My name is Mary. I’m a recovering people pleaser and approval seeker.

Growing up I learned that other people’s opinions were very important, that their opinions were the source of my self-worth and of love. I, of course, didn’t realize at the time that I was learning these things, however, I grew into an approval seeker and people pleaser PAR EXCELLANCE!

I lived this way for my first forty years on the planet. I then became a follower of Jesus Christ and my idea of where my self-worth and where love came from slowly began to change. As I walked with Christ he taught me that my source of self-esteem and self-worth does not come from the approval of people. It comes from my relationship with him. I am a child of God and therefore I have worth. He loves me, period. Jesus taught me that I cannot and do not need to earn his love. I cannot make him love me and I cannot make him not love me. He loves me no matter what, and he knew me and loved me before he placed me in my mother’s womb.

Fairly early in my faith walk (mid to late 1990s), I started experiencing a nagging sense that I was supposed to do something for God. It kept gnawing at me inside and wouldn’t go away. Though I had this sense, I didn’t have the faintest idea what God wanted me to do. In an effort to try to understand what it was I was supposed to do, I served in a number of different ministries. Though each of these were good and enjoyable and somewhat fulfilling, not one of them felt like the right fit. Each one felt like putting on a jacket with shoulders that were too tight or sleeves that were too short. I didn’t give up though, and eventually I found the right fit.

In 2003 God let me know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he wanted me to be a Celebrate Recovery leader. As I served in that capacity I knew I had finally found the right fit. I knew I was walking in the will of God for my life. This knowing was accompanied by a profound inner peace and joy that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Soon after this I developed my personal definition of success, i.e. to faithfully fulfill my God-given purpose. That definition has not changed. I am now living my life for an audience of One. I am living to please God, not to please human beings. This extends to all areas of my life, not just the ministry I serve in. My ultimate measure of success, which flows naturally from my definition of success, will be to hear, when I stand before God, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Since I put God in the driver’s seat of my life, I have not always been successful in leaving him there. There have been times when I put myself back in the driver’s seat, doing life my way. When I allowed God to be in the driver’s seat of my life, I experienced an internal peace and joy that surpasses all human understanding. The reason for this is that kind of peace and joy can only come from God. When I put myself back in the driver’s seat of my life, I was looking for that peace and joy to come from human achievements and human relationships. What I received was the peace and joy that the world gives. Having experienced both of these scenarios, I can tell you that the peace and joy that the world gives is hollow compared to the peace and joy that God gives. Nothing can compare to that deep certainty you feel when you know you are right where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you were created to do.

Advertisements

As I continue to travel through life interacting with a variety of people I am continually reminded that integrity seems to be in short supply. What is integrity? Integrity is simply honesty. Does one’s talk match one’s walk? Does one say what one means, and mean what one says? Does one convey an accurate picture of one’s situation or does one hide it within a concoction of smoke and mirrors?

On March 14, 2015 I posted an article titled helping vs. enabling. A situation I encountered over the week-end once again brought to my mind the difference between helping and enabling. In that article I defined helping as doing something for someone that he or she is unable to do for themselves, and defined enabling as shielding someone from the consequences of his or her actions or choices.

Sometimes when we want to help someone the action that we take to help him or her is in actuality enabling them to continue a dysfunctional behavior or a dishonest lifestyle.

If you are not sure whether you are helping or enabling someone ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I doing something I really don’t want to do, i.e. saying yes when I want to say no?
2. Am I doing something for someone that he/she is capable of doing and should be doing for him or herself?
3. Am I meeting people’s needs without being asked?
4. Am I speaking for another person?
5. Am I solving people’s problems for them?
6. Am I suffering the consequences of someone else’s choices or actions?
7. Am I not asking for what I want, need and desire?
8. Am I consistently giving more than I receive in a particular relationship?
9. Am I shielding someone from the reality of his or her situation by contributing smoke and mirrors?