I am a people-pleaser. I always have been. I want to make sure that everyone is happy, but more importantly I want to be sure they are happy with me. Nothing makes me more uneasy than the thought that someone might, possibly be upset with me. This has caused an endless amount of anxiety in my life, because like all of us, I am full of faults. I put my foot in my mouth. Often. I have been known to step on more than a few toes. But this is so desperately not who I want to be. As a result, I learned from a very young age to apologize well, and apologize often. I’ve since been told that I have an “I’m sorry” problem. I apologize senselessly for the most ridiculous things that are completely out of my control. All because I desperately want those around me to be pleased. Most importantly, I want the Lord to be pleased, but all too often I forget this in my search for human approval.
For example: I didn’t graduate from high school in the conventional way. I didn’t complete four years and walk across the stage. The way I saw it I “dropped out” and got my GED. Which is true. But I decided to drop out having obtained all necessary credits apart from 1 in English. I went on to earn nearly perfect scores in the English portions of the GED test, and I began working an entire year earlier than most of my peers. But I couldn’t get excited about that. I was sure when I received that “General Equivalency Diploma” it might as well have stamped “loser” across my forehead (despite the fact that many of my home-schooled friends had the same document). I was so ashamed by what I imagined people to be thinking of me, since I certainly didn’t think much of myself. So when my parents threw me a surprise graduation party, I was mortified. They revealed that dozens of people were gathered to honor my accomplishments and I secretly wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. I was surprised to find that these people were genuinely proud of me, even if I wasn’t proud of myself. It was then I began to see that perhaps my perceptions of how people saw me were not as true as I believed.
Worrying about what others may think of me and the decisions that I make has caused no small amount of anxiety for me, especially in the last year. This fear has unfortunately made me hesitate in the directions God has clearly given to me. So it came as no surprise that the words He spoke to me for this year began with, “Please me.” Please Him. Not “Please your family.” or “Please your friends.” or “Please your church.” or even “Please yourself.” His word is to please Him. I spent the last year learning to hear his voice. Now I must learn to obey Him, no matter the cost. His is the only opinion that matters in the end. He alone is the one I will give account to. I would say that I have lost sight of this goal, but the truth is I’m not sure I’ve ever had sight of it.
If I’m being completely honest the thought of publishing this blog scares me silly. My mind is racing over all the ways that it could be misunderstood or taken out of context. I worry, “Will they think that I’m trying to dismiss godly counsel in favor of my own opinion?” When this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Lord spoke to me saying, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” If I make it my singular goal to seek His kingdom rather than the approval of man, He promises to sustain me. I must let go of the obsession I have with pleasing everyone all the time and turn my attention to pleasing Him alone. This fight to change the way I think has only just begun, but I have no doubt that He will transform what is broken. Instead of being bound to please men, I am bound to please my Heavenly Father. There is no greater delight. He will set me free.
Do you ever struggle with pleasing man vs. pleasing God? How do you overcome this?