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.
Do you struggle with people-pleasing? Do you do things you don’t want in order to avoid someone’s anger or disappointment only to find you’ve angered and disappointed yourself? Do you obligate yourself to say “yes”when you mean “no”? Do you find yourself so overburdened with pleasing people that you have no energy left for the most important things? Most of us have this problem to some degree. How do you conquer this?
To overcome this habit, your focus has to change. People-pleasing places other people and their preferences at the center of your universe. For the follower of Christ, only He should occupy that place in your life. It is impossible to please God and people all the time and at the same time.
One way that helps me is to remember that one day I will stand and give an account before God about the life I lived. It’s a sobering thought that helps me look beyond people straight into His all-knowing gaze. When I recall that He expects me to make His agenda my agenda, what other people think and want begins to pale. I suspect that on that great Day, He will hear no excuses about what others wanted me to do with the assignments He gave me.
People-pleasing can distract you if you are not daily aware of God’s presence. The noise of social media, constant activities, and personal insecurities tend to drown out the voice of God unless you are intentional about keeping Him in His rightful place throughout the day. Daily time in His Word, intentional meditation on what He says there, regular worship, and an ongoing prayer life are some of the best practices in tearing down the stronghold of people-pleasing.
How well are you doing in these four areas? Which one might you need to give more attention?