The Queen Must Die

It was Sunday morning. I thought it would be nice to serve country style ribs with fried rice for dinner that evening so I took the meat out of the fridge and prepped the crock pot.

My beautiful niece had driven 16 hours across the country with her grandmother the day before. Now she was standing in my kitchen.

“Do you like ribs?” I asked.

“I don’t eat beef.” She answered from the other side of the kitchen island.

“No problem, these are pork.”

“I’m a pescetarian.”

You’re a Presbyterian? Since when?! At least that’s what my brain asked. It took a few seconds to access the part of my brain that knew what a pescetarian was, or at least thought it knew.  Pesce…fish! Got it!

 “Well, we don’t have any fish.” I said with as much coolness as I could shovel.

 “Oh, well I’ll eat chicken if I have to.”

The meat returned to the refrigerator and I turned the crock pot off.

I was shaking now. I don’t know if she could see my body trembling, but I knew I had to get out of the kitchen before I made a scene. The shaking wouldn’t stop. Waves of anxiety and panic came crashing over me. I couldn’t make it stop, even as I got ready for church. I told myself to get a grip.

The controlling pleaser in me raged.  Internally she screamed “Welcome to the Huffaker family food freak show!!!! We’re gluten free and dairy free!!! Some don’t like pork, some don’t like anything spicy, and now this!!! We don’t eat fish. I don’t even know how to cook it! How could she do this to me?”

So ugly. This part of me that’s driven to be everything to everyone even when they don’t ask…or care. This part of me who has mentally whipped my backside for not getting it right. Every. Single. Time. It’s all about me. All of the time. So ugly.

I sat mostly silent in the car on our way to church. Even after I had vented my frustration to my husband, I couldn’t stop shaking. I knew I was in trouble. I knew I needed to be in the sanctuary. Surely the music would help calm me down. I bawled through the first three songs. Then came the worship leader’s invitation to go to the sides of the sanctuary for prayer. I felt the tug of war…I needed to go forward for prayer, but felt embarrassed that I needed to go forward for prayer.

Maybe you’ve been there.

It was now or never. Head down, I left my seat and walked to the side of the sanctuary where I confided that I was having an anxiety attack. I withheld as much detail as possible.  A man and his wife put their arms around me like I was their own daughter and began to pray up a storm. For me. Though I didn’t deserve it, peace washed over me. When the prayer time was over, I went back to my seat with hands raised high worshiping and thanking God for His undeserved grace and mercy where a good spanking might have been in order.

That morning my pastor just happened to be preaching on stress. I took good notes on how Jesus dealt with stress. Jesus couldn’t please everyone. I mean, I sort of knew that…after all, there’s that whole cross thing…but I don’t think I ever thought about the fact that He was OK with it. It seems so unchristian, but then again, Jesus wouldn’t have had a meltdown over whether or not someone was a pescetarian. No he would not.

Why do I think I can do what Jesus couldn’t?

These words are written in my notebook: Nic, kill the approval addiction.

It has to go, this fear of disappointing people…of not being able to be exactly what everyone needs all of the time.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe. Proverbs 20:25 NIV

{A snare metaphorically is something that allures one from his real purpose and then destroys him.}[1]

My real purpose is to be free to worship God and love people. Seeking approval or fearing I’ll disappoint them is more than a distraction, it’s a trap. Someone has to die. The people-pleasing-approval-addicted-center of the universe Queen of stress has to die before she kills me. The drama she creates is a threat to the ones I love.  It’s time to stop creating hoops to jump through so I can be free to love better. People, real people that I love (like my beautiful niece) need me to be free.

That afternoon brought home a few groceries from the store which included a package of frozen fish for my niece. She explained to me how she liked it cooked and I told her she was welcome to anything in the kitchen that she would need to prepare her fish. I felt like I was going to throw up the entire time I talked, but I did it.

You see, we can pray and beg God to change us. We can ask for forgiveness. We can accept His grace, but then we have to walk in it. We have to move forward and take a risk. We have to feel the weight of not being everything to everyone. We feel it. We take some deep breaths. And then we realize beautiful grace is standing on the other side of the kitchen island smiling back at us, grateful for something to eat. It’s going to be OK.



[1] Hartley, J. E. (1999). 906 יָקֹשׁ. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (399). Chicago: Moody Press.

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Comments

  1. I thank you for this. I love when you wrote “We have to feel the weight of not being everything to everyone.” It’s a great reminder that it’s OK to feel the weight and still know God is with us in the process to change.

  2. Great post! What a great lesson to learn. Thanks for writing these encouraging words!

  3. I love this post . . . of course, I HATE it, too . . .because I get it. I understand it. I have lived it. I needed to read it today.

  4. Thanks Nichole,
    I love reading your posts. You have wisdom to share, and a real gift for writing. I’m so thankful that you’re using your “talents”, and not burying them!

  5. hisglorygirl says:

    The way you are totally real, sharing your emotions without holding back, TO God inspires me so much. Thank you.

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