Bondage and Carrots

“When you are with other people, you often lose sight of My Presence. Your fear of displeasing people puts you in bondage to them, and they become your primary focus.”  I closed my Jesus Calling devotional book and mulled over that sentence. I do care what people think about me, to a degree, but not obsessively.

“If pleasing people is your goal, you will be enslaved to them,” was in the next day’s Jesus Calling message. Why is this resonating with me? No one would call me a people pleaser.

The doorbell rang. It was Steve. Back from China. I welcomed him in and brought him a tall glass of cold beer.

My husband would be home soon, so Steve and I chatted. I’ve always enjoyed his company, however infrequent it is, not because he has “chiseled good looks” as my husband said, but because Steve’s easy to talk to.

He regaled me with stories of screw ups his new boss is making, the horrendous, dangerous traffic in the Chinese city of 3.5 million souls where he lives, and other challenges expatriates face daily living abroad.

Steve punctuated his anecdotes with the f-word like hail battering a tin roof.

Soon I was lobbing my own f-bombs. Every time I uttered a profanity, part of me recoiled the way a garden slug curls up when it encounters salt.

When my husband came home, I went upstairs to my office so the two guys could talk shop. Steve kept on with the blue language. My husband didn’t partake in swearing. He’d told me that it’s not necessary to swear to express oneself.

Filthy language is a form of rebellion: “And we are not the only ones injured by our rebellion. Others are watching us when we act just as they do, they make a judgment: Hypocrite.” (from In Touch magazine.)

I was trying to please Steve, to make him like me by talking as filthily as he did.

On Sunday our pastor spoke about habits and how we can’t break old habits under our own steam. We need the Holy Spirit’s help. He also said that replacing old bad habits with new good habits tends to decrease the likelihood of a relapse.

After the service, my husband said, “The pastor was right about replacing old habits with new. I replaced smoking cigarettes with eating carrots when I’m in the car on long drives.”

Our conversation drifted to a politics, specifically to a politician with whom we both disagree. Typically, I use foul language to describe how I feel about the office-holder.

This time, all I said was, “He’s a carrot!”

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About beth

I started this blog in 2011 shortly after I finally opened my heart and mind to Jesus as a last resort. My intent with this blog is to share what I learn and feel along my path with Jesus.
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