People Pleaser

I remember a time a while back when my counselor rated me as a high "people-pleaser."  He informed me that this was something I need to work on, in the same excessively ginger tone you might use when telling a criminally insane friend that maybe hitting folks with tire irons is not the best way to win friends and influence people.  My natural reaction to this was, of course, immediately to become extremely defensive. Sure, I'm a people pleaser, I thought.  And good for me!  And good for people, too!  (Not that I actually said any of this out loud to him - wouldn't want to upset him by disagreeing!) People are pleased, and the people pleasers are pleased as a result - everybody's freakin' pleased!  I thought that it would maybe be a good idea to launch a nation-wide organization of people pleasers and take our complaints to Washington!

 I thought a whole big crowd would show up, but instead I got an enormous beige pile of beans.

I thought a whole big crowd would show up, but instead I got an enormous beige pile of beans.

Or perhaps not. At any rate, I understand perfectly well how people-pleasing can be bad - when it becomes turning the opinions of others into an idol. (See John 12:43) But on the other hand, this whole idea of "assertiveness" as healthy seems to run afoul of Jesus's admonition to turn the other cheek - to "not resist an evil person" (Matthew 5). Maybe the problem with people pleasers isn't that we let people walk all over us, it's that we whine so much afterward. I don't know. What do you think?

Cake Duty

Even though it's the barest of bare minimums in terms of God's mission for the poor, I still managed to find ways to have a less-than-pure attitude when I would accompany my house church group to homeless shelters to serve meals. There's not always enough chocolate cake, for one thing, so whoever's on "cake duty" has to have the sort of personality that can withstand nudging and cajoling from a few of the more assertive guests who want an extra piece - preferably someone who can wither somebody into a prune-like object with eye contact alone, like Rasputin, or my aunt.   I, on the other hand, am incapable of intimidating even small woodland mammals.  In fact, I'm so extremely sensitive, I apologize for all human contact.  I'm sorry if I brush against you on the train, or if my foot touches yours for any reason, or might have touched yours - or maybe a table leg (better safe than sorry!).  I'm really the last person you want standing between hungry people and chocolate cake.

 Evidently happiness indicates weakness.

Evidently happiness indicates weakness.

For some reason, I wound up on cake duty more often than not, while other people got to portion out spoonfuls from an endless, overflowing supply of peas.  For the record, most guests were great to interact with, but it didn't take many pushers and cajolers to start wearing down my already thin skin, and occasionally inappropriate Republican thoughts would break out.

 I think I look very dashing in a plastic apron.

I think I look very dashing in a plastic apron.

 I don't know what a bootstrap is, exactly, but that's how I imagine it.

I don't know what a bootstrap is, exactly, but that's how I imagine it.

Some nights, there would be more cajolers than usual, and eventually my attitude would fester until it came to a head later that night, like some big, festering, coming-to-a-head thing.

 I don't believe in wall decorations

I don't believe in wall decorations

 This is me doing a Calvin impersonation

This is me doing a Calvin impersonation

 Fortunately only that one wall got burned down.

Fortunately only that one wall got burned down.

 Behold the Duck of Justice.

Behold the Duck of Justice.

 Most nouns can be made 35% funnier (to me) by adding "of Justice" to the end of them.

Most nouns can be made 35% funnier (to me) by adding "of Justice" to the end of them.

 Hey, it could happen.

Hey, it could happen.

I'd like to think I'm getting better at understanding gratitude and mercy, but it's still an uphill climb.  Yay for grace, right?

"He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?" - Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount

Hi! I'm Chris.

Hi, I'm Chris, and I grew up in an evangelical church.  That means we talked a whole lot about evangelism, but very seldom, if ever, did any evangelism.  Oh, sure, there was the occasional weird kid who had no qualms talking to people about absolutely anything - but we weren't entirely convinced he wasn't driving more people away than bringing people in.  This is what we told ourselves, at any rate. So we were totally happy to do some evangelism just any old time, provided we knew it was going to turn out all right, and also provided there was no risk whatsoever of embarrassment or confrontation or any discomfort whatsoever, and also provided MythBusters was not on.

Thus, even though I am from an evangelical background and still consider myself somehow evangelical (I think?), my principal contribution to the world of spreading the Gospel has largely, even until this day, consisted of feeling extra guilty and uncomfortable in social situations.

 It sort of looks like he's about to have a bodily function, doesn't it?

It sort of looks like he's about to have a bodily function, doesn't it?

It's nice to meet you, too.