The Life of a Crowd-Pleaser

by

To know what truly matters is the most freeing thing in the world.

 

No amount of money, no level of promotion, no feeling of popularity can fully define your true value.

 

From the age of 2 or 3 years, i began battling the effects of conditional love. While i hate to speak out against him in public (because i do love and forgive him as a person) my own father was very harsh and he lacked the wisdom to show his children the same grace that the God he claimed to follow had shown him (and continues to show him).  I remember gazing through a darkened crack in the garage door, freezing in my nightclothes and seeing no-one because my dad dragged me out there at night as punishment for something i can’t even remember. All i know is that i was very very afraid and i believed that my dad hated me.  Years of this confusion lead to me believing that i didn’t just do bad things; but *i* was bad.

The feelings of injustice naturally became a huge chip on my shoulder as i wrestled with trying to dance around my father’s moods and try to please him with my school grades, topics of conversation that i knew he liked and sharing with him only the good things that i did.  We kept secrets from him because we were afraid of his punishments.  He couldn’t see past his own worldview to try to understand mine – yet he had the boldness to demand my respect?!  How could i ever show him respect when i didn’t even know what that meant. Any apparent respect, was actually fear!

 

And so a crowd-pleaser was born.

 

I am one of those people who talks a good talk. I say all the right things because i know what can impress people:

When i was in school, everyone loved the joker and the cocky kid who sat at the back of a room.

When i was a teenager, everyone loved the badass who could hold the most vodka.

When i was only a little older, the guys loved the girl who wanted to have sex.

The men love the girl who tries to please *them*.

 

But this love is temporary, conditional and deeply unfulfilling.  It lasts but a second before you have to chase it once more.

 

“Why doesn’t he love me anymore?”  “What can i do to win him back?”

 

Sometimes i wonder if my fitness journey actually started because i wanted to be loved.  I think most journeys have started because i wanted to feel loved.

 

But only ONE path has led me to true love.  The same path that is showing me my full value has been within me this whole 31 years! It was given when i was wonderfully and fearfully made in God’s image. You see, God’s love is perfect. He doesn’t want anything from me; He just wants ME!  My looks aren’t important, my career isn’t important … not even my behaviour is important (thank God for that!). He simply wants His child to come home so He can throw a party and welcome me to a life of peace, joy and eternity.

I spent my life searching the world for my own personal worth.  It was in me all along!  The only thing that changed was the way i defined it.  Through the values set by people? Or the value set by God?

1 Peter 3:3-4 says: “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

This verse isn’t trying to tell us not to take care of our appearance, it is warning us not to place our value in our appearance.  Or that our inner character is far more important than how we look.  It is reminding us that while men might see our flesh, God sees our heart.

So you see, nothing on this earth can give me a life worth living because my purpose comes from the One i serve.  Every type of love here on earth will fail me – even my love for myself.  The only hope i have is to anchor myself in someone greater than me, my husband and, especially my father… because it is my heavenly father who restores my heart. And i know that because of what His love has show me.

If I ever need evidence of love, i don’t need to look to Facebook, I look to His Word!

1 John 4:7-8  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

 

No longer do i need to aim “high” or please the crowd, because no job, no amount of positive comments or money in my bank can add anything to the promise that is given to me.

So rather than seeking the next hit or chasing the newest feeling of acceptance, i walk *with* Christ so that wherever my feet touch can be a testimony to Him and Him alone – because He rescued me from believing i had to earn my way.

Colossians 2:6-7  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.  ~ Jerry Bridges

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” ~ CS Lewis

 

Even though i know the truth, i still struggle with lies within my thoughts – old beliefs and insecurities that cause me to be foolish and act fearfully. There are many times, i feel i must be that crowd-pleaser again and that is something i never wish on anyone! For me, one of the shocking things about insecurity is how it makes you lash out against others. You perceive threats where there are none, you make enemies where you should make friends.  And there are many things i wish i could undo.  However, i am grateful to know better now and to be rooting in the security that my faith brings.  Through every challenge and joy!

 

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9 Responses

  1. Jen says:

    Marianne I’m glad to hear you’ve forgiven your Dad. I think as you enter a new stage of life (starting a family!!) your forgiveness will deepen. Becoming a parent brings out the best and worst in some of us. There are things I held against my parents my whole life but now that I’m married and have three children I UNDERSTAND and have compassion for what they must have been facing themselves. In fact I think the last few months is when I’ve **truly** forgiven them as I’ve seen my own limits tested and felt I’ve failed my children.

  2. Melly says:

    Marianne. I do not take comfort in your God in particular, though I do not begrudge your love and comfort in him. I both see and know that your are doing well by the world by standing true to what you believe, and my world has been made better by this. For myself, I love all of the gods and goddesses that have been present to us throughout eternity. I think we are asked to be the best human example that we are able, to live in alignment with what is good and to compassionately dismantle what does not work for us. So Kudos to you beautiful woman. Good work. I look forward to our continued journey together.

  3. Tracey says:

    So fantastic!! WOW, I feel so full of love and warmth reading this knowing that I don’t need others approvals…thank you:)

  4. Kris says:

    Too much god for me, Marianne. I’m glad it works for you and I wish you and Jon all the best but I’m out-of-here.

    • Susan says:

      me too, but thanks & bonne chance!

      ….so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began
      to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.

  5. ” You see, God’s love is perfect. He doesn’t want anything from me; He just wants ME! ”
    Thanks for the reminder Marianne. This is so powerful, I don’t even have the words. I’m in awe that someone such as the Lord, he wants me. That is mind blowing. One of my favorite authors is Maya Angelou and in a conversation to Oprah she was brought to tears by the very idea that God loved her, and that is the attitude we should have. It is humbling and we are so blessed to have hope in God! Thanks for this beautiful post :-). I’m so sorry of what you went through growing up and I’m glad that you have found true peace and happiness, you reach thousands if not millions with your message. Thank you. P.S. Here is the link with Dr. Angelou, so powerful. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyAYEXkd26Q

  6. Amanda says:

    Awesome post, Marianne! I love the new air of your posts as you include God. Thank you!

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