Breaking Free From People Pleasing: The Brave Burial of Expectations

By Sharon Hines

God's Brave Women - Sharon's Story


October 2, 2011. Sandi, the school counselor, was starting an after school exercise group with some of the teachers the next day. I planned to join them, so that evening I packed some workout clothes and put them in my car.

After going to bed I was startled when I angrily slapped a student in my dream. Shaken by how real it felt I decided I would talk to Sandi about it in the morning.

October 3, 2011. I got up with the alarm, turned on the shower so the water would be nice and warm by the time I got in, then sat down on the toilet. Just like always. But this time, I couldn’t move. I just sat there, frozen, staring at the running water. I knew if I stepped inside that shower I was saying yes to another day of personal hell.

When I was at work, I let my role as team leader consume me, taking it upon myself to fix a dysfunctional dynamic between the other teachers on my team. I regularly took up battles on their behalf that, in hindsight, weren’t mine to fight.

"I regularly took up battles on their behalf that, in hindsight, weren’t mine to fight."

Meanwhile, I had a classroom of twenty something Kindergarteners to tend to. Two of my students were diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder. Everyday was met with one or both of those students turning over tables, throwing school supplies across the classroom, and sometimes running out of the room. Unfortunately, I didn’t have adequate support to meet their needs. I never felt so incapable as a teacher.

The stress of my job was taking a toll on my health. I had regular bouts with gallstones and was extremely sleep deprived. Things weren’t any better at home. Between my declining health and spending what little energy I had at work, I felt like a failure as a wife and mom.


"Between my declining health and spending what little energy I had at work, I felt like a failure as a wife and mom."

I longed to quit teaching and be more present for my family, but my husband had lost his job. The financial pressure was enormous, especially living on a teacher’s salary. Once he found employment, the plan was for me to keep teaching so we could catch up on bills.

But on this particular morning, it was as if my arms finally gave out from holding everything and everyone up. Knowing I couldn't do life as is anymore, I rose up in a trance-like state, walked into the living room, opened my computer, filled out resignation papers, effective immediately, and pressed send.

Despite the numbness, there were a lot of feelings and emotions swirling through me that day, including wondering if I was being selfish. The overwhelming sense of freedom that anchored my soul told me otherwise.

October 7, 2011. I mustered up the courage to go to the school and get my things from the classroom. After collecting a few personal items, I made my way to the front office. I could hear voices behind the closed door. "Tap, tap, tap," I timidly knocked. To my surprise (and relief) they greeted me with big hugs.

The counselor told me I was bold for doing what I needed to do regardless of what anyone else might think. It may have seemed brave, but I'm not sure it was. I'd ignored my desire to be home, not yet recognizing it as God's still, small voice calling me out of teaching. I thought I was being noble by putting everyone else’s needs before mine. In reality, I was being buried alive by codependency and people pleasing. Everyday I stayed in the classroom was like slinging another layer of dirt on my own grave. In other words, I had to quit.


"I thought I was being noble by putting everyone else’s needs before mine. In reality, I was being buried alive by codependency and people pleasing."

As I look back on that day, I recall the sudden quiet. The wrestling match between my flesh and the spirit was over. I’d landed in green pastures, standing beside still waters. It was from this place that God began putting flesh on my dried bones. I know now He was providing rest for the battle that lay ahead. To me this is where the real bravery entered in. I was being called to confront generational strongholds that were draining the life out of my marriage and affecting my household.


I’d spend my entire life up to that point cowering to every voice that sounded more confident or had more conviction than my own. (That would be everyone.) I lived in their shadows, downplaying my own convictions, ones that kept whispering, “this isn’t the way.”

I had no idea I was about to embark on a years long journey, one I never would have had the courage to face without God’s vision for wholeness and restoration that came from quitting my job. Breaking free from that oppression has not been easy, but it was necessary for saving my marriage and being the kind of mother my daughter needed.


"I had no idea I was about to embark on a years long journey, one I never would have had the courage to face without God’s vision for wholeness and restoration that came from quitting my job."


October 21, 2020. I'm a girl resurrected, risen from the burial ground of other people’s wants, expectations and opinions. My health has been restored. God has breathed new life into my marriage. And I’m enjoying my work as a writer, something I was always meant to do.


"I'm a girl resurrected, risen from the burial ground of other people’s wants, expectations and opinions."

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!

And by the way...


You are Brave!

No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and power. I would love to connect with you more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my lovely email tribe.

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About Sharon


Sharon Hines grew up in Houston, Texas. It was from the top of the metal slide in her backyard where she discovered her love of writing. After eighteen years of teaching elementary school, she left the classroom and pursued her childhood dream of writing and publishing.

A love of home, people, teaching and writing inspired her first book, Home on Purpose: Mindful Living in a Hectic World. Sharon also writes at SharonEHines.com, where she helps busy women declutter their homes, time and minds so they can create space for the things and people that matter most.

Sharon currently resides in The Woodlands, TX with her husband where they are getting used to being empty nesters.

She would love to have you join her for heartfelt conversation and simple living tips, better known as Simply Saturday. You can also catch up with Sharon on instagram @sharon_e_hines

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© 2019 by Becky Beresford, Author