Sometimes the reason we feel full of frustration is we’re trying to change things that only God can change. You can’t change people and make them do what’s right. You can pray for them and encourage them, but they have their own free will. Don’t let them steal your joy. You are not responsible for other people’s happiness. You cannot keep everyone in your life happy. I don’t mean that you should live selfishly, but too often we take on a false sense of responsibility. We think we have to keep everyone happy—our spouse and children, our neighbors, cousins, and coworkers. I’ve learned that some people don’t want to be happy. They just want your attention. They want you to come running every time they call. If you don’t, they try to make you feel guilty because you’re not meeting their demands. What they really want is to control you.
I had to learn this lesson because I always felt responsible to keep others happy. It was easy when I was young and only had a few friends and family members. But as I got older and had more friends, more family and relatives, coworkers, peers, and neighbors, I ended up spending half my time cheering this one up, calming this one down, running here so this one wouldn’t be offended, acting as though I was enjoying someone’s company so I wouldn’t hurt their feelings. One day I realized that I can’t become who I’m created to be if I’m trying to please everyone around me. I had to draw a line in the sand and say, “I’m staying in peace and not going to let people who won’t take responsibility for their own happiness make me feel guilty and try to control me into doing what they want me to do.”
Don’t fall into the trap of codependent relationships. Be good to others, be kind, be loving, but don’t be a doormat. Don’t let them control your life. You’re not doing them a favor by catering to them. You’re enabling their dysfunction and keeping yourself from moving forward. You have to set some boundaries. “I’m not going to come running every time they call with a problem. I’m not going to stop my plans to cheer them up for the four hundredth time this month.”
Your destiny is too important to let people control you. You have an assignment. It’s easy to let people cause us to lose our peace and live frustrated. The apostle Paul says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:25). Stay at rest.