Tag Archives: people pleasing

Committed to the Task

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters…Col 3:23

After doing a short bible study and focusing on this verse I went to make my bed and clean the bedroom.  Earlier in the week I had leaned down to pick up something and noticed the dust bunnies. My husband and I joke about them and the dust bunnies remained.

The dust bunnies crossed my mind and I tried to walk out of the room when this verse came back to me. I thought for a few moments then got out the vacuum and decided to evict the dust bunnies.

It is easy to ignore them as they are under the bed, I don’t store things under the bed, therefore I don’t make it a habit of looking under the bed. Out of sight, out of mind.

Then I started to think about the blessings God has given me. I have a lovely family. I have a beautiful home. In doing this small task of caring for the blessing given me, I am honoring God.

The job didn’t take long, I wondered why I put it off. I didn’t do it for my husband, he had already forgotten about them and didn’t plan to look under the bed anytime soon. I didn’t do it for me, I had ignored it this long. So I changed my focus. I did it as if I were working for the Lord. I thanked Him for the blessing of His love and provisions.

We all have choices to make. Ignoring dust bunnies was one of my mine. What choices are you making?

Even though no one notices a clean floor free of dust bunnies under the bed, I felt a sense of satisfaction when the job was finally done.

Whatever you do, do with all your heart as if you are working for the Lord.

Who are you working for? Who are you working to please?

Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser–Stuck in the Muck

Forgiveness.  The Bible tells me to forgive others. The Bible promises God has and will forgive me.  Psychologists and medical doctors say unforgiveness causes many physical and emotional problems. 

I understand all this. I can accept the premise of all these. Over time I have learned to forgive others for the wrongs done against me.

There is one I have the most trouble forgiving.  ME. This keeps me stuck and I am unable to move forward.  Everytime I try to step away it pulls me back in.

I have accepted the fact that harboring anger against another doesn’t hurt them one bit – it hurts me. I can be wary that I not allow you to hurt me again, but I forgive you.

What I have trouble forgiving is my part. Whether it is something I did that caused the other to hurt me OR my reaction to the hurt, I hold onto that pain I inflicted on myself. I feel such shame I cannot get past it. This guilt and shame keep me stuck and I am unable to move forward.  Every time I try to step away it pulls me back in.

Recent devotional and Scripture studies have led me to discovering the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is that feeling when I have done something wrong – shame focuses on who I am.  It has caused me to step back and look deeply at what I am holding on to.

I have had to look closely at what it is I am facing: guilt or shame.  I realize much of it is shame. Why? Because of the effect it has on me.  Shame tells me ‘I am not good enough”, that “no one could love me because of this” and “I am a failure”. 

These are LIES!!! I have to choose to ignore these lies. I must fight to remind myself of the truth. I am valued. My Savior died and defeated death for me. This would not be done for one who is ‘worthless’.

For what I am guilty of, I repent. Shame has no place in my life.  I CHOOSE to turn away from the negative thoughts and lies. I CHOOSE to focus on what is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (see Philipians 4:8 )

I choose what I put into my physical body when I eat, I also choose what I allow in my mind.  I choose to take control of these thoughts and focus on truth.

What do you do to keep shame at bay in your life?

Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser–Making My Own Decision

You probably don’t have to think extra hard to think of someone in your life that always knows what you should do.  One person in particular has an overwhelming personality and insists you do what they say is right you. Because you don’t like conflict or perhaps the other’s fierce determination they know what is best, you question your own judgment and do as they advised.

Can you relate? Or is it just me?

Part of people pleasing is doing things to make other people happy. Some people (speaking of myself here) will set aside their own decision making abilities and do as others insist, hoping the other person will like or even love them.  But it doesn’t work. Three things I realize in giving up my best judgment and doing what someone else has suggested.

  • Using the ‘doing what so and so told me to do’ takes the blame off you and you can now be a victim.
  • If things go well, the other person often enjoys taking the credit, reminding you how they knew best and often causing you to go deeper into questioning your own self worth.
  • If things don’t go well, the other person usually doesn’t take any responsibility toward it, opting out by saying something like “I was just giving you a suggestion, you are the one who made the decision” now adding frustration, guilt, and discouragement to your continuing self doubt.

I must stand firm in my beliefs and in my self worth.  This does not mean I cannot or will not change my mind. But changing my mind should come from considering valid information received, not pressure.

In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve are in the garden. Satan speaks to Eve and asks her a question. Not sticking to full truth in her reply satan asked her more questions and she followed his persuasion towards a decision that changed everything.  How often do we (speaking of myself here) allow others to persuade us toward something we are not fully comfortable with yet feel – at the time – it is the right thing to do, because while I am unsure that other person appears to be quite sure.

I am making an effort to slow down all conversations leading me toward another’s decision. In order to do this I have to remain focused: on my beliefs, on my desires and goals, on the direction each conversation is going.  I have to commit to MYSELF first. This isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

This is my life.  God gave me a brain and the ability to think for myself. I have the strength and ability to do what is right for me, even if someone else doesn’t agree.  This also means I have the strength and ability to deal with whatever consequences that come from my decision. 

I run the risk of not being like by someone, or being shunned by them. This fear of rejection is strong. What if they don’t like me anymore?  What if they tell other people how stupid they think I am?  In my heart, it hurts, but I have to remind myself, this isn’t a real ‘friend’ if they have to control me like this.

It also means I have to be careful in how I speak with others so I don’t lead them down the same path.

Look out world! A stronger me is emerging. You may not always get your way, and you just might be surprised by the results of me following my own path instead of the ones created for you.

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 – The Voices In My Head

I hear voices. Sometimes my mind is like the hard drive on my computer. It is filled with lots of information, much of it obsolete, some of it inaccurate like many posts on facebook, a bit of it incomplete; some are lies, some the truth. 

There are days it seems like I put the lies on an audio loop and turn the volume up to a deafening level.  I cannot think beyond the sounds, I cannot see clearly, I cannot function. “I am a failure” and “you really screwed that up” and “who do you think you are that anyone would listen to you”. The loop runs continuously with no escape.  It’s like the instructions on the shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, repeat.  The last instruction is repeat. There is no exit from the loop.


Eventually the shampoo bottle is empty. By the same token, listening to the wrong words empties me of strength: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Phillipians 4:8 tells us to “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”  Dwell on these, not the negative, defeating voices.

I like that word “fix”. There is a lot in my life I cannot fix, but what I allow myself to think on is something I can fix. I know not to keep repeating the shampoo  loop until the bottle is empty so I stop the process.  I must do the same with the voices in my head. But how????

Maybe I need to do like the woman in the War Room movie did, go outside and yell ‘NO’ to the voices. Sometimes I put on encouraging music and turn its volume up to drown them out. Other times I find a quiet spot with God’s Word. That quiet can be very powerful against the loud attacks if I will allow it and ‘fix my thoughts on what is true and good and right’.  If I think of the many good things about the person I was hurt by, I will drown out the yelling sound resonating in my head of the one thing that hurt me.  ‘Dwell on the fine, good things in others” we are reminded.

I love 4 part harmony in a song. The 4 parts some together so smoothly.  I like to try to tune my ear to one part – usually the bass, I love the sound of the bass line in the harmony. As I struggle in the loud roar of my mind to hear God’s still, small voice I am reminded He is with me, He never leaves me.  I need to turn down the voices of the world and turn up His voice. I need to tune my ear to that one part and hear what He is saying.

(edited to add the following which I remembered after publishing)

Something else I am doing I learned from a lesson by Theresa Ingram (see my previous post about her series “Precious in His Sight“).
I have some 3×5 index cards.  On one side I write at the top LIE/MISBELIEF.  Below that I write an untruth that haunts me.  In big letters below that I have written STOP, That’s not true.
Then I turn the card over and at the top have the word TURTH. Below that I write God’s truth.
I keep these in front of me at my desk and add cards whenever another lie attacks me.

What do you do to ‘tune out’ the negative, defeating voices from your world? Comment below. I’d love to hear how you face this.

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 – They Don’t Like Me

Are you one of those persons who can receive a compliment from 9 people, but then 1 person says something negative and it ruins your day?  I am.  Or, at least I was.  I am trying to become an “I was” in this instance, still working on it.

Why do we do it? Why do we allow that 1 negative comment to take us down? We just received 9 compliments for goodness sake!

For me, that negative comment becomes a huge banner waving high calling out “I am a failure”.  I know in my head it is not true, but my heart won’t let it go.

It was when I finally realized I was giving power of MY life to THAT person.  Why? I couldn’t come up with a good reason to the ‘why’ question.  Many times that person doesn’t even know they hurt me. Sometimes they do it specifically to hurt. Either way, I cannot change them. I can only change my response.

The first time I chose to ignore my usual response was so hard, it hurt! Change is not easy. But then I tried it again. Over time it became easier. Sure, there were times I didn’t focus on the change and I accepted the pain of the words. That was one battle, not the war, I had to choose to brush it off and go on to the next one.

I am a work in progress and so is this change in my personal thinking. What is the value in the comment?  What difference does it make to the world if someone doesn’t like my outfit, my hairstyle, what I chose to eat, or that I chose one activity over another.  As long as I am living a life that is pleasing to God, nothing else matters.

I like the way Paul B. Evans describes reasons people don’t like us. It helps to take down that failure banner.  CLICK HERE FOR HIS VIDEO ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE.

If you are living a valuable life, someone will dislike you.  That is okay. You are okay. I am okay.

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.