People Pleasing? Not Ya Girl!
I admit I lived the early part of my life (teens/20s) trying to please people. I made a lot of decisions in my life that led to me being miserable because I decided to do "the right thing" for everybody but me. I ignored the desires and dreams burning inside of me to do what others expected of me so that they could say "good job" and give me the proverbial pat on the heard. By the time I was 21 I was praised by those that mattered most to me. I had followed all of the rules: good girl, smart girl, nice girl. My family and friends were sufficiently pleased with the miserable, dissatisfied young woman I had created myself to be.
I was not pleased with myself, my life, or the future I saw before me. I had something else burning on the inside of me. So at 25 I made a very unpopular decision to end the inertia of my life and follow the spirit of God in me. I got a divorce. I moved away. I began a six year journey of exploration to become the woman I am today. Because I made that one step toward pleasing the God in me, my life has been filled with numerous surprises of faith ever since.
It is normal human behavior to want to be liked, appreciated, and admired. But when that normal human desire becomes a hindrance to who you are and what God has created you to be, you may need to face the fact that you might be a "people pleaser". Do not be ashamed. I was a "people pleaser" for many, many years and it is a hard habit to break. People will criticize you and call you selfish or narcissistic. When I hear those things from people I dust my shoulders off and keep it moving on the path God has for me. I have been told that I have gone too far with my indifference to the opinion of others. They say I can be harsh or uncaring about what people think of me. So I go to the Bible for reassurance. Romans 14 says that the "Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval." Boom! There it is! If I please God, the rest of y'all will be alright.
To further illustrate my point take a look at this. Ironically, I received these two comments on the SAME DAY on the Main Chick Monologues blog :
"Sometimes you come off like you are better than everyone else. Remember to be humble and don't think too highly of yourself." -Anon
"You don't know your worth." - Anon
I printed both comments and sat them in front of me trying to decide how to respond. Am I overly confident and think too highly of myself OR do I suffer from low self-esteem not knowing my worth? I surely cannot be both things at once. I continue to sit at my desk and stare at the two sheets of paper. I know that I'm not BETTER THAN anyone but I am BETTER OFF than a lot of people. To God be the glory for that!!! I surely know how valuable I am in the lives of those around me, the lives of those in my past and as a wondrous creation of God. I was perplexed... I am neither lacking in self-esteem nor filled with conceit. Hmmm? What's a girl to do?
I think I should publicly say "thank you" to my anonymous posters for giving me a valuable experience and the confirmed knowledge that the best way for me to please "some of the people some of the time" is to simply continue being Kamryn and pleasing God. If two people can read the same post on the same day and come to two completely opposite opinions of me, why should I spend any energy worrying about the opinions of others. People cannot even agree on how they feel about me among themselves. Let alone me trying to battle conflicting opinions of who I am - according to someone else's subjective assessment.
I write to the pleasure of my gifts. I do not write to please all of you or even to please myself, but to be pleasing to God who created me with this gift to express myself with courage and joy. In doing so, I can please ALL who seek to fill their hearts with love.... some of the time and SOME who seek to live in the light of God... some of the time. That's good enough for me.
What do you do? Whatever it is, do it so that you seek to please God with the gifts He has given you. If you work your gifts according to what God has given you, you will undoubtedly please people...sometimes, but God will be pleased with what he has created in you always. Be Fearless!