It has taken me years to escape the clutches of people pleasing.
It’s only been through prayer and finding my identity in Jesus that I’ve gained freedom from this debilitating mindset.
Here are the lessons I’ve learned along the way:
People pleasing is an idol.
I know. That’s hard to hear.
It certainly was for me.
But the thing is, placing anything on throne of our lives other than Christ, leads us to worship, seek, feed into, and put our identity in false idols…and I was holding up people pleasing as a god without even realizing it.
10 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
It is impossible to serve more than one master.
By continuing to put people pleasing on a pedestal, I was stunting my ability to grow spiritually and emotionally.
13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” ~Jesus (Luke 16:13)
Obviously, the love of money isn’t people pleasing, but they’re both idols that ensnare us in the same way.
What’s so dangerous about idols?
It creates an ever-growing wedge between us and God, chipping away at our prayer life, our relationships (in and outside of the church), and our ability to serve Jesus.
The opposite of people pleasing isn’t abrasiveness, but humble and grace-filled confidence in Christ Jesus.
I’ve known several people in the past who have gained freedom from people pleasing, only to find themselves yet again heading in the wrong direction. They went from allowing themselves to be taken advantage of, to being selfish, bossy, obnoxious, easily offended, and a bully always looking for an argument.
The truth is, real confidence comes from humility not abrasiveness.
In spite of getting a bad reputation, humility doesn’t mean what most people think it does.
Humility is not about being weak or insecure, being used as a doormat, or never standing up for truth. This false thinking leads to selfishness, where we begin thinking of ourselves more by constantly focusing on how we are worth less than everyone else.
True humility is having enough Christ-centered confidence to think of ourselves less and to think about others more. Genuine and lasting confidence is never found through people pleasing or being a bully, but focusing on Jesus.
Like any other stronghold that has its hold on us, the fortified walls of people pleasing doesn’t come down over night.
It takes time, hard work, commitment, and patience to pull down one stone at a time. It also requires that we have compassion and grace, not only for ourselves, but for others who are fighting similar battles.
Over all, there’s no hierarchy at the foot of the cross.
We are all sinners desperately in need of the Savior.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. ~Galatians 3:26-28, NIV
Once I started viewing other believers as my “co-workers in Christ,” as the Apostles Paul liked to call us (Romans 16), I stopped viewing myself as less or more than anyone else.
And, gradually, I began to take down people pleasing from the altar in my heart and replace it with the one who built that altar while I was still in my mother’s womb: God.