Today @ The Gathering: Why Can’t I Make You Happy?

bighurryiconI have a confession to make.  I’m a people-pleaser.  And guess what, so are you.  Everyone is to some degree or another,  But it is the degree to which we give into that impulse that we lose our lives and live by impulse and temptation.

Trying to please people may seem like a good thing on the surface, but if we take it too far, we lose our sense of selfhood and identity, our sense of being an individual created by God to be a distinctive person who can make decisions to not just be independent, but to be interdependent.

In the pursuit of people-pleasing, we do really self-destructive things. So her are the 7 reasons why really smart people on the route to trying to please everyone and make everyone happy, often self-destruct.

  1. Smart people self-destruct when they lack boundaries.  Being a Christian isn’t just about a relationship, it is about a set of ethics; a set of standards revealed by God.  We can call them the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule; whatever God prohibits that become our boundaries.  When you fail to have boundaries in your life, ethical standards, places you won’t go, and things you won’t do in the weakest moment of impulse and temptation, you self-destruct.
  2. Smart people self-destruct when they lack margin. Margin is like the white space in a book.  You need financial, emotional, and spiritual margin so that when you get overstressed or overworked you don’t fall off the edge.
  3. Smart people self-destruct when they lack identity. As a Christian my identity is found in my relationship with God, not in my relationship to people, places, or things.
  4. Smart people self-destruct when they lack audacity. Audacity is the power to say “no” when everything else says, “yes,” and to say “yes” when everything else says, “no.”
  5. Smart people self-destruct when they lack an inner life.  God created us separate from the animal world when he gave us the ability to think and have an inner dialogue; to be rooted in truth, beauty and honor rather than just responding to the emotional stimuli around us.  An inner life allows me to say “no” when impulse says “do something” or “say something.”
  6. Smart people self-destruct when they lack a dissenting voice. This is not negative person or someone who just says “no,” but a person who takes our interest at heart and challenges us to think through our actions before we take them.
  7. Smart people self-destruct when they lose hope. When you lose hope, you lose humanity.  When you lose humanity, you lose life.  Without hope, we become nothing more than animals out to get “ours.”  Hope is the ability to trust that God is doing the most loving thing in our lives no matter what the circumstances; that God can be trusted in the future to deliver on what He promised.

Though God never promised that we wouldn’t be lonely, He promised we would never be alone.  Though He never promised we wouldn’t get hurt, He promised that He would get us home safely.  He never promised that we would have all we wanted, but that we would have all we need.  He never promised we would never lose, but that nothing of significance would ever be lost.  He never promised us a life of ease, just a life worth the effort.

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