“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.” Galatians 1:10
Ahhhhh people pleasing. One of my choice methods of unintentionally burying myself in perceived expectations and silencing my own voice. I could blame it on others, however, its not them. It’s absolutely 100 percent my choice whether or not to set boundaries. Which is kind of a conundrum in itself. How does a people pleaser set boundaries???? What if it makes people mad? What if they don’t like me? What if it causes…..GASP…conflict??? In the words of one of my favorite criminal masterminds (Vizzini /Princess Bride) “INCONCEIVABLE!”
I cannot help but believe that some of the struggles I have faced stem directly from people pleasing. It’s not healthy. In fact it’s an extremely toxic behavior. Not only to me but to those around me as well. There is a saying that you “teach people how to treat you.” I have found this to be very true. And once you are far enough down the road into your relationship with them (whether it be a parent, significant other, friend, child) it turns into a cycle. It can be very hard for others to adjust when you do start setting boundaries. That’s not to say that it can’t be done, however it can be a little difficult. I myself have lost people when I have decided that I am worth more than their opinions of me and of whether or not they like me. (That’s a hard one to swallow, I want EVERYONE to like me. Well most people…haha, we all have our limits.)
I have a very bad habit of listening to people’s opinions of me. Some of them to my face, some behind my back. The problem with this is, whether true or not, I naturally start to believe what people are saying and take it on myself. I start to live out OTHER peoples truths about me and completely ignore the truths that God has placed in me. Truths that call me to a purpose. Truths that set me aside as one of His beloved children.
Learning to live Gods truths and believe them about myself isn’t the easiest of tasks. I have to remind myself daily, sometimes hourly, because somehow, things people have said to me, judgements they have made about me, criticisms they have spoken, whether it be verbally or simple eye rolls or body language, stick so deeply in my heart and my memory bank that they seem to pop up at the most inopportune times. (i.e. when i’m feeling good about who God created me to be.)
Our own friends and family can give us shame messages with comments or opinions that aren’t constructive. They can be downright rude as a matter of fact. Speaking for myself, in the past, this silenced me, isolated me and frankly caused me to avoid people in my life and in some cases walk completely away from them.
My challenge now is to forgive. Nothing in my life has been a waste. God has a road laid out for me. He has known every move I’m going to make before I have made it. He has and is using every single bit of it for HIS glory. So why on earth would I worry about what other people think about me or their opinions for that matter. It’s not my job to make people happy. It’s not my obligation to take their advice (unwarranted or not). It’s not my job to make decisions that make them comfortable or happy. What is my job is to love and forgive and honor God being the ME that he created.
When I intentionally remind myself and/or question if the situation at hand matters and who am I trying to truly please…the answer is rarely God. I’m working on that. I know when I am focused on pleasing Him alone, everything else falls to the side. Insecurity, feeling less than, being silenced, feeling judged or unworthy, anger….the list is too long to continue, which doesn’t matter, because if I can keep my focus on what HE wants, that’s all that matters. He will never fail me, He will never give up on me, He will never lead me astray. He knows my heart and He knows the plans he has for me. He is the ONLY one I need to please.
THAT, my friends, is ALL that matters.
Some of the truths God has for me:
- I am worthy
- I am brave
- I am a warrior
- I love fiercely
- I am HIS child
- I am GOOD
- I am exactly how and who He made me to be.
What are your truths?