Keeping a close eye on all different thoughts and impulses that come from the inside, I have been realizing that those things that I do not want to accept in me still make me feel like a prisoner and somehow urge me to project them on others in whom I (seem to) see what I hate to see in myself.
By nature I am a woman who wants to live in harmony with everyone – that’s my people pleaser problem. Although I have come to know that this pious hope actually is a pious fraud, I was afflicted recently by my old habit of trying to satisfy several people whose expectations on me could not have been more contradictory than they were and it would have needed about 48 hours a day of dealing with them.
Briefly, I was pooling all my human forces in order to reconcile what cannot be reconciled – by Susanne alone. Maybe, I was trying to do God’s job of making the impossible possible. Thank God, I failed. However, the lesson was painful, though…
“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Mt 5:37 ESV)
It is not so that I do not grasp what Jesus meant here. But alas – I still have problems with saying, “No!” when someone wants me to do something for them. Admittedly, I do not really dare to count how often I still say, “Yes,” but I truly mean, “No!!!”
Q: “Do I neglect my own needs with that behavior?”
A: “Yes, almost always.”
Q: “And in so doing, what consequences have come to light?”
A: “I felt burnt out and I lost the peace of God to which I had been used before. Not His love, to be sure, but particularly joy and peace were gone. Completely. Ouch!”
And the worst thing to me is that I have always known what went wrong, yet I could not change my ways. Not at all! Like a prisoner in chains!! I was so afraid of rejection by being the Susanne who I really am that I decided to remain in that old snake’s skin of which I have, truly, wanted to get rid of for decades. Ugh!!
Finally, after a much too short night, I have been praying for more than three hours this morning and I REALLY needed that time with God. If someone wonders about the time I spend in prayer, it is always God-given – no human being would be able to talk with God longer than a few minutes unless God draws them with His LOVE. Feeling Him loving me, unconditionally, whatever I might think or feel, frees me to let it all out.
And so it was today.
At first I was full of sorrow and worries, thinking about the many things I ought to do in the future – for others. The more I thought about that, the more I felt lumps of anger forming within my heart and within my throat. Anger of not being able to live MY OWN LIFE. Although God often nudged me to truly let it all out, I did not dare it in the beginning until I felt those lumps increasing and eventually “exploding” inside of me.
Then I was weeping and complaining about why God gave me so much to do which I cannot handle. I asked Him why He had not yet helped me see those things more clearly and to simplify my life. God instead asked me three times tenderly, “Are you angry with me?”
However, two times I explained to Him why I was angry with others. And indeed it also felt good to disclose my wrath against those who seemingly “control” my life. Yet as God asked me for the third time, Susanne honestly replied, “Yes, I am mad at You, too.”
And believe or not – at that moment I felt free – and peaceful – and joyful as well.