I’ve lived my life co-existing with a dilemma.
25 years of my existence spent torn between the truth of a reality yet learned, and the uncompromising weight of what my emotions told me was true.
It was a curse; a disease that threatened my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. As I’ve lived with this torment, I’ve realized that it’s not only a disease that affects my own soul: It’s a plague that has found its roots in all of our hearts.
My father was a High School baseball player, and from what I hear, he was a darn good one.
If I’m not mistaken, he, at one point, told me that he could deadlift a surplus of 500 pounds! Catchers had to be able to withstand substantial strain on their legs during a game. Strength was of the utmost for my dad at his position.
He may argue with me and say otherwise, but in my eyes, he’s a legend. Naturally, I wanted to be like him.
As a young boy, I took to the diamond to hone my skills and to become the player that my dad was. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that I lacked the basics of what it took to be a great baseball player: talent.
I wasn’t accurate with my arm. I was afraid of the ball. I often feared getting hit so I would avoid staying in the batter’s box when the pitch was delivered.
Basically, it was a nightmare for any aspiring young boy trying to impress his dad.
To my father’s credit, he was patient and longsuffering. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize, and sadly, admit that Baseball wasn’t my forte. I tried once more to play in High School, but nothing with my abilities had changed.
I went on to try my hand at other sports. Some of my ventures were successful and others were not. That’s life, right?
Although true, I never forgot the sting of the disappointment I felt when I failed with Baseball. It didn’t sting because I realized I wasn’t good enough or that I had felt like I had failed.
It stung because I felt like I had disappointed my Dad.
Before I progress, I know that wasn’t the case. I know that now, but as a young boy, it sent me spiraling into this lifestyle of perpetual people pleasing. I hated knowing, or even feeling like, I had let anyone down, especially my family.
I quickly became enamored with the idea of making the people around me
happy satisfied. I wanted them to be proud of me. I wanted them to sing my praises. I wanted to be looked upon highly and thought of with respect. As a young boy, a curse took hold of my heart.
Fast forward twenty years and you find me entrenched in two decades worth of lifestyle habits that cannot be easily broken. Much has changed, but that hatred of failure and that passion for pleasing still remain. If anything, I could argue it has only grown stronger.
I’ve faced many a moment of heartbreak in my life. I’ve battled depression, anxiety, and crippling fear. I watched my grandfather, who was one of my best friends and a father figure to me, die. I’ve failed more than a time or two and have suffered greatly with the consequences.
Above all, though, nothing has debilitated me more than knowing I’ve disappointed another human being. To my unfortunate credit, I’ve become a pro at it. In fact, the last few months of my life may have cemented that status for me.
I was almost fired my job, I lost the girl that I thought I was going to marry, and I quit pursuing the career that I had been chasing for eight years.
All three of these events happened in stunning fashion. Not a single one of them was planned or expected. Not all of the circumstances surrounding the first two events were fair, or even handled correctly, but it all happened, nonetheless.
I’ve had people who I thought were close to me verbally abuse me to my face and behind my back. I was told that no matter how much I wanted to grow, reality dictated that some people could never change. I was strung along with the hopes of a solid future, only to be stabbed in the back in the most crippling way.
To summarize all of the events of the last eight weeks: I was left hopeless and purposeless. I thought I had come to the end of myself before, but I feel like I took a deeper dive into the abyss of my depression.
I believed the lies that said I couldn’t change. I genuinely asked whether there was validity to the claim that I wasn’t worth investing in. I questioned whether I had made the right choice in the job I chose, the girl I dated, and the career I pursued.
I was stripped of all that mattered to me.
They say that life’s most valuable lessons are taught when the fire is the hottest, the thunder is the loudest and the pain is the deepest. My friends, I feel as though I have been burned, deafened by the storm, and reeling from the shock, but oh, how I have tasted the sweetness of the Lord.
Oh, how I have learned.
You see, here’s the bottom line about life and the core of what I’ve learned: You can try to please/satisfy everyone, but you won’t. You can strive to attain someone’s expectations for you, but you will never be good enough.
At the end of the day, I’m responsible for my actions, my words, and my heart/spiritual life. I don’t live to please people. I don’t live to become like any man. I also don’t depend on any human being for my own spiritual health and well-being.
I’ve spent the last twenty years aiming to live up to everyone’s expectations for myself, but I’ve failed to do so. Why? Because that’s not how life is supposed to be lived.
You and I were not created for the glory of man. We were created to live for the glory of God. There’s nothing wrong with seeking to be a kind person, a respectful person, or even a trustworthy individual. Those are all inspiring attributes to pursue, but that isn’t the end game.
I work, breathe, and live because of the Grace of God and for the glory of God. I can’t and won’t depend any longer on any other human being to do or be for me what I’m supposed to do and be.
I’m also not going to strive to please or attain any kind of goal that any person expects me to be. It’s futile and I’ve had enough of chasing after what’s futile.
I can only be faithful with what I can be faithful with. I’m called to be full of love, compassion, and kindness. I’m called to be a reminder of hope to the hopeless. I’m called to be a listening ear and a compassionate heart for the broken. I’m to be kind, respectful, and to contain a servant’s heart. I’m called to admit my mistakes and seek forgiveness when needed.
You’re called to do and be the same.
I wish that I had gotten this through my head many years ago, but I know all things work together for the glory of God and for the good of those who love Him. I pray that this would be an encouragement to you today.
You are loved.
You are valued.