Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in Southern California near Palm Springs. The weather is perfect this time of year and all our rains have brought out the wildflowers.
I’m a People Pleaser. It’s hard to admit sometimes but the truth is, I’m motivated to please others for a variety of reasons and one main one is thinking I should never say “no.” Why? What is my thinking?
1. What will they think of me if I’m not the Super Woman who can say “yes” to everything?
2. If I don’t say “yes,” then I’ll miss out on the fun!
3. If I don’t say “yes,” the opportunity won’t get done to my standards!
4. If I don’t say “yes,” they might not ask me the next time.
5. (Put in your own reasoning).
People Pleasing is all about depending upon the opinions of others for our approval, rather than God. We fear making other people unhappy with us or think poorly of us. So we strive to do everything we can to appease other people and promote ourselves as important, valuable, or whatever vow we’ve made to promote or protect ourselves.
There are many examples of People Pleasing in the Bible. The most known one may be when King Saul succumbed to this strategy. His reaction is featured in 1 Samuel 13:8-14. Remember the story?
Saul was supposed to wait for Samuel to come so that the burnt offering could be given. But Saul saw the people scattering and he panicked. What did Saul fear that said about him? So Saul offered the sacrifice anyway. When Samuel showed up at the last minute, Saul knew he was in big trouble. Samuel asked, “What have you done?”
What was Saul’s reasoning? “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”
Samuel saw the folly of Saul’s reasoning and rebuked him. “…now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
Saul defends himself primarily giving the reason that the people were scattering. Could it be that he felt personally rejected by the people? Maybe them leaving meant they lacked confidence in him. As People Pleasers, that’s not what we want to hear, see, or feel. We need to feel the approval and support of others.
What was God looking for? A man after God’s own heart, but Saul’s heart was all about himself and the approval of others.
As writers and speakers, (or any kind of ministry, or even status in family and with friends), we can be sorely tempted with People Pleasing because we interact with so many and our sense of success is directly related to the opinions of others. Whether or not we’re chosen for a particular speaking engagement or a writing assignment or the popularity of our blog can communicate our worth and value. But God determines that.
Where can we all get the courage to choose God’s approval and not depend upon people’s opinions?
Lay hold of God’s promise, “What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6). God is the only one who will love us perfectly. Only he can provide unconditional love and approval beca
use of the “robe of righteousness” we wear because of Jesus’ redemptive death.
Have a heart after God by identifying the source of our reactions. We can only be strengthened to obey and have God’s perspective by identifying and healing the wounds that befall us that fueled our need for other people’s approval.
Fighting People Pleasing is a quest for seeking God’s approval as our “audience of one.” Will you join me? It may not happen instantaneous and all at once, but we can make progress.
(This is an excerpt from Never Ever Be the Same, co-authored by Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller)