Woman laughing while sitting in a coffee shop

The Process of Ditching the People-Pleasing

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It’s amazing how much your life can change in a few short months. I wrote the post last summer when I was in the midst of a difficult time relationally. I so distinctly heard the Lord tell me to walk away from a particular relationship and I wrestled with that decision even after I obeyed. Now, looking back, I’m so thankful that I did what God told me to do!

Man, doing life with people is hard. Sometimes, many times, I wonder why God created us to live in community with other fallen, jacked up people, but then I remember, it’s probably to remind us to rely upon him.

Recently, I realized just how out of control I had allowed my people-pleasing to become. I met with a friend and shared some things with her that she didn’t want to hear. I wasn’t able to explain myself as fully as she would’ve liked and the interaction didn’t end well. Though I left our time together feeling peace, I wanted to go back and fix everything so I didn’t hurt her. I wanted to take it all back and say and do only those things that made her feel good and think the best of me. I was shaken by the idea that I would be seen in a negative light. But there was nothing I could do to stop that.

Then, upon further reflection, I began to realize that I had spent months flexing my people-pleasing muscle. I didn’t set up boundaries in an effort to accommodate others, I kept my opinion to myself so I would hopefully be liked more, and I did more than I should’ve so that I could keep my spot in the community.

More than that, I didn’t realize my desire to please others had gotten as out of control as it had. Once again, I allowed myself to get lost in work and tasks and expectations so that I would be liked and spoken well of. Lord, help me!

It’s amazing how quickly people’s opinions can begin to fog up your mind. Somehow this person’s opinion of me and my work became my identity and the thing that I had been devoting all of my time and effort to secure. I am so certain that backing away from that relationship was the right thing for myself, yet I wanted to turn back. I wanted to go back on my words and do what I could to make her happy, but I’m so glad that I didn’t.

This whole situation reminded me of the importance of obeying quickly when God speaks, which means you have to make time to listen. During the time leading up to this split, I hadn’t been spending time with the Lord and had allowed myself to get distracted by work and achieving and people-pleasing; had I been intentionally listening to him, I would’ve seen the end coming and could’ve prepared better. But, I am so thankful that I obeyed when I did, even if it was delayed and uncomfortable.

This process of obeying God, being myself, and ditching my people-pleasing tendencies is not easy at all. My prayer is that we all would be flooded with courage, embrace who we truly are, and choose God even when it’s unpopular. I hope that each of us will unswervingly follow Christ even during those difficult moments, cherishing his voice over anyone else’s.

To go Deeper: Read Seeing Through the Fog, Free of Me

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 


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