Today's quote is:
“When we are set free from the bondage of pleasing others, when we are free from currying others approval-then no one will be able to make us miserable or dissatisfied. And then, if we know we have pleased God, contentment will be our consolation."
It was the lunch rush hour and the counter was crowded. The four of us who waited on customers in the fast food restaurant buzzed back and forth placing sandwiches in bags, filling up fry containers, pouring sodas and making change.
Since I usually worked the slower paced evening shift, I felt overwhelmed and was hurrying too fast. I reached for a fry container and filled it too full. As I began to shake out a few of the fries so the box would be filled with the proper amount, the restaurant owner stepped up behind me and growled, "You're the reason we're losing so much money at night - you fill the fry containers too full."
I was devastated. I always tried to do my best and follow all the rules to be the best employee I could be, after all I was a people pleaser to the core of my being. I stood there at the counter waiting on customers, trying to smile while the tears ran down my face.
I desperately needed that job - my husband was unemployed and hadn't been able to find any work. The fast food position was the only thing I could find at the time - we had two little ones to feed, a third on the way and bills to pay.
In order to please everyone around me, I'd need to keep that job. I'd have to smile at the owner and be a mouse, even though he was constantly brusque and unpleasable. Yet inside I felt crushed - I'd given that job 110% and still it wasn't good enough. I took it personally - I wasn't good enough because I failed to please my boss.
After work I prayed as I went home and cried on my husband's shoulder. I decided I couldn't stay at that job and my husband agreed. So I gave my notice the next day when I went in to work. Things were still difficult for us, but God brought us through.
While some might think I ran away from a difficult situation, looking back, I realize it was the first time I stood up for myself. It was the beginning of the healing process for me - to overcome this extreme need to please everyone at the expense of my own mental health. For the first time I tasted the freedom from the people pleasing bondage that had resulted from the childhood abuse I suffered.
I've come a long way since I worked at that fast food job. I'm still a people pleaser - hey - I'm a pastor's wife after all which means there's a certain amount of people pleasing that has to happen. But now my fulfillment doesn't come from pleasing others. It comes from knowing I'm at the center of His will and held closely in His loving arms. Now that's contentment!
Today Denise is hosting In Other Words over at her site Shorty Bear's Place. If you'd like to play along, simply blog about the quote on your site, then hop on over to Denise's site and leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box.
While you're there, check out what Denise shared and leave her a comment. If you'd like, visit the other participants' blogs to see their take on the quote. There's a lot of good reading here!