Tag Archives: Truth


Hello, my name is Lorretta Stembridge, I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and I am a recovering…… people pleaser.

A life-long struggle, I can remember episodes from my earliest years — parents, teachers, peers….  I somehow got this crazy notion in my head that it was my job to make and keep others happy.

It’s probably no surprise to learn this behavior has affected all of my relationships through the years….. dating, marriage, parenting, homeschooling and yes, even church and my relationship with God. If people were happy and pleased with me, then I was a “good” ____________. If not then….you get the picture.

This of course, led to years of frustration and personal dissatisfaction and fed into one dysfunctional situation after another. Not pretty.  
Granted, many of my “episodes’ started out with the best intentions; I simply saw needs and set out to meet them. In itself, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But gradually, over time…my motives got skewed. Even in my best moments– inwardly…secretly…it was all about me.

I wanted people to like me.

Oh, I can trace the trail back to my early childhood moments where some of this behavior was born, modeled, taught and encouraged but that’s not the crux of this issue. No, my behavior was actually a symptom rooted much more deeply in a bigger disease;  SIN. Specifically, pride and ultimately idolatry, all falling under the umbrella of misplaced focus and worship gone awry.

You see, people pleasing is really all about wrong worship.

And Satan, our enemy, just loves our misplaced worship.
And you know what “They” say — those “They’s” with the fancy titles and degrees– recognition is the first step to overcoming any addiction and what I really need is to value myself more. But God says while the first step is most definitely recognition, the next step is to value myself…

not more and not less– but properly before Him.

I needed to repent.

Gradually I am overcoming this addiction. In the last few years, as God has been preparing me to step into this writing ministry, this area has been challenged in me on every level. How I see myself ultimately does reveal what I believe about God and what I believe about God will ultimately determine how I behave, how I write and how I minister.

And when I stepped out and finally launched my blog and started poking around the blogosphere to see how it’s done, I quickly noticed that the temptations to give in to the familiar habits of people pleasing and serving self are numerous. I wanted people to like me.   
And the voices around us are rather accommodating; if you want more attention, do “this, that and the other thing.” Write like “this”, not about “that” and do lot’s of  “this thing here”.

I’m not suggesting that good advice from those who’ve navigated these waters before is not needed or appreciated.
What I am saying though is the potential for self-serving is high even under the guise of self-sacrifice and service to God. I have to constantly question my own motive and tendency to be what I call a “glory thief”.  It’s here I’ve discovered a key:

The most successful writers I see out here are those 
who’ve released themselves to God’s agenda for their craft and are used by Him to constantly 
draw the gaze of their audience upward.

It’s found in seeing that God has given each of us a circle of influence and a voice or platform to speak and minister from– wherever our gifts lie. It looks different from person to person but His message is always the same:       “Return to Me.”

We are voices in the wilderness crying out in and through our ridiculously ordinary circumstances and our fiery trials, proclaiming the great things God has done and is doing.I don’t expect the struggle against people pleasing will get any easier. Even writing this, I’ve wrestled with fear of offending those I’ve come to love and had five other “false starts” on more “pleasing” topics that hit “dead end” fast.

This was His message for me and was confirmed recently as I sat around a table with some people I dearly love. The conversation came around to me and mustering up the courage I shared my “BIG NEWS”.  Let’s just say I was the only one thrilled.

Sting and rejection?

Yes, and no. Because in that moment I saw the greater spiritual battle which is not fought against the flesh and blood pieces of my heart gathered with me around that table. No, this battle is against a DEFEATED foe who wishes to squash my worship of God but it

can not
and will not
shut me up.

Because my friends, my name is Lorretta Stembridge. I’m a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and I am a recovering people pleaser who now lives, breathes and has her being in seeking  only to please God and love His people.

I wish only the same for you.

Lorretta signature


I’ve heard it more than once in the past few weeks  in subtle and not so subtle ways.  And I’ve just  lost the ability to pretend I am anything more and can only embrace the reality that, according to the standards of this world I might be just as they say I am…

a “freak”. 


Some labels are hard to bear and some are even harder to earn. Not long ago, I might have resisted or argued against this label with the reasoning that I am probably more level-headed and balanced in my behaviors and beliefs than most people I know.

I could simply point out how radically unforgiving and unappreciative toward differences most people tend to be–no matter what vein or system they proclaim as their own–because yes, you don’t have to be a Believer in Christ to be considered a radical.

I don’t believe I’m unintelligent or ignorant and I feel I’m fairly well in touch with my inner child and artist. I’m culturally sensitive and aware of my surroundings. I read and research and am not blissfully uninformed or the least bit disinterested in the lives and welfare of others. The fact is; I really *do* care.

Maybe that’s the problem.
Maybe that’s the catch:

I care enough to avoid pretending there’s another answer or another way to the answers and peace that most people are seeking–

if they are seeking at all.

I care enough to live and speak and behave what I have come to know through practiced and painful experience as the Truth. I can’t back down from that. That’s the key to who and Whose I am. And it’s what I want people to see most…Christ in me and most importantly; consistently. I care enough to say– if you keep doing the same poor thing and getting the same poor results….. isn’t it time to do something different? Something radically better?

I heard this quote not too long ago from somebody way smarter than me and it really hit home:

“In order to impact our culture for Christ in today’s world it is going to take an apologetic that is not only heard but is also seen…the visual living out of the Christian life is imperative for the time in which we live. If a person can not see your conversion story (feel/experience), they will question it (the Gospel) all the days of their lives.” Ravi Zacharius


Doesn’t that make a whole lot of sense?

And I’ve come to realize that even the *slightest * hint of inconsistency between what I say I believe and how I live is flat out wrong. It’s unloving and unfair; to myself, to others and ultimately to the God who saved me through the glorious Gospel of Christ’s sacrifice.

I know this is true because…

* I’ve done it all wrong.
* I’ve taken Jesus places we never should have gone.
* I’ve denied Him with my words and behaviors more than 3 times.
* I’ve misrepresented and ignored the prompting of the Spirit too often.
* I’ve spent my time being the “skandelon” or stumbling block in the lives
of others.

I’ve gotten all uppity and self-righteous with my head-knowledge-holiness of God and have forgotten to embrace others with the steady heartbeat of God’s love found throughout the entirety of His creation.

       I’ve been horribly human and He’s been gloriously God anyway. 

His kindness has led me to repentance again and again.  I can not deny the resurrecting power of the Gospel which has wrought daily, humbling change in my own life…and in so many others I know.

It’s the same powerful Gospel which……
took a man I know, from drowning in a lifestyle if drugs, alcohol and pornography and at the point of a personal dead-end, to being a faithful husband and father to a beautiful wife and three children…all serving God today.

It’s the same faithful Gospel which……
has kept and preserved a woman I know who,  shamefully divorced and depressed, spent years battling back from a prescription drug and hypocrisy addiction and now opens her home to countless women from all walks of life to partake in weekly bible studies and mentoring moments.

It’s the same glorious Gospel which…….
breathed new life into the shattered shards of a broken marriage between two broken people I know; putting them back together again in a way so perfectly measured and mended by God that no one may ever know the brokenness was ever there.

It’s the only true Gospel which…….
has guarded, guided and protected another beautiful college aged woman I know as she has struggled her way into adulthood, navigating the rough waters of culture and opinion, and has surrounded her with carefully placed, loving and godly people who step in to lighten her load and illuminate her path from time to time.

This is the Way, the Truth, the Life…the Light of the world shining in the darkness that can not ever, ever, ever overcome.

This is Jesus.

Disciples before me have said it and I can only now echo; where else can I go? What else can I do? What else is there to say? He alone has the words of eternal life…I’ve lived it and it’s true.

So,  If standing here beneath this Gospel and living it as the Truth it is makes me a freak, then let it be so.  I can do no better than this.

Let me be found living out and sharing this Truth, taking mission trips, having fun, enjoying life, loving those around me, enjoying good company, exercising, playing games, planting flowers, drinking good coffee, making *fabulous* meals, reading great books and petting the occasional cat.   Let me be found faithfully unashamed to walk it out.

Oh Lord, I pray; let it be.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written,
“The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16)

So….maybe you’re a “freak” too?