I used to live my life according to a certain set of rules. Those rules dictated that I do everything in my power to please both God and everyone around me. I was quite a tyrant on myself to live out this self-imposed code. I had to work harder and longer than anyone else so I could not be accused of being lazy, and I had to do perfect work so I could not be criticized for being dumb or inadequate, and I had to explain myself constantly lest anyone question my ambition or motives. (I now know this cycle has a name: approval addiction.)
I’ll be honest, it’s an exhausting way to live. The notion of pleasing everyone is not only impossible long-term, it is completely insane. In fact, more often than not, pleasing our Creator means decidedly not bowing to the expectations of others. I don’t have to defend what my Savior asks of me. I simply have to trust it.
Incidentally, the steps my Savior leads me to take do strengthen my important relationships, my work, health — and sanity. (When I’m listening and obeying.)
We don’t have to explain our motives or actions (wrong or right) to the Creator of our hearts and minds. He already knows and is already blessing us for the right and teaching us through the wrong. We don’t have to earn his love — we already have it. I am finally learning to rest in that. (Not perfect at it, mind you. Learning.)
In the end – the VERY end – only my Creator gets to vote on how I lived my life. No one else gets a vote. The same is true for you.
We don’t redeem our wrong choices, our gracious Maker gets to do that. Therefore, we do not have to defend ourselves, or manipulate our story to put ourselves in a more flattering light, or figure out how to sway someone’s fleeting opinion in our direction so we can be well-liked. That path only leads to emptiness.
We simply have to follow the One who loves us best and rest in wherever that overwhelming Love leads us.
That truth will change your life. It sure has changed mine.