With all the persistent political hoopla surrounding us these days, I’m reminded of a true story I heard a while back.
“Is your job difficult?” asked a journalist while interviewing a Chief of Staff to the President of the United States.
“No,” replied the Chief of Staff. “I have only one constituent to please.”
Exhausting Juggling Act
Recently I talked with several talented and dedicated Christian friends who struggle with trying to please the many people around them. Mother, father, sibling, spouse, child, friend, boss, pastor—it runs the gamut. Yet from personal experience and from my interactions with others, I’ve noticed that we walk an emotional-mental-spiritual tightrope when we attempt to juggle all the desires and demands of everybody around us. Usually we end up pleasing no one, while driving ourselves to overload. It gets exhausting. In fact, it’s really a no-win way to live.
In the end, we who have chosen to follow Christ have only one constituent: God. And through our relationship with His Son, He offers us grace, mercy and unconditional acceptance, whether we’re feeling spiritual or utterly human.
Praying It Through
So, I find myself praying something like this: Lord God, I’m tired of trying to do and be what everyone one else wants. If I keep this up, I’ll never become the person You created me to be. I’m going to change my pattern to do what I believe You designed for me. Please give me wisdom-laced courage.
Life Coaching Q: Whose expectations are you trying to meet this week? Consider one intentional action step that will free you up. I’d love to hear about your action step.
Story adapted from my devotional book, It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life.
Abuse Reality: Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted and of the millions of sexual abuse and rape victims, 15 percent are under the age of 12, according to a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Justice. Critically acclaimed author Mary DeMuth is among the millions of adults who are victims of childhood rape and are living with the emotional scars of the haunting abuse.
It’s a sad reality. In my life coaching, speaking/teaching, mentoring and travels, I’ve heard the stories from some of those other women who like Mary have experienced the confusion and hurt of abuse and unfairness. I think they could read respected author Mary DeMuth’s latest book and identify–and not feel so alone.
Someone Understands: DeMuth bravely shares her painful story in her new memoir, Thin Places (February 2010). Repeatedly raped by two neighborhood boys at a young age, DeMuth details her traumatic and disturbing childhood in the memoir. Raised in a broken home, she lost her biological father when she was ten and was stripped of her innocence growing up in an unstable environment where drugs were commonplace.
A few weeks ago, I got Mary’s book, Thin Places, and began reading it at night by the light of a tiny lamp that I clipped to the book’s back cover. I could hardly put it down when I had to go to sleep. I agree with another author friend who said Mary’s memoir is a raw, real and hope-filled message.
Hope and Healing: Thin Places is more about healing than it is about the traumatic events of DeMuth’s childhood. According to DeMuth, thin places are “snatches of time, moments really, when we sense God intersecting our world in tangible, unmistakable ways.” When she encountered the true love of Jesus at a Young Life camp in high school, DeMuth’s life trajectory changed. God reassembled the pieces of her emotionally fragile self, which initiated true healing and peace.
“Folks may wonder why I’ve spent all this time looking back,” says DeMuth, “dredging up what God sees of my story, what my eyes see. Jesus says truth sets people free. This is my way of doing that—of telling the stark truth on the page so others can be set free.”
I (Joan) understand what Mary means. My own mission statement is: Empowered by my deepening friendship with the Triune God, I help set people free (to become who God designed them to be and from what holds them back.) Remembering is part of that–and it’s okay with God. The word “remember” is mentioned at least 166 times in the Bible. I recommend you read Mary DeMuth’s memoir, Thin Places, and discover how God has worked in your life in the past and how He wants to bring hope and healing to you in the now. Learn more about Mary at http://marydemuth.com.
Parts of this book review blog have been adapted from http://www.blogtourspot.com/2010/02/thin-places-blog-tour
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.