Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Remaining True

I've made a lot of compromises in my life. Some have been necessary, but many of them have been more out of my fear of defeat, my fear of others disliking me (because so MANY disliked me in the past), and my fear of failure.

I've found, however, that few things in life are more satisfying than making a decision and sticking with it, regardless of what others might think. I long ago grew tired of trying to please everyone all the time (because, you know... there's a saying...). My desire in life is to please God. As long as I'm doing what I feel I'm supposed to be doing in the manner I feel I'm supposed to be doing it, that's what really matters. Nothing else should stand in the way of this. It trickles down into every aspect of my life.

Let's take my work, for instance. I have a few different jobs. One of them, I get paid minimum wage for basically sitting on my butt all day. (The American Dream!) But I choose to make better use of my time - I create marketing strategies, do organizational and cleaning work to try to ensure more business (or at least keep the business we DO have). I do other work at the same time; editing, writing, research, and more. I take time to learn about the customers, their lives, their families, their interests. I'm not saying this to put myself up on a pedestal, it's just the way I live my life. Why? Why not do the bare minimum, if I'm not going to get paid any more? Because it's what I feel I'm supposed to do. People have tried to talk me out of this, if you believe it.

Let's take theatre. I'm directing a show and working with a great many talented people. I have a lot of input from different sources on how I should be directing. In the end, I must remain true to what I feel should be done regardless of the opinions of others, reviewers included, because they're all just opinions. What good is there in directing a show if I try to please everyone else? I'm greatly pleased with what I'm seeing on stage, so I won't change anything unless I feel it's disturbing the integrity of the show. So far, so good.

How about marriage? Sure, we all compromise in our relationships so that the other person can be happy from time to time but, ultimately, Doing The Right Thing is what's important. The way we treat one another, the things we say (or refrain from saying!) to each other, the life we make together - it's not cookie-cutter. It looks and feels different for every couple and, in the end, we're only beholden to God and to each other. I'm blissfully happy, regardless of any snide remarks and busy-bodying from folks in the past. I like to think my husband is, too, but I won't speak for him.

The bottom line is, as long as my feet are on the right path -- whatever that path looks like for me -- that's what matters. My choir teacher used to have a mock-Latin phrase on a board above her door in high school that read, "Don't let the b**tards wear you down" (or something to that effect; it was 20 years ago, I just remember there was a cuss word in it, hah!). At any rate, I have to keep remembering, every day, to leave the ones behind that bring me down and focus on the One who matters. If I keep that in mind, my life is filled with joy.

Stephanie Jean

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