Hello, my name is Lisa, and I'm a recovering 'people-pleaser' and perfectionist!
Your response is..."Hello, Lisa!"
As a young girl I was constantly placing someone on a pedestal. Over the years of my life I've looked at many women as a perfect role model; admired them for their creativity, intelligence, looks, success, and lifestyle. In my mind, the idol of the week usually had it all, so if I just emulated her completely (perfectly), I would too. Right?
Are you shaking your head, and thinking to yourself, "How pathetic!"? Well, this was the lie I bought into for a large part of my life. Interestingly though, no one stayed on the pedestal long; once I caught a glimpse of their human imperfection, their image toppled from the pedestal, shattering into a million pieces at my feet.
"What was wrong with people?" I asked this question often. They were so imperfect, and I was so disappointed! I agree with you - how sad, how tragic, how pathetic!
For years I looked to sinful, imperfect people to love me perfectly, accept me completely, fill all my human longings and desires without exception. The result, in my late teen years, was a desire to "disappear, fade away". I almost succeeded in that desire as I wasted away to a dangerous 85 pounds of skin and bone on a five foot five inch slender frame.
Fortunately, and I am truly grateful to God for His mercy, my eyes were opened to the truth; I was dwelling at the bottom of a very dark pit, which could have easily become a grave. However, God who knit me together in my mother's womb, knows my name and designated the number of my days allowed me a glimpse of His goodness, His love, and His plan
while I slept and dreamed in my bed the night my rescue began.
The Lord, Himself, reached a Saving Hand down in the pit, and just before my 18th birthday, I took it! In an instant I was awakened to the truth of God's love; His perfect love was for me, and His plan for me was LIFE. I didn't know anything else of God really, but I knew that if I found Him, I would be truly loved - perfectly - my dream come true. Thus began my search to find God and to know Him!
So, how would I find Him? The only place I knew to look for God was in a church, and so I went to one, and then another, and another until I found one that seemed to know that God promised me His Love and His Plan for my life. After college, I began a new search to find God, and eventually I found another church full of people who seemed to know about God's love and plan, and the right way to get there.
Longing to be perfectly loved and accepted by God, I was desperately seeking to know the formula for the Christian life. All along my journey, the Lord brought Christian people who would guide, teach, and correct me. Not just people within the church walls, but even some of my co-workers took time to instruct me in God's word.
And I was doing all the stuff: reading my Bible, saying my prayers, going to Bible study, attending church on Sunday, and listening to a Christian radio station! Perfect, right? I was learning how to get to Jesus and when I arrived He would bestow on me His perfect love.
In my pursuit, however, I found myself doing that thing again; I was elevating people on the pedestal. Not the old faulty people, the new Christian people in my life. You know, the individuals who knew the lifestyle, the lingo, the rules of the road. It didn't seem wrong to set them up as an example
of how to follow Jesus. Didn't God put Christians in my life to show me the way?
Oh yes, God, in His divine wisdom allowed my path to be filled with particular people who each did their part to disciple me. This is true, and yet, this is where I recognize the crafty, subtle lies of the evil one.
The truth is this: God brought Christ followers into my life to point me to Jesus as the One True example for my life. Jesus never intended me to idolize a person, let alone seek my acceptance and approval from mere people, not even God's people!
Pain and disappointment were again mine as each Christian proved to be just as imperfect as all the others. I began to recognize my wrong thinking, and in it realized I was wrongfully placing people, even God's people, on the pedestal of my life. I could finally admit my problem, and begin the process of recovery.
Finally this dark area of my heart was pierced with the light of truth, and I understood; Jesus was the One Who was calling my name. He, Jesus, The Perfect One was beckoning me to follow Him. Jesus was the One who belonged on the pedestal - exalted, high and lifted up.
The truth of Psalm 34:4-5 came alive to me while the Holy Spirit engraved it on my heart and mind, "I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed." This timeless truth is just as fresh and life-giving today as it was then.
In these two verses, I find truth to set me free; free from the fear of not being loved and accepted, free from people-pleasing and perfectionism. Jesus is my example. Jesus is my Lord. Jesus wants me to seek Him, and when I do He hears me.
Looking to Jesus means turning away from everything else. He is Light. He is Truth, and in His presence fear can not dwell. God's word says that in His presence I will become radiant and joyful, and my face will never wear shame.
Yes, Lord, Jesus, You make me beautiful. You call me, You accept me into Your presence, You remove my shame in Your glorious presence and make my face to shine with radiant joy.
Thank You, Lord, for wanting me, and all who are called by Your name, to know we are chosen, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and Your own possession. We proclaim the praises of You, Lord, Who called us out of darkness and into Your marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9) Thank You Lord for being the Way, the Truth, and The Life, for being the embodiment of love and for loving us through Your Son!(John 14:6 & I John 4:8b-12)
And Lord, I pray all who read this will turn their faces to You, cry out to You and know You have heard their cry. I pray each one will find their acceptance in You alone and will offer their heart and life in surrender before You. I pray each one will exchange the lies they've believed for the Truth of Who You are and Your goodness. I pray many will see themselves recovering - being made whole, In Jesus' Healing and Holy name. Amen and amen!