Growing up, I became very good at pleasing people. When you learn to keep everyone happy, you can avoid lots of trouble. Trouble for yourself as well as your little sisters. Then you grow up with skills. :)
Old habits die hard. Especially ones formed at such a young age. Especially ones that had served you so well.
I managed to get well into my adult life avoiding confrontation with most everyone. Oh, I knew that folks who were not saved disagreed with me on matters relating to God and the Bible (which is everything!). But even they thought I was nice. When preaching time came around to being about loving your enemies, I was hard pressed to think of one.
But the ministry makes it difficult to please everyone. Sometimes you just slide right on into conflict without even trying.
One time, the pastor's wife ran a bus route, and for some strange reason the Lord filled her bus up with teenagers. Now, she really loved teenagers, but she didn't purposely fill the bus with them; it's just the way it happened. The other busses brought little kids in to church like normal bus routes. But on the pastor's wife's bus route, teenagers started getting saved and wanting to come back to church on Wednesday and Sunday nights. The pastor's wife arranged for people to pick them up and bring them in.
Soon the evening services had bunches of uncouth teenagers in attendance. They didn't always know the social graces of proper church etiquette. Sometimes they sat in the permanent assigned seats of the old, established, charter church members. Sometimes they laughed inappropriately or blew bubbles with their gum, right in the middle of preaching time! Some people complained and said that bus kids were supposed to just come to church on Sunday morning, and on a bus. People were not happy. Sunday mornings were for outreach. Evening services were for the church family to relax. HA!
You just can't please all of the people all of the time. We had to say goodbye to some old, established, charter church members. I was learning. :)
So that brings me to my time of great storm and the things that I learned. Because of all of the lessons that God was going to teach me, I had to learn this one fast and I had to learn it well.
God put me in a situation where I had to stop caring what anyone thought of me other than Him. Things were out of my control. I've told you how I wrestled with God. And this was a big thing still in my hand as God pried my fingers apart. Give it up, Barbara. No man did this to you. I allowed it for My glory. I mean it for your good. I need you empty. I need you to not care about what anyone else thinks. I need you to begin living to please Me and Me alone.
John 12:43 - "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
Acts 5:29 - "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
Colossians 3:23 - "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."
Galatians 2:20 - "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
I fought Him. We wrestled. And then I submitted. That was the worst day of my life. That was the best day of my life.
So, I learned that to fully please God and be empty of self, I had to really get to the place where I did not care what any man thinks. Any! Just me and God. You will never learn to be fully surrendered until you get this. You cannot give up your wagon wheel and abide in Him holding on to your reputation and what others think. You will never learn of God's perfect and wonderful strength until you allow yourself to be completely alone and helpless and weak. Made perfect in weakness.
Lesson number four: Live to please God and Him alone!
PS~ Yes, of course. I was that pastor's wife. Lol!
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