Friday, August 19, 2011

Please! Please! Please?

In my family we laugh about our personal obsessions. What else can you do? When something is important to you, even if it is driven more by your personality than objectivity, "you gotta do what you gotta do." If there was one personality obsession that pretty much captures every adult member of my clan it's being a people pleaser. Intellectually you know you can't please everyone all the time, but emotionally you expect to. I have learned to develop a little bit of a thicker skin than I used to have, but I still have to fight the tendency to be disappointed and depressed when I find out just one person doesn't like me or agree with something I have said - and I say a lot to a lot of people. The older I get (I guess I'll never stop saying that) the more I find myself getting angry with myself for being that way. Again, it's an emotional thing verses an intellectual thing, and sometimes balance just isn't possible.
What makes me angry with myself is that I allow one disgruntled or negative person to dwarf the scores of people who love, appreciate, and support me as their friend and their minister. Since perfect pleasing is a perfect impossibility, why be surprised when imperfect people point out your imperfections? (Don't say that in front of a microphone!)
I guess we all do that some. We let the "squeaky wheel" run over us, or dominate our attention too much. It happens all the time in every church family. I few people complain to some elders, and all of a sudden "the whole church is upset, inactive, unfaithful, uninvolved, un-enthused, and/or leaving in droves!" A classic case of going from specific to generic, making mountains out of mole hills, and not seeing the forest for the trees - or any number of saying and cliche's we could apply to this. Shepherds are probably be best example there is of a group of people pleasers. How many decisions are made based on who and how many will be displeased? A happy church is a growing church right? Right - and since it is an impossibility to keep everyone happy, what does that say about us? The faith that is pleasing to God is not always a faith that will please people. If the purpose is clear and biblical, you will not please everyone. We need to keep our focus, please.
So here is the new Rootism I want to keep in front of my eyes and also share with my fellow church leaders. Don't let the squeaking wheel cause you to forget how full the wagon is!

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