Grace and My People-Pleasing Self

I am a people-pleaser. It is one of those qualities that can be very helpful. I can smooth over situations fairly easily. I am not going to pick a fight just for the sake of a good argument, etc. But the down-side is that I can second guess every single decision I make. My dear husband is extremely patient with me. He reminds me that it is impossible to please everyone (I have tried that and failed). But it is still a battle sometimes. Oh, it has gotten much better. Believe me. But it still creeps up its ugly head every once in a while.

It shows its ugly head when I don’t voice my opinion because someone might not like it. When I refuse to take a risk because I might make a mistake or, worse, fail completely. When I make decisions based on what I think others would want and not what I think is good or right. Or I just avoid the decision altogether. When I suppress desires, passions, or ambitions because others might disagree. When I want to hole up with all my ideas swimming in my head instead of sharing them. When I want to perfect the idea before I try it. It is what held me back from starting this blog for you have no idea how long. Or, more personally, when I have to share the failures I have before I can adequately share how God has brought me through and taught me.

It is pride. Oh, I couch it under the title of being a good negotiator, or not trying to stir up trouble, or just minding my own business. It is not, though. Not for me, anyway. It is pride. Pure and simple. Because, gasp, I might not have it all together. Or someone may not like me, Ouch! That hurts. Or someone may adamantly disagree with me.

But then I remember that the people who have made a real difference in my life are not the ones that had it all together. They are the ones who shared how God has changed them. And by nature of them sharing how God changes them they are inevitably sharing their imperfections.

Learning to be content with who I am does not mean I do not want to change. I hope I am daily changing. Becoming more like Christ, being a better disciple, wife, mother, friend, etc. are all things I hope I am changing and improving in. But my reason for change is not to be like someone else or to make someone else happy.┬á It has everything to do with the fact that anything good I have is God’s grace. And the imperfections and sin are opportunities for His grace to shine through even brighter.

The more I understand God’s grace, the more I am content with who I am. Who I am in Christ has nothing to do with how well I keep my home. And yet, He cares enough about me to show me areas that need changed in as simple a thing as putting my shoes away or as serious a sin as dealing with anger toward my husband.

He chose me. He drew me to Himself. He redeemed me from bondage to sin. He saved me from myself. He daily convicts me of sin. And He changes me. I have done nothing. That is the beauty of the Gospel. I need it just as much today as I did when I first trusted Christ. The Gospel saves me. Today.

And you know what that does to my people-pleasing self? It relieves me of the self-imposed bondage of living my life constantly trying to make everyone else happy with my decisions. My worth is not in how many people are happy with me. Not even in how many people like me. My worth is in Christ.

Are you holding back on decisions, pursuits, dreams, or even risks because you are afraid of what people will think?

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Comments

  1. Steph says:

    It’s amazing how much the truth that our worth is in Christ affect every other area of our life. And how easy it is to forget.

    I also like your point that the people who have made the biggest difference in our lives are in no way perfect. Perfection is certainly not a prerequisite for making a difference.

    • Johanna says:

      Yes! Our theology affects every area of our lives! And thankfully perfection is not a prerequisite, right? I wouldn’t even be able to have an influence of my own kids!

  2. Karyn says:

    Such a blessing!

  3. I can identify with just about everything you said. As a person with people-pleasing, perfectionistic tendancies, I have to keep my identity in Christ at the front of my mind or I would never say or attempt anything. It took me a very long time to plunge into my blog as well. :) Thanks for the encouraging reminder!

    • Johanna says:

      Yes. I can totally paralyze myself from doing anything if I don’t keep the right focus! Thanks for your comment (I’m glad I’m not alone!).

  4. Rachel says:

    This is something the Lord is teaching me as well. It’s such a blessing to know His Holy Spirit is at work in my heart–and as a result, my life– even using the blogs I read to speak specifically to ME! Thank you for sharing your heart through this post.

    • Johanna says:

      I am always glad when the Lord uses what He has been teaching me to bless others. And I am very grateful that He continues to change. I certainly need it.

  5. April says:

    I loved this post. I have probably read ten of them today while my little one is napping haha. So happy to have found you!

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  1. [...] a couple days I held off giving my no. My people-pleasing self was turning inside out trying to figure out how to say no. I needed an excuse. It seemed more [...]

  2. [...] most freeing advice possible. I don’t have to worry about what others think. And since I am a people-pleaser by nature, that is extremely [...]

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