Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Purpose Driven Life - Day 42

Day 42 - The People-Pleaser Trap

How many of us live our lives trying to please everyone around us? Trying to not offend friends, family, co-workers, loved ones with our thoughts, practices, lifestyles, faith. We go out of our way to 'fit in'. The way we dress, the style of our hair, our furnishings, the music we listen to, shows we watch on TV. It can be very difficult to deny the force of peer-pressure. This is not only true for school-aged children, but also as adults, we can submit to the popular opinion of others. We do this because we want to be accepted, and out of fear of being rejected. Nobody wants to be the topic of the saying "the cheese stands alone".  

The problem is that when you cave to the pressures of what others think, say or believe, you are then a follower. When in fact you need to be a trail blazer among your peers. One saying I have always lived by is that if you do not pay my rent, I really am not interested in your opinion of what I am doing - or not doing. 

This all boils down to ego - check yours at the door and realize that what others think of you today is only important to you today. How many of the opinions that people had in High School are still of any importance to you today? 

When you live your life with the longing for belonging, you are really missing the boat on what is important. And the only thing that is important is what God thinks. By focusing your attentions on pleasing other people, for fear that you will be made fun of for your actions, choices, beliefs, faith, you are ignoring God's purposes for your life and in the same breath you are telling Him that your ego is more important that His plans for you.

You need to consider whose opinion matters most to you. God - or - anyone else. By catering to the opinions of others you are missing an opportunity to strengthen your faith in the Lord. Fear of being judged by your peers will cripple your spiritual growth, as when you are living under the gun of fear, you will not take risks in faith and therefore your faith will never develop further. Never allow anyone to get between you and your relationship with Christ.

People-pleasing will also lead to sinful behavior. When you are so preoccupied with satisfying your friends, you are so fearful of being judged by them, rejected by them, you are at the mercy of their influence. The Bible says: "Friends who discourage your walk with God are not true friends."

Some of the biggest hypocrites on this planet are also the biggest people-pleasers on this planet. They are so worried that they will not be liked, they will carry several hats in their social arsenal. They are one person when they are with their friends, another person when they are at Church, a completely different person at work, wearing yet a different hat with family. This behavior is contrary to who you are intended by God to be. Never be less than you are to please someone else! Be authentic at all times. When you role play - you are really saying that your true self is not good enough. When God has already said that you are good enough. If you are good enough for God - what does it really matter what anyone else thinks?

Be also mindful that when you betray your personal truth, you are also rewriting your personal testimony and allowing Satan to do his work. The moment you listen to the voice "people with think you are stupid if you claim your love of the Lord"  ... you have surrendered to the will of evil. Your testimony is your personal  autobiography of faith. Do not allow Satan to rewrite your story!

Jesus said "The truth will set you free."  Pastor Rick has included six truths for you to remember when you feel the pressure to people-please.

  1. Even God cannot please everyone at the same time.  What?!?!?!?! How can that be a truth???? Well, if you think about it, when you are at a sporting event - fans of each team are praying for their team to win ... only one can be triumphant. The other side is left displeased.  When you have a wedding coming up and are praying for no rain that day - somewhere there is a farmer who wants rain .. only one of you will be pleased by the weather that day.  
  2. I don't need anyone's approval to be happy.  You are as happy as your choose to be. Nobody can rob you of your happiness unless you give them the power and authority to do so.  Humans are imperfect, and when you look to them to be your source of happiness, you are setting that person up for failure - and setting yourself up for disappointment.  It is not reasonable - or even fair, to place that sort of expectation on another person ... only God can fulfill all of your needs. To look for this elsewhere is unreasonable. 
  3. What seems important now is only temporary. I touched upon this earlier. When you were in High School, popularity was important. Acceptance was important. Fitting in was important. The opinions of your peers were important. None of these things are important down the road. They seem life shattering at the time, but 2 or 5 or 10 years down the road, you can barely remember the names of the people whose opinion you held in such high regard.  
  4. One day I will give an account of my life to God.  The Bible speaks about the day of reckoning and says: "Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God."  You're going to be asked for an explanation of everything you have said and everything you have done. Do you really want to explain to Jesus why you denied your love, faith and relationship to Him because you did not want to displease an unbeliever?  Jesus said: "If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in His glory." Will Jesus be ashamed of your one day because you ere ashamed of Him? 
  5. God SHAPED me to be me, not somebody else.  Remember that you were made in your uniqueness for God's purposes, for His pleasure. You were SHAPED just as God wished you to be. At no point in time will He ask you if you accomplished the purposes - or used the gifts that were intended for Bob.  He will however, ask if you are using your SHAPE to fulfill the plan He has set out for you. Did you use your God-given gifts, abilities, heart, personality and experiences to serve His purposes in your time on this planet? Or did you use them to please your friends? 

"Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close." - Psalm 27:10 (NLT)

This concludes my 7 week journey into The Purpose Driven Life.  From this point forward, I will be working on study plans to continue with my Bible studies and anything else I can get my hand on.  I believe the Lord Jesus will place opportunities for continual growth and spiritual maturity in my path.  And I will seize these opportunities. 

I want to thank you, friend, for taking time out of your day for these past weeks to follow my journey. I truly hope that you have gained something out of my daily postings. That perhaps you had an A-HA moment. Or even better - that my postings may have inspired you to purchase the book and begin your own PDL journey. 

Until we meet again friend,

Walk in Beauty, Love and Light,

- Laura