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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Insulted (11/01/04)

TITLE: Polly Peoplepleaser's Perennial Paradise
By Lisa Beaman


One day, Polly Peoplepleaser planted perennials in her garden. She was proud of herself as she patiently picked up the potted plants and patted the potting soil in place. The perennials pleased Polly. "They are so pretty!" she proclaimed to herself as she peered at the picture perfect garden. The pink peonies and the purple poppies were the perfect combination. "Perhaps the people passing by will be pleased with them as well," she pondered.

Soon, Samuel Servant strolled by. He saw Polly's garden and showered her with sincere praise. "Miss Peoplepleaser!" Samuel shouted, "Super showmanship! Surely your use of salvia is sensational!" Samuel didn't just shower her with praise; he showed her his sincerity by offering his service. "Shall I assist you with the shovel and the soil? Sharing the work should make it simple!"

Coincidentally, when Samuel left, Connie Compliments came along. Connie congratulated Polly on her creativity. "Polly!" she cried, "I am certain that the color contrast you chose compliments the chrysanthemums! Could you come by and convince Mr. Compliments that chrysanthemums aren't crazy? Come over, whenever it's convenient, of course."

Connie's compliments and Samuel's service pleased Polly. Evidently, the garden also pleased Dr. Earnest Encourager. "Excellent!" he exclaimed when he examined Polly's garden. Earnest earnestly encouraged Polly to enter her garden in an exhibition. "Your garden is enviable," he explained. "Everyone will see the evidence of your endeavor. Your experience and expertise in gardening will be an example to every gardener at the exhibition." Earnest even thanked Polly for the enjoyable experience.

Polly Peoplepleaser was proud of her perennial paradise. "Perhaps my perennials are perfect! I should probably take pictures of the pink peonies in particular and present it to the exhibition. Then, more people will be pleased and I will be praised for my planting."

However, Isabella Insults was not impressed. Isabella had her own incredible garden. It was inconceivable to Isabella that Polly's garden could be interpreted as the best. So, Isabella insinuated to Polly that her garden could use some improvement. "With some instruction and intricate design your garden could become ingenious." Isabella interceded. "In fact, the Irises are indeed interfering. They interrupt with the flow and appear isolated." Isabella continually insulted Polly's perennials. Her carefully inserted insults pierced Polly's inflated pride.

While Isabella's insults were inexcusable, Polly's misplaced pride proved to be a problem. Polly then proceeded to pick at herself. She questioned the purpose in her planting.

Because Polly's perennials weren't pleasing to all the people who passed by, she lost her passion for her pretty plants. She no longer provided care for her perennials. She didn't take the picture of her pink peonies. She proposed to herself that she would never plant again and the weeds overtook her perennial paradise.

The purpose of this parable is to prove that pleasing people should never be our passion. Even though Polly had the sincere service of Samuel Servant; the creative compliments of Connie Compliment; and the earnest encouragement of Dr. Earnest Encourager, it was the insinuating insults of Isabella Insults that carried the most influence.

Perhaps Polly could use a principle found in Proverbs, "a prudent man overlooks an insult". (Proverbs 12:16) The apostle Peter also has some points she might practice. He said that we should not live the rest of our earthly lives for "evil human desires, but rather for the will of God". (1 Peter 4:2)

Pleasing people should never be our purpose. We can never please all people and insinuating insults could indeed interfere with our plans. Therefore, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith". (Hebrews 12:2)

2004 Copyright, Lisa D. Beaman
(All scripture is from the NIV)

Member Comments
Member Date
DeAnna Brooks11/08/04
What a creative way to remind us that it is to be our focus on the Lord that motives our actions and our thoughts. Enjoyed your "Garden."
darlene hight11/08/04
Loved the creative use of words. Very enjoyable read with a powerful message.
Lynda Lee Schab 11/08/04
Connie compliments would be congratulating you on completely captivating, creative, incredibly convicting content!
Loved it, loved it, loved it!
Lynda likeditalot

Corinne Smelker 11/08/04
Lisa - this was good. But I feel like the last three paragraphs could have been left out - you didn't need to explain the purpose of the parable - you showed us so clearly in the story you didn't need to tell us. Perhaps you could have ended with... "Perhaps Polly should have pondered the profound words found in..."
Debbie OConnor11/08/04
Deliciously delightful! A wonderful entry.
Deborah Anderson11/08/04
I was amazed at how skillfully this was written. Great job! I also thanked God for the message in this piece. Isabella Insult has paid me a few visits lately, and I needed to read this. God bless you.
Mary Elder-Criss11/09/04
Oh, that irritating Isabella Insults! How she loves to instigate ill feelings and cause our eyes to reflect inward on our imperfections!!

Amazing piece. I've often become distracted by the insults, instead of focusing on Jesus and the encouragers. Thanks for a timely reminder! Blessings! Mary
Rita Garcia11/09/04
Lisa, loved the visit in your garden, enjoyed the message. Blessings, Rita
Liz Hoyt Eberle11/10/04
Delightful! Did this demand diligent digging? Loved it!
Melanie Kerr 11/11/04
Good work. I would have thought that the alliteration would have necome tedious and forced - but what you came up with was entertaining and natural!
Joanne Malley11/11/04
I loved your creative slant. Ingenious and very entertaining to read!
Kathlyn Fauchon11/11/04
I loved this very creative story. Wonderful!
Mitzi Busby11/14/04
Marvelous work. I needed the reminder. I tend to be like Polly Peoplepleaser or Polly Peasemaker. Mitzi the Messenger takes some sharp words for her personality. Thanks for the reminders!
Donna J. Shepherd11/14/04
I love alliteration, so this was heavenly! Very skillfully written and executed. You got my vote! - Donna