Being Liked is Overrated | RELEVANT Magazine

f you live trying to be liked by everyone, you will live a boring life.
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/being-liked-overrated#kqCoR041c6gdpEQm.99
f you live trying to be liked by everyone, you will live a boring life.
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/being-liked-overrated#kqCoR041c6gdpEQm.99
If you live trying to be liked by everyone, you will live a boring life
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/being-liked-overrated#kqCoR041c6gdpEQm.99

Reblogged from Relevant Magazine.

One of my earliest memories of worrying what people thought of me came in second grade.

Mrs. Reed was the meanest teacher I’d ever had. All my other teachers had given us hugs and seemed to know how we were feeling, even if we never said. In Mrs. Reed’s second-grade classroom, little blue Smurfs lined the wall, each of their white hats displaying a name. Three little magnetic buttons lined their tummies. Anyone who got in trouble was instructed to remove a button from their respective Smurf.

The first button cost them five minutes of recess. I don’t remember what happened when you lost all three;back then they could have probably locked you in a closet or something terrible.

I never spoke out in class. I didn’t want the attention. I especially didn’t want to get in trouble. But this day, Brent, who wanted to be my boyfriend, was sitting across from me kicking me under the table. So I kicked him back and told him to stop.

Mrs. Reed looked up, “Jennie, get a button.”

I’ve spent most of my life terrified of the invisible thoughts of a few people, and for most of my life that fear has paralyzed me.

The room started spinning. This had never happened to me. I stood up in front of everyone and began my painful walk to strip my Smurf of his pride.

Recess came, and as the class filed out, I stayed stuck to my seat for five eternal minutes. I wanted to be under my seat. Mrs. Reed was grading papers and not even looking at me. I was sure she was too disappointed to acknowledge me anymore. I felt like I was getting a fever. Some disease spreading through me.

It wasn’t the last time I’d have that feeling.

My brain is not so creative. It comes back to the very same fears that it had when I was in second grade. Smurf buttons and recess has turned into amazon reviews and status updates and criticism about my work or the way we are raising our kids.

I’ve spent most of my life terrified of the invisible thoughts of a few people, and for most of my life that fear has paralyzed me.

See, fear isn’t a small thing—we are wasting our lives on it.

In the last few months, I have been thrown in the deep end of leadership, launching and leading an organization with a team of gifted brilliant female leaders called IF:Gathering. Feelings of pressure, adrenaline, failure, joy, conflict and paralyzing fear seem to all bounce around in me on a given day. Because here is the thing about leading something: You will be loved and you will be hated.

The irony here is several years ago, due to my terrible case of people-pleasing and a rather strong fear of public humiliation, I existed entirely on the back row of life. I sat safely in the dark, away from stages, away from criticism, away from helping people, my gifts tucked neatly under my chair in the name of humility.

So as one facing her two worst fears, being hated and/ or humiliated, let me tell you what I have learned:

do you want to be likedReceive Criticism

If you want to lead well, just never defend yourself again. Take it. Jesus actually meant it when He said, “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” Luke 2:28 Because it is the very most freeing way to live. (note: I did not say it is an easy way to live.) I remember early on as I I learned this one the hard way and let’s just say it led me to my next lesson.

Humility is Often Closely Connected to Humiliation

When we’re sitting alone in the dark on back rows, we’re really only faking humility. Humility is built in battle, in the moments when you are running and fighting and leading and then you fall and people see and know you aren’t God. At those moments, you remember you desperately need God.

If you want to lead well, just never defend yourself again. Take it.

Love the Fear

As a child, I hated feeling nervous. My mom used to say, “it’s just butterflies.” So I sat in the back of life for decades, avoiding “butterflies.” I successfully avoided nausea—and the very best parts of life.

If you ever want to do anything of significance, you have to learn to love the sick tense feeling in your belly instead of hate it. It doesn’t seem to ever leave me these days. So I am making the butterflies my friends.

People Liking You is Overrated

If you live trying your best to be liked by everyone, you are living a boring life. So just quit. Get over it.

Do you want to be liked or do you want to actually do something significant with this life? Let pleasing God become bigger than pleasing people.

A few weeks ago, I stood in front of tens of thousands of women hungry for God. We hosted our first gathering, and today I consider all I would have missed if I had fought just to be liked.

The back row was comfortable, it was easy, it was safe. But I am over comfortable, easy and safe. Especially when forever stretches out before us and people’s lives and freedoms are at stake. I suggest we get on with it. Let’s risk something for God’s glory and for other’s good.

Face your worst fears, friends, and they start to go away.

via Being Liked is Overrated | RELEVANT Magazine.

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Perhaps a Perspective Shift Today…

phil pirate

My silly, lovely, wonderful husband!

I’ve been reading Natasha Metzler’s blog for a few years now.  She inspires me with her graceful willingness to be transparent in pain, all the while giving God glory for the beautiful, blessed life that he created for her.  I am humbled by her faith, and by her conscious decision to take every situation in her life and find God’s blessing(s) in it.  What a beautiful testimony to the power of God’s love and grace, and how it can so magnificently transform us through our pain and disappointment.

This month she is writing a daily post on what she loves about her husband.  One new thing each day.  I love this, because each one has caused me to stop and reflect for a moment on my own husband.  Today she wrote about how her husband blesses her with his gift of conversation.  I love that something so common, so taken for granted, so quotidian (to quote my friend Bri), is described in such a way.  I love it because my husband blesses me in this way, too.

How many times does he allow me to talk his ear off when we go to bed…too late to talk…but knowing that I need to decompress?  The answer is too many to count  And so many times has he offered a perspective to me that I have not yet considered.  So many times he has offered a Biblical framework in which to see my concerns anew.  So many times he has thoughtfully expressed his understanding of a Biblical principle that opens up a new level of understanding for me.  So many times…in the middle of the night…when I am downloading all my worries and rants to him.

I am so very thankful for him, and for how he helps me reshape my thoughts and worries.  I am thankful for his depth, and for his willingness to be tired the next morning because so many of these deep conversations happen in the middle of the night.  I am thankful that he listens (even when he’s tired), and that he hears…that he seeks to know my heart intimately, and that he prays for and with me.   I am so very, very thankful that God saw what I needed and provided in such extraordinary measure.

The Mirror Moment

Or What I Need (and Want) to Do, but Have Not Yet Succeeded in Doing

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Matthew 18:35:  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Mark 11:25:  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Luke 6:37:  “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Luke 17:3-4:  Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

1 John 1:9:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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cs-lewis on forgiveness

C.S. Lewis talks at length about forgiveness, and what it means to really forgive.  It is a task much more significant and difficult than simply uttering the words “I forgive you.”  It is a radical action, like love, that when done with the same desire and fervency that God has shown, wholly reconciles the relationship.  It is not forgetting, but putting it in the past and leaving it there.

I had a mirror held up to my face heart over the holidays, and realized that I have become that which I hate most.  I seek forgiveness from Christ for the most inexcusable in me, yet I have not done this for others.  I seek reconciliation and redemption from Christ, but I have not offered this to others.  I ask for God’s mercy and grace in my life, but I am reluctant unwilling to spare even a measure of it for others, even those who have granted me an undue portion.

cs lewis obeying godWhat do you do when you realize that all the navel-gazing in the world…that which you thought would give you a release from the bitterness, anger and frustration that has plagued you for so long…does so only minimally, but has the very real consequence of hurting others more than helping yourself?  When the mirror was held up and I saw SAW, I realized the bill of goods that I’d been sold…and believed.  In the effort to make others see, really SEE, I failed to see for myself.  And what I see…finally…is this:  I can not claim forgiveness for myself until I am willing to forgive trespasses against me.  I can not be reconciled to Christ unless I am willing to be reconciled with those in my earthly life.  With my family and friends.

forgive others

And it is HARD.  I have had this crutch, this safety net of anger & pain, for so long that to try and break it down is unbelievably daunting.  Tim Keller talks in Counterfeit Gods about how we don’t realize what becomes a false god to us until we recognize that we have made it more important than God Himself.  Why can’t I trust God to protect my heart?  I know He will.  Why can’t I rely on God to show me the way to redemption?  He always does.  Why can’t I lay at His feet the shackles of hostility, bitterness, pain, grief, anger, frustration, worry…and know that He is bigger than all of those barriers, that He is more than enough, and that He has only been waiting for me to cast aside my counterfeit god and truly rest in Him?

I hate being vulnerable.  I hate being in a position to be attacked, vilified, and ridiculed.  I hate feeling as though knowledge about me constitutes ammunition that can be used on me later.  There is a sense of protection in putting things out into the world in writing, so that I can say what I need want to say without immediate repercussion.  So I have taken the easy road.  I have written about the litany of hurts and slights in my life.  I have wallowed.  And I have hurt others.  I have made targets of people in a manner that allowed (I thought) for as little consequence as possible.  Except that now it is out there, and the bell can not be un-rung.

no-new-years-resolutionsI stopped making New Year’s Resolutions many years ago.  What was the point?  We all start the new year with expectations that it will be different from last year, and from the year before that.  2013 was no different for me…I started the year with no list of things to do better, no list of changes to make, no list of goals to meet (other than to try for the gazillionth time to read at least 100 books).  Then came the mirror moment that reflected how empty my soul has become, because I keep digging at the bottom instead of turning around and letting God fill me up.  I am tired.  I am tired of only partially trusting God, and in still thinking that I have to do the heavy lifting in my life.  I am tired of propping myself up with grudges and grievances.  rather than laying them down at His feet and moving on.  I am tired of what so much navel-gazing has rendered in me…which is nothing.  I am tired of being empty.

Here are my resolutions for 2013…a very different lot than had I made them 17 days ago:

  • Make God the biggest part of my life, rather than the grudges I have held onto for so long.
  • Think of others before myself, care for others before myself, serve others before myself.
  • FORGIVE.  My single, biggest impediment to quieting the personal demons, and to reconciling relationships that have been hurt by my inability unwillingness to forgive.
  • Understand that forgiveness is both an action and a process.  Do it daily, sincerely, and continuously.
  • Read my Bible every day.  Let it infuse me, and change me.
  • Stop making excuses.
  • Be joyful always.  In fact, do just as 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us:  16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

be silentPractically speaking, this means the blog will change.  A number of posts will go private, and I will not publish them again.  I have hurt and angered others by writing them, and that stops now.  I will not publish new posts airing grievances against others.  If I can’t find a way to focus my thoughts in an uplifting way that points no fingers, it will not go live.  I want to do something better with my time and my passion.

reconciliation-lizbydesignDoes it seem strange to look at this chain of events and thank God for the crushing blow of clarity?  Sometimes – MANY times – it takes exactly that to get it.  How many times do I need the mirror to be held up before I realize my brokenness is by my own hand, and I am crushed by the weight of my own sin?  I don’t know…I’ll let you know…this year…as I let Him help me out of this spiritual, mental & emotional pit I have dug for myself.

I believe, Lord.  I truly believe.  Please help me to take it to heart and live it out.

Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on | cleveland.com

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

To reach this Plain Dealer columnist:

rbrett@plaind.com, 216-999-6328

via Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on | cleveland.com.