Three friends decided to go fishing. They got all their gear together and piled into the fishing boat. The man who owned the boat trolled out to a particular spot and dropped the anchor. One of the three questioned the spot, but decided to go along when the second man agreed with the owner of the boat that it was a fine spot. Not too long into their fishing, the owner of the boat told the others that he forgot the special hooks he brought for the day in the truck. He stepped out of the boat and trotted across the lake to the truck as the third man looked at the second man in shock. The second man suddenly remembered that he forgot his snack in the back seat of the truck. So he stepped out of the boat and trotted across the lake to the truck. The third man could not believe his eyes. Both of these men seemingly walked across the water. “Well, if they can do it I can too!” he exclaimed. He stepped out of the boat and went straight to the bottom of the lake. The first looked at the second and said, “I guess we should have told him where the rocks were!”
How different this man’s trip to the shore could have been if someone had told him which rock to balance on? Do you ever feel that someone forgot to show you where the rocks were hiding?
When Gordon and I first began our ministry, I really wanted someone to clue me in on what to do. I read books and prayed, but for the most part I was clueless. How I longed for someone to talk to who had been where I was and could offer some insight to the ton of new responsibilities I was undertaking. A majority of the things I learned were by trial and a lot of error. So in essence I learned that the first rock I need to balance on was the rock of pleasing God.
As people pleaser, I often handled things on how others viewed my actions and this included my family and church members. (I think I have alluded to this briefly in another post.) I wanted every one to be happy. Now I know that in the “real world” this was not possible, but I figured that certainly if I focused and tried hard enough it was indeed possible. I ended up putting so much pressure on myself to succeed that instead I failed over and over again. The Lord showed me that where people are involved everyone is not going to be happy all the time. We are fallible and so far from perfect. We cannot expect perfect results when we have imperfect people living in an imperfect world. What I needed to do was to focus on pleasing him, and to find a balance in my life that was livable.
I came across a verse that I have probably read several times, yet I really saw it today. In Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Paul is speaking in the context of bringing another Gospel to the church of Galatia. He says that he would not do that, and if any one else does to let him be accursed. His overwhelming focus here is his drive of pleasing God rather than pleasing men. This surely applies in my own life as well. I call myself the servant of Christ. I strive to do his will. Do I have the evidence of pleasing God in my life to back up this claim?
Finding balance in life is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. It is so easy to slide from one extreme to another like a pendulum. It is so easy to try not to please others when so often they go out of their way to be critical and hurtful. We are human and self preservation kicks in many times. Yet, I would rather have others upset with me than God to be upset with me. I saw a quote on Ron Jackson’s blog the other day that goes along with this theme. It read, “I have learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I need to live my life in such a way that no one will believe it.” Even then, sometimes people will believe the worst. Should that stop us from doing right? No. Should it drive us forward to please God more? Indeed, yes!!!
The balance I seek may take a long time, but I will not give up. May we keep searching till we make it to Heaven’s shore.