So remember that store we talked about, the one you went to and shopped at and eventually realized was just the wrong store for you? And remember how any reasonable person would eventually own up to their mistake and make their way to the right store?
Yes, so imagine if you will, that you left that store, finally, with great trepidation, anxiety, embarrassment, etc., only to have the manager declare that the whole store must subsequently close. That’s right–Target didn’t have what you needed, and because of that, Target will now be closed. For ever. Regardless of who else might be shopping at just the right store at just that moment.
Of course, we’re still not talking about Target. But imagine if that happened? Imagine if your leaving meant that everyone else was ousted by force (in case it’s hard for you to imagine, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that it feels like crap). Then imagine if you were blamed for it? Even though it wasn’t my fault, even though someone has taken over and the group will be just fine, I’m still the person who gets the comments (or hears them from behind my back) that I blindsided people, abandoned them, and basically ruined everything. Talk about amping up the ordeal to the Nth degree.
See, I’m a people-pleaser. I might as well wear a t-shirt it’s so obvious. That’s why I stayed where I was–didn’t want to disappoint, didn’t want to be alone, didn’t want to reject what was obviously a coveted spot. But I finally get the courage to do what I needed to do–horror of horrors: just for me–and it turns into this firestorm. It’s a people-pleaser’s nightmare. The worst part? Because I’m not in the group anymore, I can’t defend myself. I can’t explain myself. And I can’t go back and change anything so that it all happens differently, the way I somehow imagined it in my head. So I just sit here, people-pleaser style, and fret.
I understand that this was what I had to do, that God has wanted me to do this for some time. So I have to hope that this trial–this special kind of silent suffering I’m enduring–is a lesson both in character building and in the consequences to not listening in the first place. But it is heartbreaking. While everyone else lost an organizer, I was admittedly never part of any of their “inner circle” (a phrase I’ve heard way too much recently, especially considering that we’re all supposed to be grown-ups). But I’ve lost a group I’ve been a part of for most of my children’s lives. I stare at my empty calendar and miss my lost friends and hate knowing how they think of me, the one who caused it all (however inadvertently). It’s a tremendous loss that has left me lonely and sad and shaken.
But that’s a good thing, too. Right? Because sometimes you have to let go of everything to have free hands for something new. And what a way to break the people pleasing habit to be in a place where you can’t effect what people think about you. But it seems like this week has been a bit heavy on the lessons, and heavy on the heart. I want to perk up and move on and enjoy the holiday weekend. But I feel a bit like a beaten down dog fighting the urge just to lie on the ground. And I’m pretty sure that’s not the place God needs me to be either. But while I’m on a roll with a mistakes–a roll that has been going on for way too long, no that it’s anyone’s fault but my own–I might as well lie down for a while anyway.
I know, I know. I’m getting up. But it was very tempting…