Do you believe you are who God wants you to be?
How much of your life is spent being a people pleaser? How much is spent trying to please God? Is it possible to get these two things confused?
If you grew up as a Christian like I did, being a servant and putting yourself aside for others is one of the things we are taught and certainly the Bible has something to say about this too. One of those passages is: Philippians 2:3-4, which says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
This verse is about not being self-centered and showing love to others. We are being transformed into the likeness of Christ, and that includes being loving and unselfish.
However, in our sinfulness, we sometimes get this wrong.
There are two main things that I see us doing.
- We put others first all the time, sometimes to the point of becoming like a doormat. We allow ourselves to be walked over, used and even abused at times by others. We think so little of ourselves that we just give in and do what others want.
- We seek the approval of others to find our self-worth. We say or do things in order to win that approval and in so doing, lose pieces of ourselves.
Do you see yourself somewhere on this continuum?
Being a people pleaser doesn’t happen overnight. This behavior is developed over time. We may have been taught to act a certain way which was reinforced with reward when we did. Over time, this type of behavior becomes ingrained in us. It is so natural that we don’t even question it.
But, it keeps us stuck. It keeps us from fully being who God created us to be.
It is impossible to please everyone, all of the time. It is impossible to get approval from others for everything we do. We are bound to disappoint or do something wrong at some point. Plus, it is sinful.
It’s God who both deserves and requires our devotion. He is Lord and it is Him we should seek to please. When we seek to please others and gain their approval, we are missing the mark completely. We are elevating a person to a place where God should be. When we find our self-worth in gaining the approval from others, we are building our foundation on something that won’t last.
The only one who can truly approve of us is God. Either we are living in a way that is pleasing to him or not.
There is so much freedom in letting go of pleasing others in order to simply live to please God. How do we do this?
- We need to stay connected to God. When we stay connected to Him, we are better able to know what His will and desire for us is.
- When you are confused, get back to the basics. Remember that our ultimate purpose is to please God and serve Him. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
- Ask yourself, am I seeking to gain another’s approval, or am I doing this out of love?
- Pray that God would open your eyes to what needs to change in your heart and mind and ask that He draw you near to Him.
If you have been seeking your self-worth from other’s approval, it’s like being a slave to an unpredictable master. You may have good days, but you will have bad days. You will never feel secure. You will walk around feeling unsure and confused much of the time and anxiety will be your friend. You don’t have to stay there! You can have security, love and acceptance in the arms of our Lord. There is nothing you have to do to receive this. It’s yours! Remember, Christ died for you. He loved you so much that He willingly gave Himself up for you. He has made you perfectly acceptable and approved by God. Because of Christ, you are pleasing to God.
Now, it’s your turn to accept that and to walk in the freedom that is yours. My prayer is that you will!