I am amazed at how difficult it can be to keep up a blog when life keeps you away from a keyboard. I shouldn’t be, I suppose, and it’s my own dang fault. It’s summer (please ignore the rain clouds trying to pretend otherwise), and I’m taking advantage of it to do some fun events and trips. Makes it a little more difficult to write!

Some years back, a friend who knew that I like signs with funny sayings gave me one that says, “I can only please one person each day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow doesn’t look good, either.” To be honest, at the time, I didn’t think the sign was all that funny. While somewhat true (can’t make everybody happy, that’s for sure!), it seemed a little on the rude side. But, hey, I appreciated the thought, took the sign home, and hung it up.

It so happened that I hung it up where I could see it. Since it was in eyesight on a regular basis, every once in a while, I’d spend a few moments thought on the annoying puzzle represented by that sign. Like I said earlier, it sure is true that you can’t make everybody happy, but confining it to one person seemed a draconian and rather stingy measure. It stung me, because while I don’t think I’ve ever been all about making everybody happy, I have absolutely at times spent myself trying to make specific people happy, and I’d reached a point where I wasn’t very happy with myself over what it cost me to try to make those folks happy. Got all that? I’d stand there and wonder why some people just couldn’t be happy, or how many people I should be trying to make happy, or why I was so unhappy with the whole thing. It was like a sore tooth that I kept busy worrying. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it.

One reason it bothered me so much is that I couldn’t reconcile my fascination with keeping up my efforts to make those special people happy with meeting God’s command of putting Him first or – even more difficult – loving God with all that I am. Please feel free to disagree, but I honestly believe that when we’re all wrapped up in making other people happy, like when our sense of self or identity is dependent on their moods, and we’re sacrificing self, others, and what we know to be right, we’ve crossed the line of loving them as ourselves over to idolatry and worshiping somebody or something besides God. They’ve become god. See why I got so squirmy and bothered? Packing about the conviction that you’ve made other relationships more important than God Himself is not and should not be a comfortable thing.

Not knowing a way out of that mess makes it even more discomfiting. It wasn’t just me getting all crazy and gooey and donning a door mat costume because I thought it was Halloween. Those were people for whom I cared deeply. These people mattered to me. In fact, people in general should matter, because God loves them, too, right? They’re all created in God’s image just like me. It was so confusing, and I bugged God about this a lot. How was I supposed to do all this? How was I supposed to love them and love God and love myself? Bleah! I had no idea.

God, as is His habit, answered those prayers. I was looking at that sign one day, and I realized what was truly true about it. It is true that I can only please one person each day. The awesome thing is that I only need to make one person each day happy. God really does tell us to love Him with all that we are. If I really wanted to live my life well, instead of trying to keep up my juggling act, I could try for that. Loving all those people didn’t mean that I had to keep tying myself into knots to make sure they knew I loved them. I didn’t understand how that was supposed to work, but I did decide to give trusting God with it, myself, and those people was worth a try. Eventually, that path led me into a lot of new freedom. It’s amazing, when I stop to consider, how much bondage I lived in trying to make others happy.

So, should I ever tell you, “Hey, I’m sorry, but it’s not your day,” please don’t be offended! I love you very much. I just need to put God first and trust Him with you, which I’m convinced is the most loving thing I can do for you, anyway.

Besides, today is Jennie’s day! Tomorrow is looking good for her, too!