I have always hated the saying, “You can’t win them all.”
In the interest of transparency, I admit that I am a recovering people-pleaser. I hate the idea of offending or upsetting anyone. I sometimes lay awake at night wondering if I could have phrased something better or if I should have handled a situation differently. Years after a negative confrontation, I can still feel my ears heat up when I think about it.
All this to say, I very badly want to win them all. I want everyone to like me, even though I know that’s not a realistic expectation, especially when I share my personal thoughts on a public platform. That’s just the life of a blogger.
A few months ago, I received several negative comments on one of my blog posts, and it made me think about throwing in the towel. In fact, one commenter encouraged me to do just that.
If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
I remember praying that night and thinking that no matter what I said, I was going to offend someone, whether it was with my faith, my words, or my opinion. I knew that I couldn’t please everyone, but I still wanted to.
And God responded by giving me the image of a boat floating in the ocean.
If you are a fellow people-pleaser, maybe this message will help you, too:
Boats float on the water. They can be completely surrounded and still stay above the waves. They don’t sink until the water gets inside them.
What we let in matters.
What we choose to absorb, what we choose to let define us, it matters.
In Mark 4, Jesus calmed the storm. He spoke to the wind and the waves, and the water didn’t come into the boat.
When I let the Holy Spirit take control, I can withstand the storm. When I claim the identity Jesus gave me, the water can’t come in my boat. That disapproval or offense can’t touch me. The shame and the guilt that comes from letting someone down can’t interfere with the calling on my life. When Jesus is in my boat, my boat doesn’t sink.
It’s true that I can’t win them all, but I don’t need to. My job is simply to pursue Jesus and trust Him with the storm.
“Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink; May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters.”