Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Laying Aside People Pleasing, Running With Fellowship

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I still trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
This chapter in our study is one that can speak to everyone in one way or another. Let's face it, it matters to us how we are perceived. It matters too much. But how do we change?

It is true that it is constrictive and burdensome to have to be constantly worrying about what people think, or what they might think or say...It is actually living a lie if we try to be all things to all people, or all things to some people. Either way we are NOT FREE if we are trying to be something we aren't.

Let's get some help from the Lord in having this burden lifted...truly He is our source for the fulfillment that we crave. He is the only one who understands our heart of hearts, and has perfect love for us. When it is He we seek to please, when we know we have his approval, it enables us to have true fellowship with others without the masks coming between us. Imagine running a race with no one around, how lonely and perhaps futile it would seem... In this race toward eternity, we don't need the distraction or worry of the "what if's", but we do need one another to encourage us along the way. We need to have people to share life with.

Many have heard of Joyce Meyer's book, "Approval Addiction". I have never read it, but every time I hear the title, I know what is in that book. I am a recovering "Performance-based acceptance" person. In other words, my worth depended on how well I performed. If I had approval, I was doing well, if I disappointed people...well, I felt inferior. Like a failure. What a strain in my life. Two times I went through deep anxiety and the second time it went on so long, it turned to depression. I was looking at me so much, no wonder I was depressed. Everything was about how I was doing, or how other's were responding to me. Me, me, me~ugh!

Well, going through a little hell like that helped me learn alot of lessons. You have heard it said, in trial you become bitter, or you become better. The choice is up to you. I think for awhile I was bittter, but now...praise the Lord, I am better.

Knowing you are following what the Lord wants you to do, frees you from unrealistic expectations from others. Let's face it, some people can be demanding & critical. One of the passages of scripture that I love and the Lord used to set me free is: Mark 1:35-38

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.”

When I looked at Jesus' response to the people who wanted him, I realized what freedom looked like. It was focusing on "doing the will of the Father". As Jesus stated many times...that is what he came to earth to do. That is to be my focus. What liberty, and also JOY there is in knowing you are in the center of God's will. Then all the criticism in the world cannot get you down, or into doubting. And we will face it all of our lives. We must learn to focus on Jesus and we must learn that He is our greatest advocate, our defender when we are accused. And we must meet Him daily (as Jesus did in the above passage~He went away to pray) to know what He wants us to do each day and in each situation. So let's put off people pleasing, and walk in freedom.

"Our Lord was never suspicious, never bitter, never in despair about any man, because He put God first in trust; He trusted absolutely in what God's grace could do for any man. If I put my trust in human beings first, I will end in despairing of everyone; I will become bitter, because I have insisted on man being what no man can ever be-absolutely right. Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or in anyone else." Oswald Chambers


Kathryn said...

Such a powerful and liberating Truth, Kathy! I, too, am a recovering "people-pleaser", and the Scripture that you quoted from Mark was also a great encouragement to me. Every day (all throughout each day!), I am praying to serve the Lord's good will, purpose, and pleasure ... His and His alone. He has been so precious and faithful to relieve my burden of pleasing others, but every day I have to consciously choose Him first. And, when I do, He graciously orders everything ... and everyone. :-)

lisasmith said...

Hi, My name is Lisa and I'm a people pleaser.

Melanie said...

A good word!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Great glad that I stopped by.

I am posting on our Disney trip so hope you will stop by. Also, the June giveaway starts today...all comments left in June will be in the drawing for the "June Card Box"! You will have to go down a few posts to read about the monthly giveaway.

Judy said...

I am the same way. In fact, I take do as unto the Lord a bit too far, I think. In that, I feel I have to win people's approval to win God's approval. But, I MUST remember that God's approval and man's approval are not even close to being the same thing, for, that would be idolatry. It's taken nearly 40 years to learn this lesson, but, slowly, I am catching on! :) Enjoyed your blog, will visit again. Please stop by mine anytime.

~Trina~ said...

I haven't had much time lately to check in on my favorite blogs, but made time tonight and am glad I did. Excellent!

Warren Baldwin said...

I linked here from Shonda's blog. And visited for a view minutes. I looked at your other blog, too, the store. My wife would really like that one!

Very good post here. I am a minister, so have wrestled with the people-pleasing problem. One thing I have learned is that if we try to people please, we wind up frustrating them, our family and ourselves. When we fellowship them (I like your distinction here), in a healthy context, rather than just please them, we can actually serve their needs better. We might see that instead of trying to please them, we might actually need to lovingly rebuke them. But if we operate from a position of pleasing instead of honestly relating, we can't do what the situation calls for.

Again, good post. wb