Discipleship.Network

Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus

The Ironic Thing About People-Pleasing

I’ve never met anyone who isn’t a people-pleaser on some level. Even my boldest, brashest, “tell it like it is” friends are secretly hoping to find some supportive audience for their message.

Although it’s a fact difficult for me to face, I’m clearly a people-pleaser too. I want people to like my sermons, my blogs, and even my wardrobe and my car. And I still want my kids, my friends, and my boss to admire me and think I’m doing a good job.

This realization hasn’t been easy. It comes after years of declaring, “I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me!” But now I have to admit that I still tend to evaluate myself by how other people are evaluating me.

I’ve concluded that the ironic thing about people-pleasers is that our mission is doomed to failure. We may succeed in pleasing some of the people some of the time, but we’ll never please all the people all the time.

So why do we insist on persevering in this foolhardy venture? Why not just drop the façade and acknowledge that play-acting is a dead-end road, inevitably leading to frustration and defeat?

This issue came up recently when I happened to be sorting through some very old family photos. I came across press clippings from the Columbus Dispatch when I was a child actor. Even though the reviews were over five decades old, I still wanted to read what the reviewers said about my performance! Oh my…

Like me, perhaps you’re still obsessed with your press clippings, job reviews, or comments on your sermons or blogs. You’ve given countless other people the power to be your judge and jury.

What a treadmill of futility this creates. Why can’t we just do our performances before an “audience of One,” like the Bible encourages us to do?

The apostle Paul wrote that his sole ambition was to please the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:9). He said that if he was still seeking to please other people, he wouldn’t be a true servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10).

But even if we know better, people-pleasing is a hard habit to shake. For most of us, it’s deeply ingrained in our personality and psyche.

The Bible is filled with sad stories about people-pleasers. Adam seemed more intent on pleasing Eve than on obeying God. Aaron was so intent on pleasing the Israelites that he was willing to make a golden calf. Samson made the fatal mistake of trying to please Delilah. And although Pilate could find no fault in Jesus, he sent Him to crucifixion in order to please the religious leaders and chanting crowd.

I’ve discovered that one of the crazy outcomes of people-pleasing is that you’ll inevitably offend some people while trying to please others. It becomes an exhausting enterprise, because there’s always someone you have disappointed.

Surprising as it may seem, God is often easier to please than people are (Matthew 3:17). Throughout His life, Jesus always sought to do the things that pleased His Father (John 8:29), and that would be a great objective for us as well.

After all, people-pleasing is an exhausting, never-ending, insanity-producing quest. We’ll breathe a lot easier when we only have One person to please.

Views: 41

Comment

You need to be a member of Discipleship.Network to add comments!

Join Discipleship.Network

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Blog Posts

And You Think YOU Have a Crazy Family Tree?

Posted by Jim Buchan on June 16, 2019 at 4:52am

Intentional Grandparenting: What? Why? How?

Posted by Skip Garmo on June 11, 2019 at 6:41pm

Fulfilling Your Purpose

Posted by Jim Buchan on May 31, 2019 at 9:09am

Make disciples

Who Make Disciples

Who Love God

&

Love Neighbors >>>

© 2019   Created by Network Creator / Coordinator.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service