It was 2 a.m. and I was drowning in a sea of chaos. I had just given birth to my son, Micah, a few months earlier and my daughter, Molly was three years old.
During my pregnancy, in my infinite wisdom, I decided it was the perfect time to take on the enormous task of self-publishing a monthly, 32-page family magazine for our community.
Yes, I had a partner. But we needed an army to do all that needed to be done to make it happen every month.
So, I did the only logical thing that someone who was already ridiculously overcommitted could do. I kept and even added more responsibilities.
I was leading a weekly Bible Study.
I was in charge of newspaper marketing for a local eye care center.
I was producing a church’s monthly newsletter.
I was writing a local hospital’s eight-page quarterly community newsletter.
I was helping my husband lead a Sunday School class.
And I was losing my mind.
That night, the kids were sleeping peacefully. I wasn’t up for a 2 a.m. feeding. Or to soothe a crying toddler. No, here I sat, running on fumes, working on magazine layouts — surrounded by dirty dishes and piles of laundry.
Until an almost audible question suddenly pierced my sleepy brain.
What are you doing?
It was as if, in an instant, God gave me shocking clarity.
What was I doing? Everything! My marriage and my children were the biggest casualties of my inability to say “no.” They paid the price for my insatiable need to please — regardless of my own choices.
I immediately knew what I had to do. I was so anxious to do it I could hardly wait for the hour that sane people got up.
The next day I told my partner I couldn’t do the magazine anymore. “It’s for the best,” she said. Then we sat down and ate our way through a half gallon of Snickers ice cream.
I then went to work to pare down the rest of my responsibilities, leaving only those I felt I could do without compromising my commitment to God and family.
My people pleasing received its first flesh wound that night. It gave life to my sanity and my family — and so many other truly important things in my world.
More than 13 years later, I still do battle with the choices I have to make and my people pleasing tendencies. I can’t let my guard down. When I do, that same question comes back to me, “What are you doing?”
It keeps me anchored to the reality of the life I truly want — a life of freedom. A life guided by God and not driven by my own need to fill my ego with the approval of others.
I have a number of things I’m commited to these days. I’m just much more discerning about what and who is worthy of my dedication.
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10 (NLT)
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