For those people who know me well, know that I have a part to my personality that loves to please people. Yes, I am a recovering "people pleaser". Now, don't get me wrong, I also have a side to my personality that if I am "told" or "demanded" to do something, I will do just the opposite, just to prove I can. I guess that means I am a recovering "rebellion" also.
Don’t misunderstand me here…there is nothing wrong with pleasing people—even the Scriptures tell us that it is “good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” However, what I am referring to is the concept that I must do everything anyone expects, so they are not disappointed in me. As I used to live under that way of life meant that others were setting their will for my life…rather than God ordering my steps each day.
There have been many times in my life that I was asked to do something and said “yes” simply to not disappoint. To be honest, that also fed into my desire to be super woman... you know the woman who can be all and do all! After all, there is a short-term satisfaction in the notion that I can put on my superwoman cape and do the impossible. But oh, does the satisfaction quickly fade and turn into stress, worry and fear. You see, it turns into worry, stress and fear because living like this, the outcome is up to me. It was up to me to produce, to save the day, to figure it out, to please everyone.
I am thankful that God showed me that it is His will I had to make the priority and at times I just could not do everything wanted of me and be what God intended for me. That is one of the many beautiful aspects of our Heavenly Father, He transforms us, makes us look more like Him as we spend time with Him and allow the Living Word of God to penetrate our heart and soul.
I don't have an exact date of this understanding or when it finally clicked that I am not in control. Yet one of the most valuable things the Holy Spirit has taught me is to learn to stop living under human expectations, stop being a people pleaser. It has also been one of the most liberating lessons I have learned in my walk with Jesus. You see, when I live to please God, the outcome is no longer on my shoulders, I simply stay close to God through His Living Word, prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit speak to me. I am called to be obedient and follow God's instructions for me and the path He lights for me each and every day. But the outcome is up to Him, not me.
As I have learned to place my Father in His rightful place, I have found it necessary to say “no” at times to those around me. It is done never with a desire to disappoint, but done so knowing obedience to my Father and His will must be my priority. That my friend, is not always easy; yet it has been part of the process as I learn to die to my flesh and that includes, die to the desire of finding satisfaction in human praise.
Pastor Marshall shared this past Sunday of the account in Luke 2 starting in verse 41 where Jesus went with His family to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When it was time for them to return home, we see Jesus stayed back at the temple sitting with the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. You can read the account in verses 41-52. His parents thought He was in the caravan traveling from Jerusalem to their home. They traveled a full day before realizing Jesus was not with them, and then another two days until they found Him in the temple. Did you catch Jesus' response to His mother when they finally found Him? "Why is it you were looking for Me?" Scripture says, they did not understand that statement. They did not understand that He was more concerned about pleasing His Heavenly Father, than He was about pleasing His earthly mom and dad.
My question for all of us today, are we living to please our Heavenly Father or are we living to please man? Living to please man is like the grass of the field described in James that it withers and falls away, where living to please God is eternal in value as described in Matthew---these are choices each one of us must make of who you will please.
If we are living to please man, we don't have time for God. There is too much to do, too many places to be, too many people to see, too many tasks on the to do lists - because it is all about accomplishments and not relationship with our Creator, our Savior, our Redeemer. If we are living to please our Heavenly Father, we take time to rest in Him, we spend time in His Word daily, we spend time in communion with Him.
Have you ever had days where your day was booked from early morning until late night and you did not see any way humanly possible for you to have alone time with God? That is when we are called to put our FAITH into action. You see, it doesn't make "human" sense for us to stop, rest and spend time with Him, when there are a million people counting on us and a million things to do. Faith is not a mere belief that God is in control; it is ACTING upon that belief. Ephesians 6:16 says In addition to all, (take) up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Faith requires action, it is the action that is following our Heavenly Father no matter our circumstances.
- Sheryl Driggers