When People-Pleasing Goes Wrong
I’m pretty sure if I were to have a phrase tattooed on my forehead, it would be “people-pleaser.” I know there are many of you who are reading this saying, “Yup! That’s me too!” Now in a way, people-pleasing can be a great thing. Jesus commands us to help and serve one another in love and without ceasing (1 John 3:17-18). So in a sense, it can be translated to “giver.” Giver of money, material items, food, time, and most of all their hearts. Those of you who consider yourself a “giver,” I send you a big (cyber) hug! You know why? Because Jesus finds favor in those with a giver’s heart. If you think about it, in Jesus’ time, He was a non-stop giver! He gave of His time, His words, His possessions, and His healings. Being a giver is a beautiful way of representing who Jesus is.
The trouble comes when our people-pleasing as a giver (people-serving) turns into people-pleasing to validate our self-worth.
I want to share a story with you.
Back in 2015, many of my months were filled with wedding planning that lead up to our wedding in March. I wasn’t one of those brides who felt the need to constantly ask others for help (despite the fact I had never planned a wedding before). I really enjoyed planning both on my own and with my husband. There came a point, though, that I knew I was going to need help with certain aspects of the wedding. Some of those that I asked to help were people that have been a big part of my life for many years. People who I’ve bent-over-backwards helping and loving, and I just knew that they would want to help me. Imagine how shocked I was when they turned me down. When they said they “didn’t have time.” I’m going to be honest, my heart was both broken and frustrated. I began to start questioning my self-worth.
“Did I not do enough for them? Am I a person that’s not worth helping? Am I not good enough?”
I fully admit it. There are many times where my people-pleasing turns into self-worth-destroying. I take to heart the way people view me. I take it to heart when I feel “rejected.”
Let me give you one piece of knowledge that is the only 100% piece of truth that I know when it comes to people-pleasing:
The only place you need to find your worth is in Christ.
And, my dear, Christ views you more precious than gold.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
We need to be reminded that our Father, who loves us dearly, knows our heart. He knows our intentions. He knows our desires of feeling worthy. It is when we rely on human flesh to fulfill that sense of worthiness that we will fall short. It is so important to separate our people-pleasing from our self-worth.
I love the verse Isaiah 58:10-11 that says,
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
We need to remember that giving of ourselves is something the Lord looks on with love and joy. He delights when we give of ourselves. He also understands that giving can be tiring, draining, and emotionally challenging. When we give of ourselves to those who may not “appreciate it” or “reciprocate,” we have to remember we are not serving them, we are serving God. We can rest assured that our Father knows our needs and desires to feel worthy, and it is only Him that we will be able to find that worth.
I want to encourage all of my beautiful, God-fearing people-pleasers. Don’t view yourself in light of others. Your heart is SO cherished by our Father, and He takes such pride and honor in the beauty of your giving heart. Keep loving and being you. Keep that heart of gold.
Do not let the label of people-pleaser distract you from your more important label of Christ-pleaser.
Don’t let the response from others, or the actions of others, define who you are. You are beautiful and strong. Think of it this way: Christ died on the cross for us. Do you know why He did that? Because He viewed us as worthy of His indescribable, undeniable, and unconditional love. Wow. If that doesn’t scream our worth, I don’t know what will!
So, be inspired, my friends. Be joyful in the giving heart you have. Be intentional with the gift that God has given you. And be thankful that you have been blessed to represent Christ in one of the most beautiful ways.
Nikki is 26 year old counselor, photographer, blogger, wife and fur mama from Illinois! She loves being able to inspire, encourage and motivate girls of all ages in loving Jesus, themselves and those around them.