Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Seriously...What Will People Think?

Well, my friends, the holidays are officially over. If you happened to be at my house, that wouldn't necessarily appear to be the case. There are ornaments and decorations all over the den waiting to be hauled back up to the attic and the winter village scene is still lit up and proudly displayed on my mantel. Disgraceful, isn't it? I know. I have my reasons (besides lack of motivation) and I would explain them to you but that would mean I would have to violate one of my key New Years resolutions and I usually make a rule not to do that until at least February 1st.

You may be asking yourselves what have I resolved to do (or not to do) in the coming year. Or maybe you're not even remotely interested. Nevertheless, I'm going to share a couple of my resolutions with you because, well.. I'm in a sharing mood and you've already read this far so might as well just forge ahead, right? Anyway it's all pretty standard stuff, like: Eat less, move more, work on my book manuscript, get my house organized, take the dog for more walks, etc. I've even resolved to be able to do the splits by the end of 2013 (the result of hours of watching young kids at my kids' gymnastics class being impossibly flexible and ambitiously believing I can still do it, too!) But here's the biggie...and it will admittedly be a bit of a challenge. I have resolved to stop being concerned with what other people think or say about me. And you know what? I must say, I'm off to a pretty good start.

Remember I told you earlier about not having gotten around to putting away all my Christmas stuff? Well there's a perfect example for you and I'm happy to report that I don't give a rat's right rump cheek whether people think I'm odd or lazy or whatever because it is nobody's business what I do or when I do it as long as I am not a danger to myself or others and it isn't adversely affecting anyone. And it isn't. I'll get around to it when I feel compelled to do so. And not a moment sooner. So there.

Here's the issue: I am, and have always been, a people pleaser and approval seeker. I wish that were not the case but I just seem to have always been wired that way. I think a lot of us are. Especially women. Something I have learned over the years is that trying to please people or win their approval (especially certain people, if you know what I mean) is an exercise in futility and leads to frustration and aggravation and occasionally even degradation. Trying to please others and conform to what they think I should be doing has created a lot of unnecessary detours and roadblocks along the journey of my life. I am moving forward in the New Year to effectively put an end to that. Here are a few reasons why:
  • Regardless of my best intentions or efforts to be a loving, caring and compassionate person, people are going to think whatever they want to anyway. I am strong minded, straight forward  and communicate advice or answer questions accordingly. Some people are taken aback by my approach. I can be a bit of a steamroller. I don't mean to be but nevertheless...I am sometimes misunderstood because I tend to be pretty open and direct which can catch people off guard. This is just who I am. 
  • There never has been a gate between my brain and my mouth. I rarely know what I'm going to say until I've heard what it was. I'm not saying that this is a good quality. It's not. I'm just made that way. I do make an effort to exercise self control in this area but won't say I've been all that successful.
  • For some reason that baffles me, a lot of people tend to want to believe the worst in others. My theory is that some believe that magnifying the flaws of others makes them more normal or acceptable to themselves. (I'll bet many of you have been subjected to this attitude).
  • I've learned from experience that most judgment comes from a lack of self esteem or self worth from the one doing the judging. There are a lot of sanctimonious, self righteous folks out there who are just waiting for a misstep so that they can pounce on you and 'show you the error of your ways.' To these people I respectfully say: Get a life, why don't you, and stay out of mine.
  • I am a gregarious and silly person with a rapid fire sense of humor that is hard to keep under wraps. I kind of like that about myself and am not inclined to change that anytime soon. I love sharing laughter and joy with others. I laugh loudly and sometimes giggle inappropriately when I'm in an awkward or nervous situation. Can't seem to help myself.
  **(I've had the unfortunate experience of snickering helplessly at a funeral as the minister repeatedly mispronounced the name of the deceased. I was also once ushered out of a wedding ceremony for laughing uncontrollably after a well meaning bridesmaid yanked the bustle of the bride's dress (which had somehow become tucked way up into her bum) right at the front of the church in full view of the entire congregation before the couple could exchange their I-do's. Not one of my finer moments but a funny memory to have and to hold, as it were).

 Listen...life is too short not to appreciate the humorous and ridiculousness that inevitably comes along. We are made in God's own image. The gift of laughter and joy is one of  His most beautiful blessings to me. Still...sometimes others don't 'get' my sense of humor. That's okay with me. I don't mind laughing either at myself or with myself or even by myself.

 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ~Proverbs 17:22

In the infamous words of Tony Bennett: (my younger readers can Google him...)
"I've gotta be me...I've gotta be me...who else can I be but me?"  Indeed.

Finally...after all these years of fretting about having a crazy dysfunctional family, not fitting in or not being thin enough or educated enough or being too indecisive or silly or not serious enough or not being perceived as a good enough Christian I have finally come to the place in my life where I can honestly say...who cares what anyone else thinks of me? I know who I am. I know whose I am. I am a living child of the living God and my Daddy created the universe and everything and everyone in it. He loves me just they way I am and He's guiding my every step. I'm shining my light and believing that God will let my life be a living example of His amazing love and His tender grace and mercy. I'm one of His very favorites, you know. You are, too!

There is a sense of liberation and freedom in letting go of what others think. Some of you may have already come to this place of peace. If not I invite you to join me. Hey, as a sign of solidarity, you may even want to join me in my other resolutions as well. Together, we can do anything, right?

I will  let you off the hook on the whole 'doing the splits' thing, though. I mean really, who am I kidding? A mother of three children trying to do the splits? C'mon, seriously...what will people think? Oh, yeah,..I  almost forgot. Who cares? All I can say is that I hope they are laughing with me because I may need some good medicine for my crushed spirit and dried up bones if things don't work out as planned. Ha!

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. ~Colossians 3:12-15