adapt to the environment, so that I appear pleasing and acceptable. I trade the freedom I have in Christ for the bondage of human opinion. He has declared me acceptable. He has approved me. In Him I have life and purpose and being.

I am a servant of Christ, therefore I no longer need to worry about pleasing man. My approval is from the Lord. I’m not quite sure yet how to step forward in this. For now, I’m just declaring it daily and looking to Him when I feel neglected or small.

So often we forget the freedom we have through the work of Jesus Christ…

What is one area in your life where you have embraced the freedom found in Him?


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26 thoughts on “Freedom from “Please like me”

  1. I just want you to know, that I read EVERY post since I found you. ;-)

    And, I wanted to comment on your wedding post, but it was so wonderful that I didn’t have anything substantive to add. I have an aversion to anything trite so I couldn’t just say, “Great post!” even though it was.

    • Haha! I wasn’t intending to guilt anyone into commenting on my posts. I just highlighted that because it’s an area God’s pointing out to me. I put too much on people’s reactions and focus in on certain things to determine my worth. So, as much as I appreciate it when people comment on my posts, I also need to learn that it doesn’t change anything about me. I could have 200 comments everyday and still have times where I feel less than. It also very much correlates to my relationship with God. When that’s strong, all other areas of my life improve. :) I feel honored that you would take the time to stop by here each day though, thank you for that. :)

  2. I have (I think) finally embraced the freedom to be a talker. I would go through phases of trying to make myself more “reserved” so I wouldn’t talk people’s ears off. I think I have found more of a balance between being a good listener and allowing my natural personality to just be. I am conscious of the times when I walk away from conversations thinking, “Wait, what did they say they’re up to right now? Yikes! I need to be a better listener next time.” But, I’m no longer feeling shame and trying to change myself. Freedom is nice. Now, if I could only learn to not question whether OTHERS appreciate/judge my talkative “freedom.” Haha!

    P.S.
    I miss you. I love you. I’m reading (not as regularly as I was, but that’s because every spare moment is spent in bed). :-) I’ll be MIA for a little bit, but here in spirit. And I appreciate you writing on in spite of that (haha!) so I’ll have lots to read when I’m in that post-delivery recovery stage. :-) Thank you for your friendship and inspiration. You make “chameleon” look good.

    • Shame. Yes. I get that. I don’t think I ever put a name to that feeling I get when someone shushes me…I thought it was embarrassment, but it’s definitely shame. What’s funny is that it has now translated to online “talking” as well. When people mention how much I tweet or Facebook (yes, I made it a verb) I feel ashamed. Good for you in embracing that part of who you are. There is freedom in finding contentment with being who God made us to be. Also, I love how you are not only accepting it, but working on the flip side: being a good listener. That’s one I’m working on, and trying to teach Cora (cause she’s a talker, too).

      And, P.S. I miss you!! I cannot wait for your little girly to get here. I wish I was closer so I could bring you food and take London off your hands. Love ya!!

  3. …so often you write exactly whats on my heart that I cant seem to put into words….its definitely a gift you have and thank you for sharing it! someday i’m going to pack up my 2 little ones and drive down to see you!

    • That would be so fun! We should pack up all our kids and go visit Simone. :) I had no idea you were reading what I wrote. Thanks for de- lurking, Leah. I love checking out your Facebook page and seeing your beautiful boys and the life God has created for you. Funny how we both ended up in the same area, yet so far from where we started. Haha!

  4. Beautiful post! So much of what you said has been on my heart lately as well. I don’t have many IRL friends and am constantly longing for some. I am that mom, like you, hoping one of the other moms will say hello and invite me to a playdate.
    So, like you, I am going to turn to God more when I feel that need, that longing for more!
    Thank you for sharing your heart in such a beautiful way and touching mine!

    • God’s also showing me that instead of waiting for others to make the first step, I need to reach out and be the inviter. Part of my need for acceptance is a desire to be pursued. Sometimes it’s important to remember that others have that same desire.

  5. Melissa, so well put! I have felt that way a lot over my years as a mom and now as a blogger. I have 6 kids and while I struggle just like everyone else I find that people seem to think I became supermom instantly with the 5th kid but it is so not true. I hate the thought of anyone being intimidated. Especially because I need close relationships just as much as anyone else.

    The freedom I have gained is that I know what God thinks of me now and He is working to fulfill my calling and expand my area of influence. So I can sit back, relax and watch him work through my obedience.

    So glad I found your site! I am going to follow you and will comment too:)

    Blessings,
    Kristin

    • That’s a great freedom to be walking in. I love those moments in life when you’re fully resting in Him and walking forward in what He’s doing. There’s no striving or worry, because He’s in control. Thanks for the follow and the comment, Kristin. :)

  6. Yet, it’s so easy to become self-absorbed and forget about the multitude who are with you for the few who have their backs turned to you.

    There’s a place inside of us that is only filled by Him. There’s a longing, a relationship, that He alone satisfies. When I forget that, when I neglect my time with Him, when I turn my face to others, that’s when my desire for their approval becomes an obsession.

    I could SO relate to what you said. I have struggled with being a people pleaser for years, and God has brought a lot of healing in that area, but your post made me see a few other parts of it that I still need to work on.

    I’ve got to admit that sometimes after commenting on other blogs and never getting a comment back, my feelings get “hurt”. In fact, for a while I just became a lurker, not commenting on anything because then it didn’t hurt as much if certain people didn’t comment back. But your post helps me to acknowledge all of the good people that God has blessed me with and how I need to be careful not to undervalue or fail to appreciate the effort they take to support and encourage me.

    Thank you!

    • “Undervalue and fail to appreciate”

      That is exactly what God showed me I was doing. There are some great people who comment here on a regular basis, people I have genuine interactions with. I definitely value and appreciate them, and God pointed out that I was ignoring those relationships for the people who weren’t interacting with me. And really, this goes beyond comments. This is a pattern I have followed my entire life, dismissing the relationships in front of me for the ones who are out of my reach. God is dealing with me in this, to learn contentment and how to be present in the here and now.

  7. You really are my sister from another mother. :) About an hour ago I told one of my friends I’m a numbers wh*** when it comes to analytics. I’m even worse with comments. When someone comments, I know they read me—they heard part of my heart. It’s a connection. Somehow it gets connected to my idea of who I am and what my worth is. I know it’s not. I know God determines those things. I’m forgetful. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Very good post Melissa! I have spent the majority of my life trying to please others and to some extent, I still do. It’s hard not to want to have others like us. We are built for relationships and therefore when we don’t have as many as we think we should, we try to please. it’s a natural, human response. But like you said, it’s not the response God wants. He wants us to only please Him and the rest will fall in line. That’s a hard concept for most of us, myself included. Thank you for sharing this!

  9. God made us with a deep, insatiable longing for relationship… No reason at all to feel guilty or “lesser” because of it! (unless, as you say — and you’re right — we’re living for that human opinion, and we’re not compromising His desires for us in order to get their approval).

    But as long as I’m including Jesus in the good gift of relationships that He’s given me… and all the gifts He’s given me — then we can go for the gusto in interacting, fellowshiping, or whatever else we might call it… and all the while deeply desiring that people like us… God made us to want people to like us!

    Dang. This sounds preachy. That’s not what I’m goin’ for!

  10. Great post. I’ve been walking into that new level of faith with God myself and it’s been interesting so far. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to want to see some response to our efforts because that’s one of the ways God encourages us. We’re supposed to be encouraging and uplifting each other and commenting on someone’s blog is an easy way to do it. We need to stop and think about how great an encouraging word makes us feel and desire to give that feeling to others. That’s a small way to be Jesus to someone else.

    • I agree, Jason. I think my problem was that it was becoming more important to me than what God had told me to do. I had dedicated this space as a ministry to others and a place to share the things God is doing in my life, but then I thought about shutting it down because I felt like no one cared. What was most important was that I was doing it to God. In church leadership we’re told that we never know the impact we’re making on other’s lives, and I think the same is true for this medium. I like your last line though. :)

  11. Blogging is faith work. We trust God is using our experience somehow to connect. I think the quality of comments is more important than quantity. If you are connecting to someone deeply, then God has used your words. Sometimes, it’s freeing to write simply because it’s on your heart. But, as Jason says, it’s also natural and okay to feel encouraged when we are affirmed. Esp. as a person whose love language is words of affirmation, each comment is precious. Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts when you visit Faith Barista, Melissa — and adding your voice to the jam!

    • Quality is definitely better than quantity. Thanks for always providing quality, Bonnie, on your blog and in your words to me. You are an encouragement. :)

  12. Oh girlfriend. I continually–daily–have to remind myself why I do what I do. The world, the enemy, the flesh all tempt us to believe that it is all about us–our fame and our glory. But ultimately it is all about Him. Blogging, speaking, writing, living–all so He may become more famous where my feet step. Keep running the race, friend.

  13. Wow – you just described me to a T. Only my gaggle of kids is a bit older. This one sneaks up on me often.

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Ps 139:14

    I try to remind myself that He made me just the way He wants me – friends or no friends.

    Great post – really glad I’ve found your blog!

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