Are you a people pleaser?
I would definitely use those words to describe myself. I used to care deeply about what people thought of me; I was always trying to manage my reputation.
If I thought people did not like me, and I had not given them any reason to feel that way (that I could think of), I would be deeply distressed and spend hours pondering what I could have done.
I was constantly replaying conversations, evaluating my performance- trying to figure out ways to refine my ability to interact just right.
I can remember times when I was clinging to my friends for support, needing them to tell me I was ok, and wanting them to give me direction. My hope was in them, not in God. I did not seek Him first. My woes were not poured out in prayer at his feet. I ran first to the phone, or to a friends house- and even though my friends were Christians and sometimes we would pray together and they would give me Godly counsel- peace still escaped me.
This was no fault of theirs. It was the condition of my heart. A failure invite God into my daily struggles, to seek His counsel and guidance first before approaching friends with my burdens.
Over these past few years, in my unwilling isolation- God has showed me the treasure of placing Him first on my call list.
When it feels like my world is crashing down, and my heart and soul are in turmoil- He is my perfect peace.
And when I seek Him first- when I endeavor to live obedient to His Word- the desire to please people diminishes. I have realized there is no real pleasure in it. It was just a chain that bound me, a unnecessary burden that I carried.
When I was reading The Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer this morning, I realized that God has begun to set me free. And now I am empowered by seeing clearly how I can cooperate in that work He is doing within me.
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
When we live in freedom to please God and not people, we don’t simply isolate ourselves from people whose approval we can’t win.
When we claim this freedom in God, we can live at peace with all men- and we have a teachable spirit that is open to hearing both praise and criticism, and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit discerning truth in what others speak into our lives.
This frees us to love! Because love does not pour forth based on that person’s actions toward us but out of the love God has graciously poured into our lives through Jesus Christ.
Even as I share about what God has been revealing to me, I pray earnestly- Lord, let me claim this more boldly each day. As David said, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Ps. 73:25).
Oh Lord, thank you for granting wisdom to your children. For opening our eyes to see those things in our life that cripple us and keep us from living powerfully and effectively for you. You do indeed free us for joyful obedience when we seek Your face. When we acknowledge your Lordship. My heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness this morning as I think about you being wholly mine. I have all the strength and power of almighty God able to work in me and through me as I submit myself to you. You enable me to do every good work. Grow my faith and trust Lord. Stretch me and mold me that I may be a more effective witness for you. Continue to transform my mind that I may conform my life fully to your will. I want to live free. No longer bound by sin, no longer enticed my worldly things- but captivated by You. By the power of your Holy Spirit and the atoning sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.
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