Every morning when my dog hears me get up, she prances down the hallway, bursts into my room, and sits in front of me. She proceeds to stare intently for a while, as if to say, “Behold! I am here!” and then she begins to whine a bit, which means, “Hurry up. I want bacon. You need to give me my bacon.”
She’s really enjoying quarantine, let me tell you. She has taken full advantage of my being home with nowhere to go every morning and seized the opportunity to train me into becoming her bacon servant.
Did I really just call myself a bacon servant?
Well, I guess that’s what things have come to.
When she came bursting in this morning, I was in the middle of making my bed. Seeing that I was busy, she left.
Being the persistent pup that she is, she came back. This time, I was sitting at my desk, next to which she sat as close as she possibly could and just looked at me with those cute little puppy eyes. I could not resist.
But I wanted to finish what I was working on first. I made her wait a few more minutes, then to the kitchen we went.
It was during those few minutes, however, I realized something: I am a puppy pleaser.
A bacon servant and a puppy pleaser? I need to get out of this house soon before my dog completely takes over my life.
I seriously felt bad because I didn’t give my dog what she wanted right away. This is not a good sign because I know for a fact I’m not just this way with my dog. I’m like this with people too. I agree to things because I don’t want to disappoint anybody. I go along with other people’s ideas and plans. And when I make plans, I try to please the most amount of people.
I always thought this was just a mom problem. You know how moms are always trying to plan everything around their kids’ schedules, work schedules, and extended family’s schedules? And they also try to make dinners that will make everybody happy. Like my mom for instance, she makes my brothers alfredo even though she despises it. Or when she makes lasagna or breakfast casserole, she makes special sections without cheese for me since I hate cheese (and also alfredo, so she makes two dinners on alfredo nights so that she and I can eat something different).
And then there’s my grandma, who told me one time that when you get old, you get to stop caring what people think. So when she’s in charge of dinner, it’s usually a roast. Or takeout. Most often takeout, but if she’s cooking, it’s a roast.
I’ve often thought I’d like to skip ahead to the getting old part so I could stop caring so much about what people think. But that’s impossible, so until then, I’ll just try to stop now.
In my devotional time this morning, I was reading about how we’re all “underground espionage agents for God’s Kingdom,” meaning that while I’m in whatever kind of role I’m in — student, friend, sister, athlete, etc. — I’m actually a servant of God’s and I’ve got a mission to accomplish. And I don’t think anywhere in the Bible God tells us that our mission is to please all the people or make sure everybody’s happy. He says to try to get along and be kind to everyone, but I think there’s a difference.
He tells us to submit to Him and serve Him, which means serving His people, but we’re first submitted to Him. It means doing the things He’s called us to, even if it means saying no to someone else’s plans. And of course, we’ve got to say no in a nice way, but when it comes down to it, if we’re serious about serving God and following Him, it might mean disappointing some people along the way, and that is okay.
I think the sooner I learn and accept this lesson, the more effective I’ll be in my work in the Kingdom. And I know there’s a balance between effective work in the Kingdom and staying “on mission” all the time. We still need to take the time to love people in the moment, even if it takes away from previous plans. We can’t be so mission-focused that we lose sight of the main purpose of loving others.
But it’s also okay to say no, to do things a little differently, or to stick to the plan you made for yourself for a day. There are certain things you’re called to do and sometimes you’ve got to pretend you’re already old and stop caring what other people think.