>A snake by any other name

>(The story below is my adaptation of Aesop’s fable “The Farmer and the Snake.”)

“Snow in April,” sighed Kara. “This afternoon it looked as if spring finally arrived.”

“False alarm. Weather changes quickly in the Eastern Adirondacks” answered Dr. Gibson, while examining the ears of a stray Golden Retriever in her care.

“Do me a favor Kara,” continued Dr. Gibson, “please return Buffy to her crate before you lock up this evening. I need to scurry or I’ll miss Lily’s recital.

“Not a problem, Dr. G.”

Kara viewed locking the clinic a perk of her job as a veterinary assistant. An avid animal lover, she considered herself a friend to all God’s creatures and took care making sure each patient was tucked safely in its crate before she went home.

Stepping over an icy puddle to open her car door, Kara noticed a long, dark, slender object resembling a garden hose. Wiping the moist snow from her eyelashes she bent over for a closer look and realized that the garden hose was actually a nearly frozen snake.

“Look at you,” crooned Kara. She recognized the reptile as the endangered Timber Rattlesnake and decided to take it inside the clinic. Removing a gray flannel blanket from her trunk, she wrapped the coiled snake. “C’mon buddy, I’ll warm you up just in time for mating season.”

Laying the wrapped snaked on top of the old radiator, Kara found an empty reptile cage large enough for the 30 foot slithering creature and prepared it for the new occupant. She returned to pick up the snake and held it to her bosom. “Aww, you are getting better already,” she said. As she lowered the snake into its temporary home pain flashed through her arm. Dropping the reptile in its cage while reaching for her cell phone Kara cried, “Why did you bite me? I’m your friend and I saved your life.”

Flicking its tongue the rattler hissed as if to say “Silly question from a silly girl, you know I am a snake.”

I first read Aesop’s original fable The Farmer and the Snake as a seventh-grader, but it wasn’t until I heard a recent retelling involving an older woman and a talking snake that Aesop’s point pierced my mind. In my days as an allegiant perfectionist, people pleasing became a duty. I would often forget my own likes and dislikes as I concerned myself only with gaining the approval of others.

Ironically, the path of a people pleasing is jagged and disharmonious, yet fear and mistaken identity kept my feet on that rugged road. I met several hurting souls who I thought I could love out of their misery. And each wound I earned in the process confused me. How could they? I thought. Why me? I pondered.

As I enter this new phase in my journey to become the me Christ intended, the film-covered lens through which I once viewed life has been cleaned. For the first time ever, I understand that I cannot change other individuals. I can pray for them. I can, with boundaries, love them. But, I cannot and am not meant to be their all-in-all.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12: 1-2 (The Message).

35 thoughts on “>A snake by any other name

  1. >Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today! I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of yours so far. Visit again soon!

    Like

  2. >Great lesson, especially for mommys. Amazing that with all our striving and perfectionistic attempts there’s always an easier way, His way. I enjoyed this post very much and the scripture out of the message…WOW!

    Like

  3. >Thanks for stopping by my blog. This is so good. I too am being set free from the perfectionist, people pleasing syndrome. This is an excellent post to explain it. The scriptures from the paraphrase version is powerful.Blessings in Christ-

    Like

  4. >I haven’t heard that story in a longgg time.. though I like your version of it better! Funny you posted this because my new blog theme is versed around something similar!!

    Like

  5. >Thanks so much for visiting me and coming along on part 1 of our adventure…I am amazed by your writing! You have a wonderful style and I will surely be back! :)~Tammy

    Like

  6. >I came by to also say thanks for visiting my blog….but apparently you have been “out visiting” lots of ladies. It is fun to meet so many new blog friends. So thanks for visiting my blog. :)I am enjoying your blog, and love the look!I have always liked Aesop’s fable, and their implied meanings. So your modern day adaption is perfect, and I love how you worked in such biblical practical application!But I must admit, I cringed at the thought of bringing that snake inside……ewwwwwwww, gross, ahhhhhhhhhh……. I know I am such a girl!! LOL!!Sandy @ Jesus and Dark Chocolate

    Like

  7. >Wow, this was an impacting post. People pleasing has been a problem for me my entire life. With God’s help, I’m accepting your challenge. Thank you for speaking truth to my heart today. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comments.

    Like

  8. >Okay, aside from the huge ick factor of the icky snake on this post, I was JUST ranting to The Boss about this very thing. Were you peeking into my living room an hour ago??!!In my efforts to make pleasant conversation with my sister (real sister, not just the “in Jesus” kind!) and share myself with her, I shared an event that had shown me some of my “people-pleasing, needing-to-be-liked” insecurities. She proceeded to advise me on how to fix myself and how to handle it better in the future. I hung up so irritated – at MYSELF! I knew what her response would be – she’s a logical, analytical fixer. I’m a feeling, relational, relater. UGH. But thanks, I needed to remember that I can’t change her. I can pray for her. And I can try less hard to please her and make sure she always feels happy about me. I can change me and strive to please MY Father and honor HIM with me changes.This was timely. I appreciate it. I just don’t like the icky snake 🙂

    Like

  9. >What a lesson to learn. I find it necessary to constantly remind myself that I can’t please everyone. It is so hard but so freeing at the same time.

    Like

  10. >The snake is creepy, no? I reduced the image just a bit…it was kind of creepy me out every time I went to see this page. 🙂 Thanks for visiting. My blog is very new, so I have been taking the time to visit other blogs as well. All your comments mean a lot to me. Blessings. Angela

    Like

  11. >I want God to “change me from the inside out.” As a reformed people-pleaser, I can relate to you!Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for commenting about “well-balanced mom.” I’ve been smiling about that today. *grin*

    Like

  12. >”Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” Wonderful words here! God Bless!

    Like

  13. >Great challenge at the bottom of your post. I love it.And again, thanks for visiting me. I’m struggling with enough time to visit everyone’s blogs with my current writing deadlines. But please know I appreciate your comments and your willingness to stop by. I read every comment–always. Keep writing and sharing your passion. I’ll be back.

    Like

  14. >I really, really enjoyed this post. What a great illustration. I hadn’t heard this before.Thank you for visiting my blog too, and I agree about the whole “political” thing. Maybe I could search to see if anyone has that exact video without teh political stuff. I couldn’t find any yesterday…

    Like

  15. >You are on an awesome journey.I have been on a journey myself. I am a “used to be” striver…. Papa has set me free and I am learning the beauty of relationship with Him. I will never be the same.Love,Julie

    Like

  16. >Hi! I found your blog through some of my blog neighbors and I love this post! I love that Romans verse as well. The message puts it so clearly. Cute blog!!

    Like

  17. >As a (recovering) people pleaser, all I can say is OUCH! Galatians 1:10 echoes in my mind when I am tempted to elevate what man thinks over what God thinks: “For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God? OR am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”I want to be a servant of Christ!

    Like

Comments are closed.