Being unliked.

7 Sep

For the last thirty years, I’ve been a people-pleaser to some degree or another.  It’s changed as I’ve grown, matured, moved, faced different circumstances, been surrounded by different people and so forth.

In Elementary school, I remember saying and doing different things that I wouldn’t have done from what I’d been taught at home, simply because I wanted to be part of the popular crowd.

In High School, this escalated in a totally different directions.  I was really desperate for affirmation, acceptance, love, popularity, and belonging that I essentially had to start living two lives.  What – A – Mess!!

Once I graduated high school, I carried a TON of these bad habits with me into my adult life because it’d been what I’d used to survive until that point.  This proved to start my adult life in a horrible direction. I had to start dealing with three realities.  The person I was, the person people thought I was, and the person I use to be.

If anything has ever served as an intense, painful, but life-changing inescapable truth in my life, it’s that

Nothing you say or do gets erased this side of eternity.  The negative consequences of your past can follow you wherever you go, even if you’re forgiven.

It wasn’t until about 3 years ago when I really established myself with some good Christian friends who didn’t know anyone else I knew, didn’t have preconceived ideas about who I was, and had their own pasts they were running from forgiven for, that I settled into accepting that not everyone was going to like me in life.  And that had to be OK.

I struggle with the feeling that people think negative or mean things about me.  I genuinely want good things for everyone – I don’t wish ill on anyone.  I feel so misunderstood when I know people think I’m cruel or rude.

For a  long time, I teetered between being honest about my convictions at all, and then being too harsh about them.  It’s a tough balance to stand firm in what you believe, but not tick off anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

Another great point to realize is that in life – MOST PEOPLE TAKE EVERYTHING PERSONALLY!!!!

And since the gospel is offense to those who don’t live by it, and I believe the gospel is infallible, it’s unavoidable that I’m going to upset people personally.

I try to explain to my kids that peer pressure, wanting people to like you, wanting to fit in, and wanting to be accepted are simply not things only children struggle with.  This is just as real a temptation for adults as it is children.  But accepting at a younger age that compromise only leads to painful consequences might make for a brighter future than pressing on through the murky waters of double standards your whole life.

I saw this picture this week and I think it sums it up pretty well.

Peach

Practical Application –

We just added this phrase to our kitchen wall this week.  It is the first thing you see as you enter our home, and it’s above our kitchen table so when we sit for supper each night and talk about our days – we have this truth above us to guide us.

The approval of the Lord matters more than the applause of man.

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6 Responses to “Being unliked.”

  1. howsyourlovelife September 7, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    When we lived in MN our pastor said that people should have a strong feeling about you as they drive past your house; either they feel love and respect for who you are, or unexplainable disdain for what you stand for. The danger is in having them feel nothing. Really got my attention and changed my perspective.

    • Kayla Gulick September 7, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Wow — that’s a big statement. I need to let that really sink in and meditate on that awhile. Good stuff!

  2. Gleniece September 7, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Not so long ago I had to make a heart-rending choice. Would I support my sister in blatant sin and ignore the Word of God? Or would I cut off the hand that offends and enter into life maimed? I chose the latter. I chose to cling to Christ while my heart broke in little pieces. I had to make this same decision with my mother who, although she claimed Christ her actions denied Him and I couldn’t have this contradiction infecting my marriage and children. Jesus Christ said…for whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother, and my sister, and my mother (Matt. 12:50). We have a natural desire to be liked and please those around us (especially family). But at what price? We may find ourselves forced to make painful choices, but God will reward us a hundredfold in the life to come. Blessings to you, Kayla, for bringing up this important topic.

    • Kayla Gulick September 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Oh Gleniece – my heart hurts reading your words. I’m so sorry for the broken family relationships. I do know what that is like. May God work restoration where there seems to be no hope and show how BIG He is! Praying for you!

  3. Rachel Self September 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    My entire life I’ve moved quite a bit. The longest I’ve lived anywhere is 6 years, and the shortest is 2 years. Each move brought so much growth–because I felt free to “be” the person I wanted to be, without anyone thinking it was weird that I had changed/grown.

    I’m a PK so I always felt a lot of expectations. But with each move, the new people had no idea what to expect from me. It was…really nice!

    BUT, I also never learned to build deep friendships until college. With each move, I truly left behind my old world & my old “me”. Honestly–that’s something I still work on quite a bit! It’s really hard to grow/change as God leads, when you know others may respond in negative way…

    • Kayla Gulick September 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      I could see how I would have relished the life of moving and creating a new “me”! But I also see the challenges you mention of building deep friendships. So glad that you’re able to grow and work on things you learned and spin them into a ministry tool now 🙂

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