Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Anti-Harried Wives Club: Stop Wanting Everyone to Like You

Whew! Vanity. Got that sin in spades. The cure for vanity is great fidelity to Christ. I work on pleasing the one sinless guy in my life-who ironically is pretty easily pleased by me--and let the constant inner "shredding" of trying to be all things to all people all the time fly out the window.

Here's are two shortcuts I've adopted to getting over my people pleasing hump. First, I know that wherever I show up (church, prayer groups, homeschool co-ops, civic meetings, etc.) 1/3 of the people aren't going to like me, 1/3 of the people don't care a hoot about me, and 1/3 of the people do like me. It took off a lot of stress to stop worrying about every negative comment made in a Target parking lot, or every not-so-kind stare in Daily Mass. ("Oh, that's to be expected. That's the negative 1/3).

Secondly, instead of freaking out about the negative stuff, I'm trying to rejoice in the positive interactions during my day. If we're both in Christ, that "I recognize Him in you" means that a deep friendship can start very quickly. It's beautiful!

Another shortcut, which I started trying this Fall is "say no to things without giving a reason!" I think the full mantra is "No, from an adult is a complete sentence." As wives, we have to say no to good things all the time. "No" means, "I'm going to stay home tonight and play Scrabble with my honey." We've got a lot of intricate balancing acts going on in our lives. The stranger at cub scouts doesn't need the details behind why Mom is canceling her son's appearance at the Raingutter Regatta.

We ladies are way too easily offended at regrets for social obligations, and committee work. My real friends are going to understand when I say "Sorry we can't make it, hope you have fun!" I'm a wife after all. My work is obvious. There are also going to be people who flip out "What do you mean you're not going? We need you! The Church needs you! Are you mad at me or something?" Rather than fall into the trap of saying "Oh course, I'm not mad---I've got X.Y. Z going on.." I'm trying to step out of the drama.

It's about me, Jesus, and my husband Jon. If the three of us decide that something is off limits--it is, no explanations necessary. We three committee members are the only ones with voting rights in my life. When I stop trying to please the world, and start trying to please Jesus --guess what? Life is clear. Life is more fun. Life is a lot less "harried."


  1. Loving this series - especially this one.

    "No from an adult is a complete sentence." I think I need to tatoo that on my forehead, on my hand, and maybe etch into my phones (work and cell).

  2. I could not agree more, I feel so affirmed in the choices that my husband and I have made. We say no to things all the time now and it makes the things we do say yes to so much more enjoyable and meaningful.

  3. I've been saying 'no' to lots lately. It seems more and more as I go on in this life. i love the 'thirds' way of thinking. so true. thanks for this.

  4. So does this mean that we should expect ourselves to dislike 1/3 of the people we meet? And if so, should we accept that from ourselves too? What do we need to do when we realize we dislike someone?

    Also, about for saying no to things...It's good and appropriate to sometimes say no before committing yourself to something. But I really think it's disrespectful when people - and it's mostly other mothers who seem to be guilty of this - accept an invitation for some event or gathering (even when it's informal), and then back out last minute. Things happen sometimes, I get that - especially when you have kids. But I think a lot of people are too quick to decide to stay home, not realizing the trouble or disappointment it causes to the other people who were attending. I only let serious reasons cause me to break an engagement.

  5. Another relevant post, thank you again. It's amazing how I can find so many of my own experiences in your posts. Thank you for the committee approach-Jesus, Self,Spouse. If I could be better at it, maybe I could do a better job encouraging my 7th grader of the same fact. In regards to saying no, I don't believe it is to invitations for fellowship as much as saying no to additional responsibilities that take one away from Christ and family. When I equate my busyness with my worth, I neglect the people who mean the most to me by serving others.
    Thank you Abigail and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  6. Nope, I disagree Christina! I think it's fine to say no to things at the last moment.

    Sometimes my husband comes home from work and it's been a horrible day for him, a horrible commute--like just last night--and so I skipped our Church's special Thanksgiving Mass. I told the church secretary that I'd be there, I totally expected to be in church adding an extra smiling face to the crowd--but I saw my husbands face at 6:05 PM and thought, there is no way I can get this tired man fed and out the door in 42 minutes. So my plans to attend Church that night went out the window.

    If you are throwing a party and you get "mad" --you need to ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" If a party or event is truly for Christ, it doesn't matter if no one is there. It's for him. There aren't conditions on it.

    And it's totally dumb to get mad if a girlfriend changes plans because she's got a kid throwing up, or an extra stressed husband, or she's pregnant and suddenly has no energy at 6 PM.

    Our Job is to our marriage first---always!

    There are way to many times I put my family second and try to "not look flakey " to church friends. That vanity stops right now in my life!

  7. Thanks everyone. This series is all about "things I'm still learning the hard way, in my life" so all writing credit really goes to God!

  8. Thinking more about this--it's about having humility as a wife. Your life is not about you. At any moment, you need to put aside your own "agenda" for the day--and tend to the needs of your husband, your child and yourself.

    As a wife, you a vital to another human being. Your husband depends on you for his very breathe. You don't have the option anymore of running yourself down, running him down or running down your kids in a mad quest to please other people.

    Charity begins at home! First tend to your marriage, then your kids. Only in your quote "free time==which might be mostly non-existant while young babies in your womb or your home" can you extend charity to neighbors at church or in your community. First things first!