I spent much of my life worrying about how to please people.
I was very shy when I was a kid, and as a young adult I was very concerned with others accepting me. My happiness in life centered on being liked and being popular.
But I came to realize that the people who liked me, and even the people who loved me, would let me down.
I had gone to church all of my life and thought I was a Christian because of my church attendance. After I began college, my roommate returned from class one day saying she had just become a Christian.
Her newfound faith was very intriguing since I thought just about everyone was a Christian.
When I began to ask questions, she asked if I would be willing to talk to a Cru staff member named Cathy. I agreed.
When I met with Cathy, she explained how I could know God personally using the Four Spiritual Laws booklet. We read through each of the four steps, and I learned about God’s love, my sin, Jesus’ death on the cross and how to receive Christ as my personal Savior.
I told Cathy I would think about praying and inviting Christ into my life. I feared becoming a Christian would mean long dresses, wearing my hair in a bun and being sent off to a foreign land. That would not satisfy my popularity addiction!
Eventually, I realized that while I wasn’t hostile to God, He really wasn’t a part of my day-to-day life. I became convinced that since He loved and created me, His plan for me would be the very best – it would be fulfilling and satisfying.
I decided I wanted more of Him in my life and prayed, asking Him to take control.
Since some of my greatest needs in life were pleasing others and being accepted by them, I was afraid of what my friends would think if I became “religious.” I wasn’t sure about risking those friendships for this new adventure.
Then I realized that being loved by God was way more important than being loved by people. Those who truly loved and cared about me would respect my decision whether they agreed with it or not.
What God thinks of me is what’s really important now. His love for me is unconditional, but I still want to love Him back by pleasing Him.
My focus is not on me all the time anymore but on how God wants to love and care for others through me.
God has loved me since the beginning of time. As His love fills me, it spills out onto people around me, and sometimes they want His love filling them too.
Mimi Bailey lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. She works as an account manager for LesConcierges, managing 11 concierges around the country that provide services to Fidelity Investments. Mimi enjoys being involved with her local church.
“... instead of having [people] accept me for who I was, I tried to change into the person I thought they wanted me to be.”
When we put words to the hard parts of our stories, we can give those around us a new picture of who Jesus is.
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