You know who you are. And I just want you to know I feel your pain. You want to do well. You want to do things that will help people and make them feel supported and loved. So you take a lot on your shoulders. You don’t want to let someone down. You wonder often what others think, and you don’t want anyone to be disappointed in you or think you’re slacking. You really don’t like conflict, and it bothers you like crazy to know that someone is mad at you. After you finish a presentation or a project, you desperately want to know if it was good, if people liked it, or if there were parts that stunk. You just want to please people, but it’s exhausting. It’s an endless cycle of never good enough.
My fellow people pleasers, trust me; I know. And I feel your pain.
Can I give you a little encouragement today? I just want to share two things that I need to remind myself of day after day. I hope they’re helpful for you too.
#1 I live—first and foremost—for God, not for other people.
Wait, shouldn’t I serve others and love my neighbor as myself? Yes, but only if that comes from—first and foremost—serving and loving God above all else. The Bible tells me: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If God made me and saved me and gave me life forever, I’ve been remade to live for him in every aspect of my life—even the mundane like eating and drinking. I’m not supposed to be a people pleaser; I’m supposed to be a God pleaser—all the time. And that’s actually way better! God accepts me right here, right now. Covered in Jesus’ perfection, God is already pleased with me. God smiles at me and welcomes me and forgives me and cherishes me constantly, simply because he made me his child. If I’m serving and pleasing others, it needs to be because that’s how I serve and please my God who makes me awesome. I live for him, not for everyone else.
#2 Not everyone is supposed to like me.
Oh boy, that’s a difficult one. I mean, if someone doesn’t like me, that means I’m doing something wrong, doesn’t it? Maybe. Maybe not. One time, Jesus said, “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you” (Luke 6:26). Sometimes it won’t please other people when I live—first and foremost—for God. Sometimes pleasing other people will lead me to compromise who I am as a Christian or what I ought to say and do as a child of God. Why would I do that? Sometimes people won’t like it when I set God-pleasing priorities they disagree with. Sometimes people will get mad at me for believing or saying what God says in the Bible. I need to be okay with that. I shouldn’t try to make people mad, but I also shouldn’t fret too much if I end up not being everyone’s favorite person. That’s okay. God still adores me. I’m cool with that.
To all my fellow people pleasers out there (and you know who you are), I want you to know I feel your pain. But hang in there. Remind yourself often of these two passages. Life gets a whole lot better when you do.
Kurt Wetzel is the mission pastor at Cross of Christ Church, serving the Treasure Valley in Idaho. He; his wife, Stephanie; and their kids love Friday Family Fun Days, music, gardening, the mountains, and—most of all—their Savior Jesus.
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