I have a confession. I’m a recovering people-pleaser. That’s okay, right?
All joking aside, I definitely am a people-pleaser. The other day I kept debating about a schedule commitment. I really desired to say yes to the appointment, but I didn’t feel like it would be a wise decision knowing my work load for that week. I hate turning people down, but with my being in the middle of tax season with tax returns up to my eyeballs, it seemed like the best decision. Finally after a week or two of debating what my decision would be, I explained my dilemma to a girlfriend and asked her opinion. She advised me to find another date to spend time with them and to rest while I could. So I took her advice. How wise of me to seek godly counsel and follow through with the advice just like Proverbs 12:15 states! I felt like a champ.
But then I got a little shoulder tap from God. By asking for my friend’s opinion of my decision, I thought I had sought wise counsel. However, God revealed I was actually just asking for SOMEONE ELSE’S affirmation, someone else’s approval. Yikes! I simply went from one end of the people-pleasing spectrum to the other: refusing to make a decision to prevent hurting someone’s feelings -> deciding on a solution after hearing someone’s approval. PEOPLE. PLEASER. Yep, that’s me.
But my desire in this world is to NOT be a people-pleaser. Rather, my desire is to be a people-reacher. In Matthew, Jesus calls us to enlarge his kingdom and make more disciples. According to Mr. Webster, a disciple is a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher, which means that in order for us to make disciples we must be a teacher or a leader. We must be a people-reacher, not a people-pleaser.
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
People don’t desire to be around a follower; they desire to be around a friend and a leader. God did not call us to be a follower of man, but he called us to be a follower of Jesus. So if our goal as Christians is to be Christ-like, what are some some ways we can be people-reachers rather than people-pleasers?
- Add or Subtract.
- Ask yourself this question: Should I ADD or SUBTRACT something in my life? More specifically, if I only had 4 months left to live, would I keep this on my weekly schedule? Would I still be in relationship with this person? Would I love my friends/family differently? Etc.
- If the answer is different than how you’re living life and responding to life right now, then MAKE A CHANGE. When we quantify our life as a short amount of time, we realize the urgency of our here and now. We begin to realize we could invest time and make a difference. And I promise you, there is no better time to start investing than the present. Add or subtract.
- Be Yourself.
- Realize that you can’t be like everyone, attaining all their talents and friendships. God has created you with divine gifts and has given you a specific circle of influence. If you try to be like so-and-so, then you may miss the opportunity to reach the people that God has called YOU to reach. Stop being someone else and start being you!
- Align your perspective with God’s.
- Define God’s perspective and remind yourself of what’s important. We want to place God’s priorities above our personal priorities and other people’s priorities. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and neither are our ways His ways (Isaiah 55:8).
While I may be a recovering people-pleaser, I’m making great progress towards becoming a people-reacher.