We continue sharing the correspondence between DaughteroftheKing, a college student, and myself about people pleasing and perfectionism. (Please check here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). Her words are in italics.
Right now it feels like I’m stuck in this process, I’m sensing that there is something wrong but I can’t really see what and I don’t know what to do…
- That is probably because we haven’t been able to talk for several days since we last corresponded. Don’t worry. We will walk through this together! Maybe you are like I was and think that you have the right to try to change people’s minds and to change their opinions of you. That you should be able to control their opinions of you?
Yes, that seems to fit me. It feels to me like their opinions are a part of me, that it concerns me, so I have a right to influence and change them.
- It’s fine to want to honor God in the way we treat people and to want to love them with God’s love. It would be great if people liked us or thought well of us. BUT – each person is responsible for his/her own thoughts, decisions, emotions, ideas, priorities, words, behavior and life.
-I am responsible for myself.
-Other people are responsible for themselves.
-I only control myself.
-They control themselves.
I don’t have the right to try to make other people think, say or do things. God has given each of us free will. God does not force us into thinking, saying or doing anything. Each person has the God-given free will and right to make his/her own decisions.
You may be able to influence people. But you cannot make them change.
You only change yourself – and, really – we need God’s help to even be able to change ourselves! You cannot change other people. That is REALLY important to know!
We are not God. We are not deity. We can’t change people. God can. But we cannot.
- Do you hang on to resentment or bitterness when people have a poor opinion of you?
Yes. Although I try my best to be friendly on the outward, I do have a very hard time to really forgive them. Sometimes I forget it, and suddenly I have to think of it again and all the bad emotions come again. It’s because I think that people often say in the heat of the argument things they really think. Otherwise they would say something else, but this shows how they really think. That’s why it’s so hard for me to forget. I feel like everything that came before it was a lie, and everything which comes afterwards has to be superstitious. Maybe just knowing that people’s opinions of me are irreparable makes it so difficult for me.
- If you are like I was – I really deep down believed I was above having to forgive other people. I didn’t really think I was much of a sinner. And I didn’t think I should have to have people sin against me and I didn’t want to forgive them. I didn’t know how to forgive. I didn’t think I could. I held on to bitterness and resentment.
- Does one person’s bad opinion of you completely impact the way you value yourself?
I don’t know. It certainly would bother me. And I would for sure assume that this is how other people think of me aswell. So I would generalize the opinion(if one classmate would say something, I automatically think that this applies to everyone else as well).
- It would bother us, I am sure. But – just because one person thinks something, doesn’t mean other people think that same thing. And it doesn’t mean that we have any less value as people.
- So, you have to have other people like you and believe you are wonderful in order to feel good about yourself?
Well they don’t have to actually like me (I don’t have to be their best friend) but I don’t like it if they think badly about me. I think there are worlds between those two extremes. For example, I would mind it if someone thought I was lazy or a liar…
- You are doing better here than I did when I was in college! 🙂
- Is it possible that your contentment and happiness in life is entirely dependent on what other people think and say? I was like that.
Yes, perhaps I see myself through the eyes of others. I always thought that if others were contented with me, God would be too.
- I know that you are already seeing that this is not true. 🙂
- To this day, when I hear classical music, I feel stress and anxiety! Sad, isn’t it? (I played classical flute and piano for many years and won competitions in both instruments in high school)
Yes, it is, but it sounds familiar.
- Why do you want to play?
Because I love it and I think I would be very unhappy if I couldn’t. I just can’t imagine a life without it…
- What does it mean ultimately in your life if you didn’t get into that teacher you wanted at the university?
Maybe I’m really afraid of discovering that my wish to play isn’t honest. Because if it was, then I would play and love playing in all circumstances. Whether or not I become a violinist, whether or not I have time for playing when I’ll be married and have kids. You know, what I’m really afraid of is to fail so much, that I will regret it till death. And failing at the auditions to music university certainly could be one of those things…
I played flute and piano VERY well in high school and continued flute in college. I could have had music scholarships. I ended up taking a full academic scholarship. Now, I don’t play piano or flute at all. Every once in awhile, once a year or so, I will play a bit. I can still play. I would have to practice to be able to play well again.
Do I miss it?
Nope. Not really.
My life is SO FULL and VIBRANT – I feel like the most blessed woman on the planet. I am doing what God has called me to do. I am making disciples of all nations. I am teaching women all over the world about the power, love, freedom, joy and peace of Jesus. I am loving and honoring Greg and being his helpmeet. I get to be a mom of two precious children. I work in a pharmacy one day a week or so. I take care of our home. I spend as much time as I can with God and His Word.
Now – God may be calling you to play violin all of your life. That’s totally fine.
The key is – to listen to His voice each step of the way. Doing His will is what will bring you the greatest fulfillment, purpose and joy. 🙂
- Is it possible that God is sovereign and that He may direct you even through mistakes and failures and use these things for your ultimate good to make you more like Christ?
I thought that applied only to spiritual mistakes and failures, not if I would fail a class…I thought those are 2 different things.
God is not sovereign over bringing good out of you failing a class?
Please read Romans 8:28-39.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you see any restrictions on what God is able to cause to be used for our ultimate good? 🙂
What do you think about the idea that God uses suffering and pain to help us grow, mature and to refine our faith? How do you combine that truth of Scripture with your mindset that you have to be perfect and never fail or make mistakes?
The reason I believe you are so stressed and experiencing these health issues is that you don’t have God in His proper place and you are seeking this idol of perfectionism and high grades. When we put other things above Christ and set our hearts on them to have worth, identity, value and happiness – we end up miserable. Idols always bring anxiety and depression. That is because peace only comes when we are filled with God’s Spirit. God will not let us find contentment in lesser things than Himself.
Yes, I know. And I sooo want to change. I don’t want to be the super-stressed-always-busy-A-getting supergirl. I want to be the King’s daughter: peaceful, quiet, hardworking but humble, smart in God and his ways, beautiful from within…and of course one who loves him with her whole heart and mind and also loves everyone around her (and shows it through deeds, not words).
I like this approach. 🙂 I am praying for this for you, too, my beautiful sister!
It is time to take a deep look at the spiritual foundation of your life, what you are building your faith and life upon – and time to rip out anything that is not in the right place or not of God and rebuild on Christ and His Word and truth alone.
As I wrote you before, I think I discovered what I’m building my life on: the deep desire to be better than someone/everyone else. As I’m walking through the day nearly everything seems to spring from this. Even when I want to do good things. Yes, maybe it would be better to live in a cave(even there I would think I’m better than everyone else because I’m obviously the only one who is so honest to go live in a cave^^-just joking, but I think you get the picture)
This is why God says that our greatest attempts at righteousness look like “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” to Him. Isaiah 64:6 Even when we think we are doing such noble things – it turns out that there is so much sin in our hearts and motives. 🙁
This is a PAINFUL process. It will involve facing and challenging your deepest fears and your deepest held beliefs about what makes you valuable. It will involve tearing out the things that are holding you captive that feel so important to you right now that you are not going to want to let go of.
I’m ready…I think I was a slave of this long enough, I’m longing for God, freedom, peace and love!
Sounds great to me! Today is the day that God has released you from your shackles, and now you can run out into His glorious light, freedom, love, peace, truth and abundant life!
God says you have two primary purposes in life:
1. to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength
2. to love others with His love
How does that fit into your goals and priorities?
Well, it didn’t really have a place in my goals and priorities, there always seemed to be more important things ort things I needed to deal with quickly..
Hmmm some questions for you:
- is wrong to have goals in life?
- To have ambitions?
- To have dreams?
- Is it wrong to want to learn much and do well in school?
- Is it wrong to do a lot for school?
- Does it make an actual difference in my timetable if God is my priority or not? Or is this only an inward thing?
I wish I could press some kind of a stop-button so I could write with you and understand it and then proceed to live my life 😀 it makes things so hard if you have to do everything at once.
You can have ambitions and goals and dreams. You can want to learn a lot in school and do well. BUT …
Lay your dreams before God and say, “These are my dreams, but not my will, but Yours be done.”
That is what it means for us to submit to Him.
Hold your dreams, plans, ambitions, etc.. LOOSELY and allow God to direct your path and ultimately seek His dreams, plans, priorities and ambitions for you more than your own.
Do you know what happened today? We were playing a concert in a small town(about 1,5 hours away) and the bus was leaving at half past seven. They told us that we shouldn’t be late because they can’t wait for anyone. I overslept 30 minutes and I forgot my shoes for the concert at home, so I had to run back home to get them. I came on time. The we had a rehearsal before the concert, and the conductor announced I had to play a solo part(as the concertmaster). Well, I didn’t have the music sheet with me and I didn’t prepare it because I didn’t know he wanted me to play this. BUT: he had music sheets with him and I did well at the concert. At first I thought: what an awful day! But then I realized that today God was showing me that he really can deliver me from every kind of trouble… that made me happy again J
Love that!!!! 🙂 That was quite a test of some of your fears!
Some of God’s greatest goals for your life:
1. for you to become more and more like Jesus
2. for your life to bring Him glory.
3. for you to be holy as He is holy.
4. for you to be useful in His kingdom.
5. for you to deeply know Him and abide in Him
6. for you to have victory over the snares and destruction Satan has planned for you
7. for you to experience the power of His Spirit on a daily basis and to be full of His supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
8. for Him to use you to draw many to Himself.
9. for Him to use you to teach many others about Him and to disciple others in some way.
10. for you to be completely content in Christ alone.
You know, that sounds so wonderful…but it seams unreachable… . It feels to me like there are 2 worlds: Gods world and my world… I can’t put the two of them together.
They are the very same world. 🙂 Spiritual and physical things are all God’s.
We are going to look at what God says about your worth and value in His eyes and about what He wants to do with your life and His purposes for you in this world.
That would be soo great! 🙂
If you have time, I’d love for you to check out David Platt’s sermon on youtube “Who is God?”
And his sermon, “Finding God’s Will For Your Life.” SO GOOD!
I’m dealing with this sermon for about 2 months now J I really fell in love with the proverbs(but I didn’t yet fully understand how to find Gods will for my life… L)… but I check out the other one too J
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6.
What exactly does this mean? And how does it look like? How did it look like in your situation, and what does it look like in mine? How would my situation look if I was humble?
God didn’t answer my prayers because He was standing in opposition to me for so many years due to my pride and sin. He did not give me what I wanted. THANKFULLY!
Then when I submitted myself to Him and surrendered all of myself and my life to Him, I began to see Him answering my prayers. But He changed my heart and my desires to match His. And I see Him accomplishing His will through my prayers, not my old selfish will.
I also have a few question about the article: what are Satan’s lies about my identity?
Who am I?
Who am I in relationship to God?
Satan wants you to believe that you don’t need God, that God is bad and just wants to ruin your life and that you know best for yourself and that you can have “freedom” from God’s boundaries by choosing your own way (which is actually Satan’s way).
Humility says, “God has wisdom I don’t have. I will trust Him, not my own understanding, intuition and feelings.”
That’s so beautiful! 🙂
Without humility, I will not forgive.
I do have problems with forgiving people…I go on holding grudges.
Without humility, I will act without love!
Yes, that’s true. Obviously my ambitions don’t have much to do with love…
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
What does that mean in my case? I think that my family and teacher want me to be as good…ut maybe I am wrong. And even if they do, should I listen to them? Even if they think this is important, they may have needs I’m never meeting because I’m so busy with other things. I’m most probably blind to their needs and problems and what’s going on in their life.
Maybe God wants to shine the love and truth of Christ through you to give His hope to others in your life?
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
That’s an interesting question: I’m I trying to be equal to God? Could be. Because only God is perfect and only God never sins. Only God knows and understands everything, those are things I can never achieve…
“This life is about GOD – it is NOT about me!”
I should keep repeating this aloud 24 hours per day 😀 maybe it would help me.
I put myself above God in my own life for many years. Not consciously. But I decided I knew better than He did and I didn’t have to obey everything He said and I had more wisdom than God did…
Check out Shaunti Feldhan’s book “The Life Ready Woman”