Prayer for the Week of November 18 — From A Recovering People Pleaser
About a month ago, I had a dream. I was serving a plate of food. On one side of the plate there were Chicken McNuggets. (Which I haven’t eaten since I was a kid and I think are rather gross.) Next to that were some steamed Brussel Sprouts, just plain. Then I added a super fancy French Frisee salad with a poached egg.
Thinking what a bizarre plate this was I asked the Lord in my dream, “Lord, what does this plate mean?” And the Lord said, “You are trying to please too many people. You need to decide what you are serving.”
For those compulsive people-pleasers, I-can-do-it-all and every-has-to-like-me types (like me!!!), it can be really tough to let go of the addiction to the respect of others. Despite our best efforts to live authentically we can get distracted wondering what others think of us and how our decisions and messages are being received by others. But who are we serving really? When I stand before God, how will I justify not properly stewarding the gifts He gave me? Can I say, “Well, they weren’t well received by others.” or “I did use them sometimes, but I was kind of scared of what so-and-so would think.” If I can remember who I am ultimately serving, I can also better narrow down what I am serving. No more nuggets.
“I believe Jesus calls all of us to let go of the desire to appear good, to give up the appearance of being good, so that we can listen to the word within us and move in the mystery of who we are. The preoccupation with projecting the perfect image, of being a model Christian and edifying others with our virtues leads to self-consciousness, sticky pedestal behavior, and bondage to human respect.” Brennan Manning in Lion and Lamb, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus
For me, following Christ is a constant call to release the hold on my own expectations for myself and the expectations of others. It’s a call for living in freedom, which is often way more challenging than living in bondage. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
It’s a call to love. Not the world’s counterfeit, but true love. Love that sets free. St. Augustine said, “Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.” So, love God today. Stand firm. Fix your eyes. And serve what He orders. No nuggets.