Why people pleasing is a bigger deal than you think


Posts / Friday, January 22nd, 2016

people pleasing

Any other people pleasers out there? No… ok, just me?
People pleasing is something that I have wrestled with for over six years. When you read stories and blogs on freedom you think shame, fear, anger, abuse, etc.

You often don’t think of needing to be free from, well, making others happy.

The truth is – making people happy is a good thing. I love doing special things for my husband Parker that make him feel loved. If you are a Christian, you are called to live an unselfish life and to serve and love others.¬†However, people pleasing is something entirely different. To me, people pleasing is a pressure to perform. It’s a deep desire to be accepted and receive the approval of others.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people and the general consensus is “Don’t live to try to make people happy” and the main reason is, because it’s not good for you. However, as I dug deeper I realized that not only is people pleasing bad for you – IT IS THE DEATH OF YOU!

woah woah, Jessi …. that is a little extreme.

Well, just wait.

I believe that if you live for the approval of others, it is a slow death to who you are meant to be. It is in the tension of serving God and being transformed by the Holy Spirit and facing adversity that we become who we were always meant to be.

If you are trying to make people happy, you are not serving God.

Galatians 1:10
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.

When I read this verse, it changed everything for me. The verse DOES NOT say “Do not try to seek the approval of man and God because it will make you stressed.” It says that the two are in DIRECT OPPOSITION of each other. You can not be a servant of Christ and seek the approval of man. Period. But why?

God may ask you to do something that makes others uncomfortable.

Can you believe it? God is actually not completely concerned with our comfort. If you want to advance the Kingdom and make any difference in the world whatsoever, you need to be different.

2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

This is an especially hard Word for anyone in public ministry. Being a preacher, you want people to respond and receive your message. I was recently speaking at a conference and felt the tension of preaching a message that would make the crowd go wild, or preaching a message that God wanted them to hear. The truth is, after three years of ministry – the very large crowd of Jesus thinned out. His message was offensive. In society today, we love the quotes and Instagrams that make us feel good. I know I do. However, 2 Timothy says there is a time where people will want to suit their own passions vs. the truth. If you are living to make the crowd happy, how can you be used by God?

So, what can you do?

Honestly, I think this is a process more than a magic pill. I think its daily choosing to ask God to help you surrender your will. When we are presented the opportunity to make the crowds happy – our very voice is on the line. We choose daily where we will bow a knee. Surround yourself with people that can speak life into you when the crowds don’t, read the Scriptures and know what The Bible says about serving God, and ask the Holy Spirit to transform you from the inside out.

Have you ever struggled with this before?