Don't Let Anyone Steal Your Joy!
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Then Jesus said: ...I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy...Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."
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Don't let anyone steal your joy! At times, many of us are people pleasers. That is, we try to please other people through what we say and do. Certainly there are times when we need to try to please others, as is the case at work with one's employer. That is important to do to succeed in the workplace and keep your job -- it impacts your livelihood. But here I am talking about how we deal with our personal relationships with family, friends, business associates, acquaintances, communities, and even, at times, strangers.
It is in these areas that we spend way too much time and energy pridefully trying to conform to, and live up to, the standards of other people to get their stamp of approval, prestige, affection, respect, and admiration, to our own detriment. By so doing, we are usually frustrated by our own efforts to win the approval of other people as we try to guess what they expect from us, and live accordingly. These approval seeking efforts can be exhausting, even producing self-loathing and resentment, as we often unsuccessfully try to please others based on what we think they want us to say, do or be.
When we vainly try to please others, we are setting ourselves up to have others steal our peace and our joy. We are giving them the power to accept or reject us, which can be incredibly painful when the latter occurs. No one welcomes rejection, but that is what easily happens when we make ourselves vulnerable to criticism by seeking out the favorable opinions of others.
In attempting to please other people rather than God, we are putting our relationship with Him in jeopardy by distancing ourselves from Him. We were not made to please other people. In actuality, the only one we really need approval from is God himself, Our Creator, who loves each of us profoundly, just the way we are. Seeking approval from anyone else can become a distraction from that mission, and prevents us from fully being who we are, comfortable in our own skin. There is little peace and no joy in striving to please man rather than God. For He alone is the source of all peace and joy, both found in depending on, and trusting, in Him.
Too often, when we seek the approval of others, we fall short, and sometimes we find we have become estranged from God. The God who knows every aspect of our being is worthy of all our attention. He is a mighty, compassionate God, well-prepared to accept us and love us just the way we are -- unconditionally -- when we are at our best, and also at our worst. He lovingly provides for our every need as He comforts and protects, provides discernment of His Divine Will, and saves us from all harm as we venture into the throes of this life, day after day. He works all things for our good, and stands with us through every storm. Who else could and would do that for us? No one!
So the next time you try to conform who you are, and what you do, to other people's desires for your life and whims, remember this: You belong to God the Almighty. He alone will protect you and fight your battles for you. He alone will lift you up, help you succeed and be your fortress and your shield when life gets tough. He is the one who will provide healing to you and your loved ones. In fact, for the asking, He will even heal you from the need to please other people!
Don't let anyone steal your joy!
The joy of the Lord is Your strength!" Nehemiah 8:10
Adele M. Gill, BSN, RN, CPC is the author of 3 inspirational books including -- From Broken to Blest: Embracing the Healing that Awaits You, written with Dr. Verna Benner Carson. From Broken to Blest is now available on Amazon, and at Barnes at Noble, in print, Nook, and Kindle versions.
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