Overcoming People Pleasing
(Forsaking The Approval of Men)
Somehow we have equated seeking to please people with being a good Christian, when in fact true Christianity has nothing to do with seeking to please others, but seeking to please God. You may be thinking, “Ashley, how is that true? God tells us to love others and to put their needs before our own. That’s people pleasing! God wants us to always please others.” I thought the same thing for the longest time until through deeper study of God’s word, I was shown and proven otherwise. As you read this blog, I want to show you what God’s word has to say on the topic of people-pleasing.
I want to encourage you and help you realize that God has not called you to be a people-pleaser, but to be a pleaser of Him.
If I’m honest, this blog is a very personal one for me. As I type these words, I can feel the tears well up in my eyes. For the longest time I was someone many would consider a people-pleaser. For years I felt as if I had to constantly seek the approval of others in EVERY thing that I did. If someone did not like something I did, I would change it until they did. Things like my appearance, my mannerisms, I almost even chose a career path simply because that’s what others wanted me to do! It became so bad, that it started to become somewhat of an obsession.
It was no longer about God, but about people and their opinions. Looking back on everything, I know my heart was not in the right place. My heart was so set on pleasing others, that I had yet to fully surrender this weakness and struggle to God.
I was trying to be superwoman! Be the good friend, the best daughter, the amazing sister, and the wonderful Christian…but deeply rooted within me was an emptiness. My people-pleasing ways, was in fact a by-product of my insecurity. It was so deeply rooted that it took me the longest time to actually realize that I had an issue with the sin of people pleasing! YES, the SIN of people-pleasing. You may be thinking, “Man Ashley, that’s a bit extreme! You consider people-pleasing a sin?” YES! God’s word commands us to,
“In everything we do, whether it be word, thought or deed, do all for the glory of God.” (Col 3:17, 1 Cor 10:31)
So, any time our reason for doing something is not first and foremost for the Lord, we are acting contrary to what God’s word has said.
The greatest command states, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22: 37-39)
God must always have first priority in our hearts and lives.
He is God and we should have NO other gods before Him, including the little gods we call people.
God should be the reason and the impetus behind everything we do. You see, we may even have good intentions. Statements like, “I just want to make my parents proud, or I want to make my spouse happy, I just want to be the best employee for my boss, or I want my friend to know that I care for them.” Those are ALL wonderful things, however your reasons for doing those things and feeling that way should always first be because you’re doing it for the Lord. You’re loving them, being kind to them, caring for them, giving your best…not just to please them, but to first and foremost please God.
You see we cannot properly love or please others outside of loving and pleasing God first. True love is impossible to be depicted if God, and loving Him is not at the root of our hearts.
That’s why Matthew 22:37 is so amazingly beautiful! It’s telling us and showing us that we must first love God with EVERYTHING within us and as a result we will love others as a by-product of loving Him.
Galatians 1:10 states, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be as servant of Christ.”
Christianity should NEVER be based on winning the approval and praises of people.
If we seek to live for the praises of men, we will die by their rejection.
People pleasing does not bring about peace, but it brings about just the opposite! That’s why if your motive for doing something for someone is to please them, when you don’t get the reaction you expected, your whole mood, world, and demeanor will be negatively affected.
However, if you live to please the Lord, you will love others and give your best in everything you do unapologetically.
Their responses and reactions will not dictate whether you will keep loving and doing good. Why? Because God will be the driving force behind all of who you are! What a wonderful state to be in! To know that the God of Heaven is proud to call you His child, because you do everything to please Him and glorify Him! The amazing thing about serving God, is if you do it with a sincere heart, and for His glory, your life will have such peace..such AMAZING, SWEET, SERENE PEACE! Glory to His name!
I want to leave you with these few words of encouragement.
God did NOT design you to please people, He designed you to please Him.
If you are someone who struggles with the sin of people-pleasing, please know that you are not alone. Living in a state of seeking to please God is an everyday task that takes work, effort, and patience. I too myself still struggle at times with wanting to please others first, before the Lord. However, in those moments I have to remind myself who it is that I’m truly living for. At the end of the day if I’m not doing it for the Lord, then who am I really doing it for? So I want to encourage you today, choose to relinquish the shackle and weight of people-pleasing in your life!
Forsake the approval of men. Seek to please God with all of who you are!
You were designed to please Him, not people. He is your God and you are His. He loves you tremendously. Be Encouraged!
When you die, what will people pleasing profit you? Nothing. Let it go. Please God!