You Might Be A People Pleaser If...
People pleasing. Oh, how well I know this topic. For many years, I worried over what others were thinking and how I could make them happy. Some of those people were my own family. For some reason, those who are victims of abuse tend to walk away from that abuse with an overwhelming need to please people. Some of that logic comes from the idea that if we had done something different, we would not have been abused.
Well, that is just a lie.
Anyway, I don't think this bondage of always trying to please man is just a side effect of abuse. I think it's simply a side effect of being human. The enemy loves it when we pour all our energy into making man happy because he knows we will easily disregard God's opinion.
That's exactly what he wants.
I heard recently that you really aren't living a life of freedom until you shake off the fear of man. Did you know being a people pleaser is really a fear? It's a heavy, large, thick chain of bondage and it is labeled: fear of man. We run ourselves ragged trying to make everyone happy because we are so scared of what they will say to us, do to us, think of us if we don't conform to their ideas. The truth though, is that there is no pleasing man. We are all fickle and unpredictable. There is no consistency in our flesh. God is the only one with a consistent character. He is always the same. Are you afraid of man? There are some sure signs in our life that we are trying to please man. At least, these were some of the signs I began discovering in my own life and, as I always say, I only share from my own experiences...
Obligation. The most common phrase we recite in our minds when we are fighting this fear of man is "I have to do that, or...." Or what? They won't like you? They will say something nasty about you? What is going to happen if you don't do that thing you think you have to do because someone else wants you to do it? Notice this way of thinking doesn't involve much of God's voice. When I was in a place of constantly trying to please everyone else, God was not the first place I ran for advice. In fact, I don't think I ever asked him for wisdom. I didn't have time for that because I was too busy running in circles to fulfill all those obligations. Now, the first place I go with any decision is God.
"Is this a good thing that will please you?"
"Are you calling me to do this for that person?"
This is an issue of trust, friend. If we don't trust the voice of God, we won't ask him what he thinks. So, if you struggle with fear of man, maybe it's time to rethink your walk with God. Why do you not trust his leading? Why do you feel so desperately the need to please everyone else? My heart was a mess, that's why I wasn't trusting God. I was mad at him, I was hurt, I was well, a mess. There was no peace in my spirit. Do you need some peace? Well, believe it or not, lack of peace can be directly related to this fear of man. You will find no peace as long as you work to please man. For every person you please, there will be a line behind them of people you didn't please. Picture the hamster running on his little wheel....never getting anywhere but oh, so very tired. Don't work from a place of obligation, friend. Instead, allow God to show you when to say yes and when to say no. When you say yes because he led you there, joy will fill your soul. When you say no because he led you there, you will taste freedom you never have before.
Worry. Worry was my constant companion when I was trying so hard to please people. My mind was exhausted always, thinking of every possible outcome, every personality involved....it was all so exhausting. Jesus talks about worry in Matthew chapter six. Did you know that worry is directly linked to faith? Jesus actually says when we worry, we lack faith. Well, let me tell you, it takes faith to let go of this need to please everyone. It takes faith to believe that Jesus is enough, that he speaks truth always and that I can simply do what he says, instead of what everyone else says. Worry is like an old hag. It follows you around, with a whiny, annoying voice, telling you all the things that are wrong, all the people who might get mad, all the things you should say. It nags and nags and nags...until you are nothing but a ball of stress, afraid and confused. Don't worry, friend, about what everyone else thinks. Yes, if you follow God's voice, you will make some folks unhappy. Really though, wouldn't it be better to make others unhappy while knowing your Heavenly Father is pleased than to make some unhappy and stand alone, without God's strength? Rest in him, not in the opinion of others.
God has called me, after many years of hiding, into a life of vulnerability. He has called me to share from a very open and honest place and I am realizing with a sobering reality that its not for a season...it's for the rest of my life. I will fight this fear of man for the rest of my life. I know that at some point, I will say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing and disappoint someone. You know what, though?
Yes, it's okay if I let someone else down. It's okay because I am no longer working for my worth or acceptance. I am at peace, finally, because I believe that I am good in the eyes of God. He sees the future, the mistakes I will make, the people I will fail...and he still calls me good. That's enough for me. Release yourself, friend, from this need to please. It is a burden you are not meant to carry. You are worth more to God than you will ever be to anyone walking this Earth. Walk in faith, not in fear. Remember, it is not by works, not by words, not by anything you do that you are made whole. It is by the grace of a loving God. A loving God who accepts you just as you are,
even when others won't.
"Fearing man is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety." Proverbs 29:25