Saturday, July 05, 2008

A People Pleaser's Nightmare

I had the weirdest dream last night. My husband was in the hospital recovering from back surgery and his room was overflowing with visitors. Friends that we hadn’t seen in a decade were there, along with friends from church and people that I only see once a year at writer’s conferences who’ve never met Norm. I was totally stressed, knowing that any minute my friend Sherry would arrive and remind me of the two visitors at a time rule (Sherry is a nurse). Then the nurses would come in and I'd get in big trouble for not protecting my husband from overstimulation.

“Can some of you wait in the hall?” I asked a cluster of girls that I didn’t recognize.

“We didn’t sign up for this,” They huffed. “We didn’t come all the way down here to hang out in the hall.”

As they walked out, others walked in and my stress level went through the roof.

Then I saw my youngest son’s Sunday school teacher, Miss Kelly. Knowing she is sweet and would understand I asked her to leave next.

“Nobody cares about that rule,” Kelly insisted. “At the other hospital they actually hire people to fill up rooms of patients who don’t have visitors. You know, so they don’t feel left out and the room doesn’t look depressing. Don’t listen to Sherry. She doesn’t know anything.”

That so didn’t help! Now I didn’t know who to listen to. The dream ended as a well known literary agent showed up with flowers for my husband.

In reality my husband did have back surgery and Sherry did show up at a time when Norm was particularly popular and point out, “There are six people in the room.” But it wasn’t like she was mad at me. Still my need to please, even while helping my husband recover, leaked over into my dreams. I woke up thinking, why do I do this to myself? I worry so much about pleasing everyone that I often forget to stop and wonder what’s right. What does God want me to do? Has anyone in authority asked me to do something differently? Am I focusing so much on what I can’t control, like who happens to show up, that I neglect the one who needs my attention?

Are there any more people pleasers out there? What has perfectionism done to your mind lately?

No comments: