Larry and I were talking about our care of Audrey (Larry’s 92-year-old mother who has Lewy-Bodies dementia and lives with us). I’d rejoiced telling him that that morning I hadn’t gotten irritated with her as she complained. I’ve been learning that when I get irritated/angry/upset about her complaints, it’s because I’m feeling like it’s a reflection on my inability to please her–to make life good for her. It feels like I’m not doing a good job and/or that I’m not a very good person because I’m failing at what I should be doing.
But then as we talked, we made a distinction between caring for Audrey and pleasing her. We are called to care for her; we can’t necessarily please her. We can care for her because that is only up to us. We can do what we think is best for her.
But pleasing her requires her response, her involvement, her assessment of whether what we’re doing is correct/right/loving. Especially in her mentally ill state, her definition of good care is not based on truth.
So, we can care for her but we can’t necessarily please her. And of course, caring for her is guided by God and evaluated by Him. He is our “audience of One” and He knows the truth (even when she tells us in many different ways we’re not doing a good job).
Maybe you’re trying to please someone but your job is only supposed to be to care for them, or give them godly love (wanting what’s best for them which they may not believe is really love). I hope you’ll remember that you can only do what you can do (caring)–and not what they might think is right (pleasing).