Noah was standing at the bottom of the slide at the playground, crying. Calling for his friend, his voice quivered and broke under the strain of holding back tears. It was a scene not unlike many others; a kid at the park was being a bully.
Like other times before with different bullies, the meaner this little guy was the more Noah sought his playful attention. I pull Noah aside and asked him what is going on; his response is almost always the same:
"I just love my friend *insert name here* and want to play with him/her so bad! He/she is my good friend."
With a little help from this (self proclaimed and proud of it) helicopter mama, the kids usually figure it out. Thus far I have managed not to threaten a young child, but holy cow, does a bully make my blood boil.
The thing that always confuses me is that Noah WANTS to play with these kids that are hurting his feelings. They will be actively saying unkind things, and Noah will still respond with a plea for play.
After the park, when Noah and Amelia were busy playing at home, I called a girlfriend to vent about the afternoon. After my diatribe and my exasperated, "I just don't understand why he WANTS to play with these children that are so mean!" my friend laughs, saying "Well, gee, I wonder where he gets it from?"
I am a people pleaser. I have been since I was a little girl. This is a character trait that I have always loved about myself, however, somewhere along the lines it has changed from 'I just want the people around me to be happy' to 'I just want the people around me to accept me'.
My Noah is a pleaser of the people; he, too, wants those around him to be happy. When there is conflict over play time with a peer, Noah is usually the first to cave; to concede his ideas for playtime to those of his playmate. And I realized that my friend was right... and now I am faced with a whole lot more self evaluation than I was expecting after an afternoon at the park!
I have never once felt like I have low self esteem. However, as I pray over why I put pleasing the peoples over my own needs and feelings, I was struck with the reality that I often times feel like I am not enough.
The friend that is inconsistent (at best) and self involved (at worst): I find myself bring fresh baked goodies, while forgiving slights and snubs. All because I need affirmation that I am enough.
The abusive boyfriend: I forgive the temper, the punched out walls, the projectile picture frames. All because I need affirmation that I am enough.
When did I start looking to other people for affirmation? When did being a pleaser of the people cross the threshold into being a doormat?
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
This. This is everything. Remembering that
gives me strength to stop trying to please the people when it comes with a personal cost. To let go of the people that hurt me. I might not ever be 'enough' in their eyes, but theirs are not the Eyes that matter.
My prayer for both of my children is that they feel such self confidence and worth through Jesus Christ, that when they hear a kid say "I don't want to play with you!" at the park, they shrug their shoulders and let it go. Don't please the bullies; please God. Please those who see how wonderful you are. Be affirmed in this truth; God created you, fearfully and wonderfully, and that is all the affirmation you need.