About five years ago, I read a book that you may have heard of. It was Rick Warren's - The Purpose Driven Life. Five years later, there is one thing I read that has stuck with me. I don't remember what chapter, day or page it was. I don't remember the examples he gave, but I do remember one statement.
It was- Check your motives.
Hmm.... well, I don't usually have bad motives. I try to be nice to people and to help. I try to do the right thing and be kind and helpful.
But, that's what I DO!
It is not WHAT IS BEHIND what I do.
When I started to look at the motives behind why I volunteered at the school, or why I made dinner for the new mom, or why I started a community service ministry or why I would say, "yes, yes and yes" when people would ask something of me, I found out that my motives were not so pure.
You see, I struggled with people-pleasing. You may think that people-pleasing isn't such a bad thing.
But, it can be.
I found that a lot of my motives were selfish and sounded like these-
I want them to like me.
I want them to think I am nice.
I want them to see how organized I am.
I want them to think I am cool.
I want them to see how creative I am.
I want them to see how right I am.
I want them to ... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!!!!!!!
When I looked at these, I thought- I sound like a teenage girl trying to gain approval- that is sad!
So, then I thought- What should be the motive?
The book probably gave the answer, but shouldn't our motive always be- LOVE?
Then my motives would sound more like-
I volunteer because I love my kids and love education.
I made you dinner sweet friend because you just brought a baby into this world and I love you.
I lost weight and got healthy because I love the body God gave me and love my family.
I love the people in this community so I want to serve them.
I spoke truth to you because I love you.
Taking the time to check my motives- behind both what I say and what I do truly helped me to set boundaries.
Because, if I could ask myself the question-
What is my motive for wanting to do or say this?
And if my response wasn't LOVE...
...then it probably wasn't something I needed to do or say.