The Garden Party: Are You Living as a People Pleaser?


 “You can’t please everyone, so you gotta please yourself.” The lyrics to Ricky Nelson’s Garden Party were looping through my brain as I awakened.

Why were the words to a hit song from 1972 playing in my head? Was it too many Cheerios at bedtime? Maybe I heard it on the TV or radio??

Knowing that God, who never sleeps, often speaks to me “in the night season” (Psalm 16:7, Psalm 17:3, Job 33:14-18), I paused and to check in with the Holy Spirit to see if it was than just a random coincidence. Now that may sound weird, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve awakened to a song or a dream or a thought or some communication from God who sometimes bypasses my thinking mind, which darts to and fro and can be prone to ignore his quiet promptings, and speaks to my spirit when my mind is quiet.

I googled the lyrics and the history of the song. What I found was indeed a message to me on several different levels.

It seems that Ricky Nelson, who had many hit songs, was performing with other well-known artists at Madison Square Garden in October 1971. After singing some of his hits, he switched from his normal rock sound to sing a more country sounding song. The crowd began to boo, and Ricky left the stage and didn’t return. He later wrote The Garden Party to reflect on the night.

He concludes the song with these words, “If memories were all I have, I’d rather drive a truck. But it’s alright now, I’ve learned my lesson well, you can’t please everyone so you gotta please yourself.” Seems Ricky was unwilling to be pigeon-holed into his former style and concluded that he’d rather drive a truck than live trying to fit into other people’s static image of him. Furthermore, he recognized that memories of the old magical moments were not enough. Yesterday’s victories were not food for today’s hunger.

What about you? Are you living pigeon-holed into an image that limits who you are and keeps you from changing? Is your life being defined by others’ expectations?

How are you defined and/or limited by other people’s expectations?

Can you hear the voice of God calling you to step out of the box and live fully as the one He has made you to be?

(Be sure to read part 2 of this blog, The Garden Party:Pleasing Yourself.)

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