Anyone who knows me knows that I am a "yes" person. What I mean by that is I rarely say no to someone who needs my help with something. I don't say this to pat myself on the back- it really is my biggest downfall, and sometimes I am ashamed of this quality I possess.
I often take on so much that sometimes I am simply unable to give my 100% to anything at all...Even things I love doing. Even things that I'm very good at. Even things that I would choose to do wholeheartedly if I had absolutely nothing on my plate. And you know what? It all stems from my need to please people. My fear of letting people down. My fear of people thinking I am incapable.
That's honestly the first time I've ever admitted that, and now it's on the Internet for the whole world to read if they want to, but I'm not too proud to admit my faults. I am truly terrified of the people around me thinking I am incapable. Of anything and everything. Even things I've never done before. I long to be needed.
You need a deck built? Call me. I'll learn how to do it for you. You can't find the perfect pair of jeans for a night out? I'll make some for you. You have a flat tire? I can change it for you. What are the best beauty products for the type of skin you have? I'll do the research for you. Having an electrical issue? Just call me. I'm sure I can figure it out. Your relationship is hurting? I promise I can give some good advice. You need someone to move that 50-pound box for you? Let me help you. Please let me help you. Please ask me for help because I have built my worth on how much I am needed and whether or not other people think I'm capable of accomplishing a task.
I strive to be the "fix anything and everything" girl. I want to be the first person everyone thinks of when something goes wrong. I want them to think "I'll call Jen. She can probably figure this out!"
Where did this idea come from? That my value is dependent upon how many people need my help? That I place my worth in the hands of people who don't always really play a huge role in the course of my life.
Two words. Fear & insecurity.
Today, I woke up from this reoccurring nightmare of constant people-pleasing and self-neglect. I read in my daily devotional something that I will probably never forget.
"Fear is not our ally. It is not our destiny. The things we fear are in the way of our coming closer to Jesus, receiving his love, and being perfected by his love. We want to allow God to reveal what fears we have that we may not even know we have, and then we want to respond by raising the white flag of surrender. Surrender. Not to the fear. But to God. To His love. To allow His perfect love to cast out fear and then to receive what he desires for us instead."
So I prayed.
"God, what unknown fear of mine is keeping me from being closer to you? What is the stem of my anxiety and stress? What fear is shifting my focus away from You and on to worldly things?"
Immediately, a picture was painted in my mind. I flashed back to the mental breakdown I had just two days ago regarding a friend in need. She had just split with her boyfriend of four years seemingly out of nowhere. Why didn't she run to me immediately? Why did she seek love and comfort from someone else? Why didn't she need me?
I went on to read in my devotional.
"There is no shame here. The places where we still fear are simply places we have yet to fully receive God's love. Only by grace and in His love can we let go of our fear. Let go and receive. Receive His dreams. Receive His love. It is an exchange of fear for desire. It is an exchange of death for life.
There is no fear in love. And I can tell you this with certainty: God does not want you to live in fear.
When we actively, by faith, lay down our fears at the feet of Jesus, we pick up his love in return. It is an uneven trade. A heavenly exchange."
And so came the inspiration for this article. For so long I have feared how invaluable I am to others. Today, I lay that fear down at the feet of my savior. I trust Him to heal my heart, and bring peace to my mind in return. I choose to find my worth is God's image of who I am, and not in how those around me see me. I refuse to be a slave to the number of people who ask for my help each day, the amount of times I say "yes" in a day, and the number of circumstances that I was able to "save". This power belongs to God. No person is worthy of this control other than Him.
I encourage you, yes, YOU, reading this article, to do the same. Dig deep. What is the root of the stress in your life? What is the cause of the pain and suffering? What is holding you back from growing closer to God. What is holding you back from being who you are destined to be?
Release it and begin anew. You owe it to yourself, your Savior, and all those around you. It's never too late to begin again.