No, I don’t mean flaky like the crust of a croissant, quiche, or baklava…even though I do wish this post were about food…that’s more fun to discuss. But what I’m going to address here is food for the soul, rather than for the physical body.
Also known as the opposite of integrity, flakiness is, basically put, not keeping your word. It’s being someone whom others can’t count on. No one likes these people…but it’s easy to become that person, justifying it so much that you don’t even realize that reality about yourself.
That’s scary — that lack of self-awareness. Which can, and does, happen to all of us from time to time. Which is why surrounding yourself with wise community and staying vulnerable with the right people reveals character flaws and helps correct them when others point things out in us we didn’t see before.
I say all of this because I’m in a season of learning what it means to be flaky and how to come out of it. I’ve seen the negative consequences of this character flaw and noticed how it’s intertwined with trying to please everyone in my circle…that’s unhealthy and not gonna happen. I’ve also noticed, simply put, how just telling someone you’re gonna do something and then making ridiculous excuses why you’re all of a sudden not gonna do it, hurts people — sometimes irreparably.
To elaborate with examples, I heard Joyce Meyer speak on this topic at church the other day by saying she told people they could come visit for a week (but didn’t really mean it) and learned to always only speak what she means.
Personally, I have been very swayed by people’s opinions in the past, making my foundation shaky rather than solid and my life full of indecisiveness, always worried about disappointing someone.
I always looked at that as, rather than a bad thing, a selfless act…until I saw it affect me and others around me negatively. I didn’t get a job offer because my resume is all over the place as I’ve been listening to everyone’s opinions and going with the wind, with no real direction or goal.
I’ve listened more to people’s reasons why I shouldn’t be a teacher than to the desires God has placed in my heart and His promises to strengthen me (praise God that now I’ve finally decided to be committed to pursuing the teaching route).
I’ve seen how telling someone I’d sign a lease and then, suddenly, changing my mind to go with what seems like a better option that just came up, causes my plans to crumble months later (probably part of God teaching me this lesson…with painful consequences). And how those things cause other people harm in getting their hopes up and wasting their time.
I’ve seen how a lack of self-awareness and pride in thinking I know best hurts the ones I love the most because I get defensive and angry.
Having reflected on all of this…I see why Jesus tells us oaths and promises are important to keep…let your yes be yes and your no be no; nothing more, nothing less. And I’ll close with that passage from His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:
Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.