Rusty A. Lang (Pseudonym for Marlene Anne Morphew@AnneMorphew)
‘Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.’
Fifteen years ago I was recovering from an emotional breakdown.
The church I attended was helping me back on my feet. Their ladies group, a fledgling ministry, met once a month in different homes as a form of outreach.
I was surprised when asked to speak one month. The pastor felt it would be a confidence builder and part of my restoration. Nervous, I agreed. I was given guidelines on time length, topic and dress code (skirt or dress). I balked at the latter.
Nevertheless I complied. The talk went well. I had gained something but felt I also lost something. Pleasing people and acting like a sanitised cookie cutter Christian was not me. Nor was it who God made me.
Part of my restoration was establishing my own identity separate from ministry and relationships (of the past). I discovered I was a jeans woman. I did not enjoy or look to dress like every other woman in church.
Extricating myself from the “pleasing people” syndrome has been a learning curve.
- Submission does not require full compliance.
- Giving into coercion does not make a closer relationship.
- Allowing a doormat seed to sprout only brings on more abuse, intimidation, bullying and control.
Transparency, honesty and obedience to God alone has brought peace and joy to my life. Letting go of toxic relationships and building healthy new alignments takes time. Running away is not the answer. I had to stay in place and battle my way towards inner strength. But I did not do it alone, The Lord was with me all the way.
Since the release of my book, many people ask if it was a therapeutic exercise. I can honestly say no. God had done all the work he wanted to do in my life to that point and it was simply an exercise to bring hidden darkness into the light.
To write a survivor or overcomer type testimony while still emotionally damaged becomes maudlin and keeps hurts and wounds green. To write a book on healing of emotions after God has brought you through encourages others he will do the same for them.
How do I know?
The audience at a library book signing was small but very responsive. After the guests left, the librarian apologised for the number of people. She explained what happened the last time the library hosted a writer with a survivor theme. The writer was still suffering emotional damage and it left everyone depressed.
Journals are an excellent way to vent emotions throughout a healing process. Then the lessons learned written in a manuscript with honest illustrations reap great benefit to others.
Still a Jeans person
The only time I leave my jeans at home is when I travel to cultures where it is dishonouring. Then I dress to please God and it is my choice.
'For am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.'
In what area of your life are you trying to please people to gain their approval?