Tag Archives: Jesus

Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser–What If

I hate to admit it, but people pleasing is an addiction. The truth is, when people call me, depend on me, seek me out to do something my ego is fed and my image is enhanced.  It provides a temporary high. And just like the temporary high from a batch of brownies or a chemical enhancement, this temporary high ends with a crash leaving me craving even more.

For years I convinced myself it was an element of servanthood – I was putting others before myself. That’s what Scripture says so I had to say ‘yes’ to every call. Right?

As I committed to a closer relationship with Christ and dug deeper into His Word I found that was slightly out of context.

Jesus was always in demand, everyone wanted His attention. Jesus did not always say ‘yes’ to everyone. While there are many stories, let’s look at one in John 5, verses 1-9.  Many are waiting by the Pool of Bethesda to be healed. Jesus certainly could have healed every single person there with just a word. But, instead, he healed one.

Jesus also taught being busy was not more important than time with the Lord. Look at the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Martha busies herself with preparations while Mary sits at Jesus feet, listening to all he has to say. Martha asks Jesus to get on to Mary and tell her to get up and help. Jesus reminds her Mary is doing what is most important, that at that moment, all of Martha’s busy work is less important than the one thing Mary is doing. 

Ouch!  While there times I need to be busy, I must accept there are times I am slow down.  I can’t hear God’s still small voice if I am busy doing a dozen other things.

Scripture also tells a story of our own preparedness and that we each have responsibilities. Take a look at Matthew 25. There are 10 virgins, waiting for the bridgegroom to call. The time has come to go out to meet him. Five of the 10 are prepared with lamps full of oil, five did not fill their lamps and as they were walking needed them filled.  When the asked the 5 who were prepared to give them oil, these responded with ‘no, then I may not have enough for myself’.  The 5 unprepared had to seek their own oil and missed the banquet.  Yes, the 5 could have given up their oil, but why?  All had the same opportunity to prepare. Five chose not to make the meeting of the bridegroom a priority, and missed out. You could also look at this in another light: stewardship. Each was given the responsibility of their own lamp – five took care of the chore assigned them, five did not.

Setting priorities like stopping all the activity to sit at Jesus feet, or choosing to provide for my family by not sharing my oil is hard!!!  These are tough choices.  And many times we allow ‘circumstances’ to occur so we can declare “I had no choice”…and there may be times that is true.  But if you look seriously at you daily actions you will find many choices you made, even if unconsciously.

Setting priorities leads to a lot of “what if” questions. 

  • What if I turn down this big project at work? I will be spending more time at home but I may lose out on the next promotion.
  • What if I limit my children’s sports activities to a couple nights a week instead of 5? What if they are then not as good as the other kids on the team?
  • What if I don’t accept that committee appointment?
  • What if?

Life is filled with what ifs. We must each decide what is most important.  By saying YES to one thing, we are saying NO something else.  OR perhaps by saying NO to one thing, we are saying YES to something else.

No, I will not serve as head of the HOA this year – Yes, I will spend those evenings of heated discussed instead with my family

Yes, I will teach that Sunday School class – No, I cannot sit in the sanctuary with my husband at that time

Choices. We have to make them. Some are not life changers: chocolate or vanilla cupcake, coke or pepsi, hamburger or hot dog.  We make choices all day long. Do I open my eyes now? Do I get out of bed? Do I go to work? What do I wear?

What if

  • you chose not to go to work
  • you decided not to put gas in the car when it was so near empty
  • you didn’t pay the electric bill

And on and on it goes. I try not to answer right away when asked to do something, responding, “may I check my calendar and family, then get back with you”.   What if I miss out on that big event? What if I miss out on the little events God has provided for me? 

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser – Inner Peace

The worst part about being a people pleaser – in my opinion – is the inner turmoil.  The constant weight of knowing there is someone expecting more of me, I can never do enough, I didn’t do it exactly as they hoped, by doing what one person wanted another is upset with me, and on it goes.

I would look at people who appeared to have peace and wondered ‘how do they do it, what is their secret’. 

The answer is, in my opinion, they are not controlled by my opinion – or anyone else’s.  They are not looking to others for validation.

Recently our small group did a study by Kyle Idleman called “gods at war”. My take away from this study was that I make the opinions of others a ‘god’ in my life – I idolize the person and their opinion.  Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. My heart treasures their opinion of me.  Then the turmoil begins, Suzie Q is pleased with me but Sally Jo is not. I cannot ‘serve two masters’ as verse 24 of the same chapter says. I cannot please both of them. And if I am pleasing them, I am certainly not pleasing God!  No wonder my nerves are tied like a pretzel and I cannot make a firm decision of the direction to go. I cannot have inner peace when I am so conflicted internally.

If I choose to do something which pleases another person and there are good consequences, they are willing to accept the responsibility “see I told you so”. BUT…… I the result is not pleasing, they are not responsible, I am. I am the one who chose my action, I am the one who will responsible and I am the one who will suffer as a result.  I may try the ‘victim’ role but in the end I made the decision.

If I desire to serve God, I cannot serve man. God did not make the other person more valuable than myself. I am valuable, I can make my own decisions and I can live with the consequences of my my decisions.

So why do I question myself?

Perhaps it is a lack of self-confidence. Maybe it is part of my perfectionist attitude that tells me if anyone sees me as a failure then I am a failure. After much soul searching I wonder if it a lack of faith. I am placing more trust in the people around me than on God. (ouch, that hurt)

Big question, now that I am facing this question of faith, what am I going to do with it?

This blog is one thing. I am making myself accountable – not to you, but to myself. By journaling like this I am learning about myself. Once the issue comes to my heart and mind I cannot ignore it. I am facing it.  I do this publicly because I don’t believe I am doing it alone. I may change my point of view several times as I search deeper. I am facing myself in the mirror. I don’t want to put makeup over the sore spots, I want to heal them. I want inner peace. I want the PEACE OF GOD flowing through my entire being.  I cannot achieve God’s peace striving for man’s peace.

Am I alone in this? Comment below if you are on this journey as well.

Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser – an Introduction

My name is TerryAnn and I am a People Pleaser.

If there was an anonymous group for this, I would be a charter member. 

I have lived my whole life trying to do what others wanted me to. I would then be in turmoil when the desires of 2 more differed or it wasn’t something I wanted. I would have this internal battle over why these people had a control over me. What made them or their opinions and desires more important than mine?

One day I was listening to Aaron Wilburn tell the story of “Hiny The Mule”.  (see the presentation via YouTube here).  It was a funny look at what it is like to please everyone. YOU CANNOT DO IT!!!

HisApproval The struggle to please everyone took away the inner peace I desired.  Christ promised us in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  He promised HIS peace. I wanted that peace. So I started to look to Him instead of others.  It wasn’t and still isn’t easy to do. I struggle daily with it. But I realize it is a decision; a decision I must make numerous times a day. I feel burdened when I have done something I think might even slightly displease others. Then I started comparing that to the burden I feel when I don’t have peace about that. Though both burdens are heavy, the conflict and inner turmoil within myself was heavier.

That person I didn’t please (or thought I didn’t please) will have forgotten the situation long before I do.  I am hurting myself more. Sure, some people will reject me. Rejection is hard. Were they really someone whose opinion of me is important enough to live with the inner turmoil?

The hard realization is: it is MY decision.  No matter what others say, my actions are my own.  I am responsible for them, not everyone I hope to please. So I am intentionally adjusting my focus from people pleasing to God pleasing.

Are you on this same journey?  Will you join with me?  We can walk together on the path toward God’s Inner Peace.