Justification

In February of 2013 I wrote this blog:

I wrote it to whomever reads this blog….and to myself. It was a challenge, and I failed MISERABLY!! Here’s an excerpt from that blog that I wrote:

“I struggle with the idea of saying NO because I want to honor that relationship that I have created (built) with that particular individual, and I’m scared that they will think less of me, if I say NO.

But, serving another in need should come from a free choice, not out of duty or coercion. When serving no longer is a free choice, it creates exhaustion, resentment, and in reality, a relationship is damaged because love is not part of the equation anymore. It has been replaced with coercion and guilt.”

I wanted to learn how to say NO this year…..and I did, but not without cost.

If you know anything about our personal life you know that, for me, 2013 was a H-A-R-D year: emotionally, spiritually, in ministry, in marriage, in friendships….I spent a majority of the year trying to justify my actions (both good and bad-depending on the judge), whether it was to Paul, to people at church, to my friends, but most of all, to myself. If I could just justify why I did (or didn’t) do something, then I thought it would make everything right. It made for a very emotionally exhausting year, 300+ days of trying to “right the wrong” or “explain myself.”

I’m hoping (and praying) 2014 will be better. More free-ing. And, this year, despite my complete FAILURE last year, I’m going to learn how to say NO and that’s it–no explanation needed. (Keep reading for further explanation)….

Along with the idea of service, is the idea of justification. For many people (myself included), if we do decide to say “no” or make a particular decision, we feel the only way to accept our own decision that we just made is to justify it. We second guess ourselves….we questions ourselves….we talk ourselves out of it…..we talk ourselves into it….it’s a constant stress circle that can certainly heighten coercion and guilt, as mentioned above.

Here’s some words of wisdom:

Stop trying to explain yourself….to yourself. You’ll drive yourself crazy!!

And stop trying to justify your actions to anyone!

Besides….

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” -Wayne Dyer

As I said in this post, I am a “people-pleaser”—it’s true. I hate, more than anything, to make someone upset with me or with a “situation” that I might’ve caused/created. I want to please others. I want to be liked. I want the praise.

I have lived most of my life concerned about what people think and try to give explanation for those feelings.

Here’s an example:

{We lived in Illinois for 3 years, 2009-2012. During that time I made certain “friends” on FB because we went to Jazzercise together. Well, about 6-8 months after we moved to Texas (mid-summer 2012) I “cleaned” my friends list on FB, unfriending some of those from Jazzercise. Well, it turns out, this other girl who I was still “friends” with unfriended me right after that (which I didn’t even notice).

Then, about 6 months later, in January of 2013, she messaged me and said, “I hope we can be FB friends again. I’m sorry I unfriended you before. I was just hurt that you unfriended _____and _______ right after you moved….Hope all is well, ________.

My response: “_______, Please understand I had no intentions of hurting anyone’s feelings (yours, _____, or ______)….. I think each of us have certain “chapters” in our lives where we live, work, play and when we move, that “chapter” is over. Our local Jazzercise program was part of the chapter of my life in Illinois but not here. So…..it was not personal at all (towards you, ____, or ______)–it was just that I guess I thought I was really (just) “friends” with them on FB because of Jazzercise….. Anyway, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I did not mean to at all. And yes, it’s fine.}

(I know that was a really long, boring story, but the point is…..)

I had to justify why I unfriended someone on Facebook. Really?!! I just felt like I was a teenager again, trying to make-up with my friend, after a fight. Hello! I’m 33 years old; I think I’m old enough to be able to make decisions without having to justify my reasons. (and, I still stick by my reason—it hasn’t changed).

I just made another big decision this past week (at least it’s a big decision for me, in my life).

I quit the Children’s Committee at church. (gasp)!

Yes, I quit. Mid-year. Just quit….but let me tell you, this was NOT an easy decision. I have been thinking about it, talking about it, praying about it, JUSTIFYING it, since November.

In November I wrote this e-mail to a friend….

“….I am going to quit the Children’s Committee (a volunteer position that I’ve had and I’ve been ‘in charge of’ for the past year and a half). Paul and I both agree that this is what is best for me (AND MORE IMPORTANTLY for our marriage) but I am so nervous that I won’t be able to handle it–NOT being on the committee. I have a VERY STRONG personality when it comes to wanting to be in control and in charge….which is what some of the problem is of me being on the Children’s Committee because I do everything-pretty much by myself, without help. Anyway, could you pray for me? I know it’s the best decision for our marriage and our ministry together but it’s hard….and the hard thing is do I give up EVERYTHING I do or just being on the committee?)

This was written on November 23rd, and I just quit this past Thursday, the 9th of JANUARY!! It took me 6 1/2 weeks to quit. I spent 6 1/2 weeks talking myself out of it, talking myself BACK into it, reasoning why it was a good idea, reasoning why it was a bad idea, etc. I went AROUND AND AROUND by myself, with Paul, with friends, with GOD, praying, talking, crying, etc. and finally I just DID IT! But, I’m still justifying it, and it’s so hard….

As Christians who WANT to serve and DESIRE to serve, we often try to make appearances to the people around us. (We pretend and we wear a mask, disguising the fact that our ministry for the Kingdom is suffering). We are also faced with many decisions that can result in people judging us or having influence on our choices. It’s very easy to sometimes not make your own choice, and instead do what others want you to do allowing yourself to not be confident with your own decisions and cultivating an unhappy lifestyle. (BINGO)!!

So, because I FAILED MISERABLY with the idea of saying NO last year, maybe this year I’ll work on not worrying about justification or explanation along with being OK with saying NO.

Here’s what I think:

  • People who explain things often spend too much time waiting for approval from others or gaining enough permission to make his or her choices. (that’s me, that’s me)!!…..Since that person does not have the confidence to stick by their own choices, they end up having other people guiding their lives. This can result in missed opportunities, a lack of independent actions and unhappiness.
  • You have to trust yourself and stop finding the need to justify your actions and decisions to others. (Remember: “What other people think of me is none of my business.” -Wayne Dyer)
  • Learn to accept that people will see you for both your strengths and weaknesses and that is fine.
  • We often feel the need to justify our feelings, like everyone outside is watching and forming judgments. The truth is they often are.

But, Romans 14:10-14 (The Message) states, “So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:

‘As I live and breathe,’ God says,
every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
    that I and only I am God.’

So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.
Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I’m convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.”
So, let’s do each other a favor and stop “questioning” one another, and instead, rejoice with one another, blessing each other in service and in love.
And, to end here’s another exrcept from the blog earlier this year….

When I’m asked to take on another responsibility (whether it’s a one-time thing or a new role in life) I have (slowly) learned to ask myself:

  • Is this of God?
  • Do I have the time and the resources?
  • Am I doing this out of love or guilt?

If by all means you feel like it’s the Holy Spirit and you are entering into it with gladness, then SERVE!

But, if not, then simply say NO.

There is freedom in that word.

(This is a good reminder as we start 2014)….

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One thought on “Justification

  1. Pingback: Year in Review 2014 | Finding Refuge

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