Sunday, May 20, 2012

What propels you? People-pleasing? {Part One of Three}

People come from all over the world to see SeaWorld’s dolphin show, Blue Horizons.

But to call it a show is truly an understatement. It would be more appropriately billed as A Dolphin Musical Extravaganza plus Birds and Bungee-Jumpers, but that probably wouldn’t fit well on the schedule.

It sports beautiful costumes, classical music composed specifically for the show, high-divers, bungee-jumpers, water cannons. Intrigue. Conflict. Romance.

And yes, trainers in the water with the dolphins.

My mind was boggled.

I want to do that!
The most spectacular moments in the display of human–dolphin interaction, though, were the several seconds that a trainer, with each foot on a separate dolphin’s nose, was propelled under and through the water in front of the glass. To make it more exciting, the dolphins were swimming in circles around each other as they pushed the trainer forward. This made the trainer spin as he swam.

The first time I saw this I was simply dumbstruck. To move at such an incredible speed with those powerful and sleek sea creatures looked amazing. I was ready to jump in and try it! 

The second time I saw it I wondered how long it had taken to train both dolphins and trainer to accomplish such a terrific goal.

The third time I realized that one little wobble by one of the dolphins could push the trainer right into the glass with perhaps dire and long-lasting consequences. I soon changed my mind about the euphoria I might feel as I began to understand the potentially dangerous consequences.
Euphoria. Potentially dangerous consequences. It made me ask myself what was propelling me through the waters of my life.

What is propelling you? 

Perhaps you are a people-pleaser, overly concerned with what others think. This has definitely been a struggle of mine. In fact, I have not overcome it, but I’m not sure I want to say that because I don’t want to make you think less of me. *sigh* I hesitate to state opinions, concerned that others might disagree. I avoid conflict, even healthy conflict that needs to occur. I re-play conversations in my mind, sickening myself with my self-doubt and second guessing.

Yet, what should propel us?

“The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (John 8:29b)

“. . . Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) 

Do you struggle with people-pleasing rather than God-pleasing? Or have you overcome? How? I would love to read your story.


P.S. I have two other potentially dangerous propellers to share with you -- materialism and the desire to control. I would be honored if you clicked through.

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  1. Hello, Meghan ~ Yes, I am a people pleaser. My husband has told me more than once: "Not everyone is going to like you." *gasp* - but I keep trying. It amazes me when people pleasers put their writing out there for all the world to see - because we're taking a big risk when we do it. I've come to realize that we do it because we are called to do it - and, we do it for the Glory of God. It isn't always easy, but we don't feel complete until we do.

    1. Yes, Gabrielle, you're right. Just blogging feels like a huge risk, but with writing? Definitely called to do it. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Oh Meghan, I loved your real, heartfelt words. How does one overcome people-pleasing??? Keeping our eyes on the Lord and resting in Him and being who He wants us to be! It's not easy, I think it is a daily thing to say... more of Him and less of me. I recently wrote a post similar to your question, which is really addressing our insecurities, you can read it here.
    Keep your eyes on Him and be content who God made you to be regardless of what others say or think of you! So glad you linked up with The Alabaster Jar.

    1. Thanks for the encouraging comment, Jolene. It is hard to "fix our eyes on Jesus," but you're right -- take it one day at a time. When I was a child, it was easier just to be a blob, a nothing. No opinions, no sharing. No risk. I must admit it is easy to revert to that now (and being an extreme introvert doesn't help me either), but I've finally realized that God doesn't want me to be a nothing. He didn't make any of us to be nothings.

  3. Ugh, yes I am a people please and a self-pleaser! (Lord have mercy!)

    I do so many things for the approval of people around me, or to avoid guilt, instead of focusing on what God would have me do! I cannot say I have overcome this, but I am trying to learn to pray more before I say yes (or no) to things!

    So glad we have a God who is gracious to sinners!

    1. Prayer is always good! Thanks for the comment, Emily, and thanks for the follow. You have a terrific blog!


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