PERSISTENTLY PRESSING PAUSE ON PURPOSE PRESSURE AND PEOPLE PLEASING
Do you have an electronic device or daily calendar filled with the day to day events/schedules of all the things you need to check off and or get completed? Do you feel even remote anxiety or guilt if you don’t get to place an accomplished checkmark next to a few of the items on your to-do agenda every day? For those who are busy moms and dads – are your children enrolled in more extracurricular activities than you ever remember existing during your days as a child? What about when you are amongst other parents who feel the need to go through their chosen highlight reel of all the numerous activities their kids are enrolled in such as classical piano, soccer, competition football, cheerleading, orchestra, robotics, and the list goes on and on? Do you ever feel the pressure to try and keep up with what others are doing? If you uttered a slight yes or head nod to any of the previous questions – then this heart to heart conversation is just what you need.
Many will be quick to say we live in different times as adults compared to when we were children and there is an important need to keep up with the advances of society as it relates to all aspects of life. While I do agree with the first part of that statement, I have come to realize something very important through my personal walk with God. The word of God reminds us in Romans 12:2 "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (MSG)" God's will for our lives does not include the stress and anxiety which comes from filling up our schedules with so many activities while trying to keep up with everyone else. I will be the first one to admit that I used to be guilty of signing my children up for activities and Saturdays felt like I was on absolute auto pilot mode as we moved from choir rehearsals, to dance practice to tutoring and everything else in between. Following my divorce, the Holy Spirit started dealing with me, with respect to Peace and what that truly looks like. So I sat my oldest daughter down to inform her we needed to cut out her dance classes. To my surprise, she was happy to give that activity up because she knew she wanted to do good in school and she had already taken dance classes for almost six years. Many times the pressures we place on ourselves as parents have little to do with what our children want. I remember growing up, my parents did not have a whole lot of extra money for us to participate in extracurricular activities. Although, I did run track in middle school and participated on the Debate team, these things did not require much money. Years later, with hard work and determination, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Spelman College. In other words, in the absence of all the extra stuff and activities, I turned out just fine.
Here's what I know for sure when we get to heaven as believers, we will not be placed in groups based upon how many accolades we accomplished or how many extra-curricular activities our children were involved in on earth. In fact my degree and Summa Cum Laude status will not even matter at all. What will matter most is how I led others to know Christ and to make him known and how I was able to love others just as Christ first loved us. As parents, we are responsible for directing our children to the Lord first and foremost and fully relying on of the Holy Spirit to direct us as to what path is best for them to travel upon. We can certainly tap into and steer them into using their gifts to their full potential but while here on earth, we must learn the art of Persistently Pressing the Pause button on Purpose related Pressures and People Pleasing. Pleasing God should be our number “1” focus and priority! The bible reminds us in Mark 8:36-37 “What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for (MSG)? Remember, you were fearfully and wonderfully made for such a time as this.