Confessions of a Pastor

Sometimes I Find Myself Being A People Pleaser

One of the things I hear, from many people, is, “I will do what I want, I don’t care what other people think.” This is something I have said at times also. The older I get, the more I realize I do care what people think.

I am a recovering people pleaser. Is that okay with you?

There are times I cannot stand it when people get mad at me. I feel like I have to fix the situation right away by apologizing and talking with the person. The feeling amplifies when it happens to be a group of people I inadvertently offended somehow.

I do not like it when people are mad at me.

I do not like it when I accidentally hurt people’s feelings. This is one of those times I begin to feel low. I feel like scum because I hurt the feelings of someone I care about.

The list can go on and on.

I also enjoy it when people like me. Not because I am recognized for good work; but because I am liked as a person. This brings happiness and a feeling I have people around I can spend time with and they would enjoy spending time with me.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone else? How many of you feel this way?

I know I am not the only person who goes through these pursuits of people pleasing. This is not how I operate all the time either. But recognizing and proclaiming this reality is important, for me and for you.

Here’s the thing. If we are doing the work that God has called us to do, not everyone is going to like us. There are some people who will completely reject and despise us because we are doing work for the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Galatians 1:10 (ESV), the Apostle Paul writes, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be servant of Christ.”

The questions I have to ask, and answer, each day is, “Who am I really working for? What are the reasons I do what I do?” You have to answer these also. The quality of our work will actually depend on how we answer these questions. Why?

If we are working to please man, there is a big chance we will cut corners and manipulate the work we do to make us look better so others will like us. This really is not our best work because it is really not focused on the work, but rather on what other people think of the work…of you and me.

Colossians 3:23 (ESV) says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Doing the work for God means we are doing work for a much higher purpose than us, or our personal agendas. Doing work for God means we are going to do the right thing, all the time, in a loving way, so the Kingdom can be expanded.

When we are doing the work for God, and give all glory to God, then we are going to make sure all the “I’s” are dotted and all the “T’s” are crossed. In other words, we are going to make sure the work is the best quality work possible.

Yes, I do like it when people like me. It really makes my job a lot easier. But, the reality is, I do my best to focus on what is best for the Kingdom work in my life, church, community, and ultimately, the world.

My prayer each and every day is simply, “God, you be glorified. Jesus be known and shown. Holy Spirit guide me and strengthen me.”

Self-Reflection

God has given each one of us gifts. How we utilize these gifts helps expand the Kingdom of God here on earth because we allow others to experience this life. One of our challenges is to be humble about our gifts and use them accordingly. This means that we should do some reflection of ourselves.

Romans 12:3 says, “Because of the grace that God gave me, I say to each one of you: don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to think. Instead be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you.” Humility. What exactly is this? Paul writes to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to.

I believe we can easily have a false sense of humility. Often times, we hear people saying things to downgrade their performance or attire just show people don’t think they’re arrogant. The conversation would go something like this:

Person 1 : “You are an amazing artist!”

Person 2: “Well, you know, it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Here we have a person giving a genuine complement and the other person trying not to take the complement. We do the same thing with clothes. “This old thing? I just pulled it out of the closet today and put it on.” What we are thinking through these conversations is “Heck yeah I’m awesome! Do you know how long I worked on this?” Or “I know this outfit makes me look good, that’s why I’m wearing it.”

To have a better sense of humility, we could know what we are good at and use it for the glory of God instead of giving ourselves praise and glory. So the reality is that humility is “not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” This means that we are drawn to give credit and attention to the One who gave us the abilities.

Another sense of the Romans 12:3 verse I have been thinking about deals with how we treat other people. If we are to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to, then we should treat others as equals as well. God has given grace to those around us, even if we can’t see it. For us to live this way, we allow others the chance to share ideas, thoughts…basically life; and also we do not dismiss someone’s idea because it is not like ours.

Jesus Christ is asking us to live lives that reflect the God we serve, “This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other. (John 13:35 CEB)” and also “Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. (Matthew 5:48 CEB)”

This is no small task. Can we do this on our own? Yes; but only for a very short while. We can accomplish this when we allow the Spirit of God into our lives to transform us and mold us into the new creations we were meant to be. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Truthfully, I do not live up to this as I would like. But we can all grown and learn together. How will you allow the Holy Spirit to transform you today and this week to make a difference in another person’s life so they can experience the Kingdom of God right here, right now?