I have struggled with people-pleasing for as long as I can remember.
Here’s the truth, I don’t particularly like letting people down. I feel bad saying no. I hate tension and awkwardness. And I avoid conflict and confrontation like the plague.
On the surface, this may come across as helpful, maybe even endearing or selfless. But don’t be fooled. Motives are not always pure.
I hadn’t really considered these tendencies until several years ago when I was told people-pleasing was wrong, possibly even sinful.
That confused me a bit.
So, I did some praying, Bible reading, heart-digging, and processing with a community of friends that I knew cared for my soul more than they cared for my opinion. What I quickly realized was that the root of my people-pleasing behavior was not healthy.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
I was in bondage to the desire for the applause and approval of others. And this led to my people-pleasing tendencies.
I was saying yes to way too many things, not speaking up when needed and fitting into the boxes of what I felt other people expected of me. I wanted them to like me for my own selfish needs, not because I honestly had a heart to serve them.
Ugh. The heart can be so deceitful.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
When I was able to humble myself long enough to realize, confess and repent, I began to experience freedom and breakthrough.
Do I get it right all the time now? Are my motives always pure?
Nope and nope.
But by the grace of God, my radar is now turned on and He is gently working on me.
As always, we are becoming more like Jesus day by day — a work in progress.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26