I’m Done People Pleasing…(Is that ok?)

“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?



Be careful what you ask for…..

Matthew 7:7-8 states  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

I was at work, standing in the elevator praying.  I specifically asked God to break my heart for what breaks his in me.  It took about 3 minutes for him to answer.  I had been called to help with a patient.  As I walked in the room I felt my heart shatter.  Laying in the bed was a single mom of three.  There were pictures of her kids all over the walls.  Pictures of her with them. Pictures of her with family and friends. Pictures that made you understand who she was and how important and loved she is as a human being, a mom, a daughter, a friend.  As my gaze fell back on her I realized that she had tried to take her own life.  She did it in the exact same manner that I failed at.  And now, she would never be the same.

In that very moment, deep in the feelings of my shattered heart, God showed me exactly how  heartbroken and anguished he was when he saw me in despair.  He showed me how he felt as he sat with me in my darkness.  It was crushing.  The feeling wrapped around my heart in  a grief that I could not bear.  It was then that I understood His unfailing love for me and how connected His heart really is.  I now have no doubt that He hurts when I hurt and that He weeps when I weep.

This has happened multiple times.  Almost every time I pray this prayer and ask him to use me, this is what I walk in to.  The calling is clear, the accepting is difficult.

“But God,  I am not equipped….I don’t have the strength….I am wrecked myself. I am not brave enough.  You want me to tell MY story?  Why?!?!?!”  My pleas were answered every time with the simple “You asked me to use you, I’m calling you, trust me.”

So I am trusting.  I am stepping out in faith and I am asking, one more time “God, use me, I’m ready.”




Lean Forward

Lean Forward…..what does it mean, what doesn’t it mean.  When my husband and I were dating, i was working through some huge fear issues.  Sooooo what does he do?  He takes a girl afraid of everything and teaches her to snowboard.  I vividly remember, one of the first trips, sitting at the top of the run which, at the time, seemed steeper than the Trango Towers, trying to find the courage to stand up and try to to just hone my skills with the falling leaf move down the mountain.  I sat there, toe side, with my back to the slope for what seemed like an eternity.  My very patient instructor/boyfriend asked me if i was ready.  “I need to let this anxiety pass”  I shouted in what must have been the worlds most irritated tone.  “Okay” he replied calmly, “take your time and let it pass.”   When what seemed like an eternity had gone by he asked “Has it passed?”  To which my reply was a simple, stern “NOPE”.   I did make it down the mountain that day.  More like a “shaking leaf” than a “gracefully falling” leaf, but never the less, with some encouragement I made it alive.  Needless to say, by the end of the season, he had taught me many skills in facing and overcoming fears.  The biggest of those was to “lean forward”.  It’s how you gain momentum, how you find balance, how you make it off of a lift without bruising your tailbone.  Within all of that, I learned that if I did, in fact, just “lean forward” and face my fear/anxiety head on, that I could move through it.  It has since become a key phrase for me.  To ground me when anxious, doubtful, afraid, untrusting or just challenged.  “Lean forward”  Lean into the grace and protection that only our one true Father can provide.  Knowing that no matter what, there is celebration and healing on the  other side.

The weaker we feel, the harder we lean and the harder we lean, the stronger we grow.     JJ Packer