Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29: 25)
One of the most entrapping prisons in which you can reside snaps shut when you habitually chase the goal of keeping other people happy with what you do and who you are. You might as well be constantly trying to jump higher and higher to defy gravity so that you can just float unassisted into the sky. People-pleasing is a hopeless pursuit.
So the first reason to abandon the prioirty of keeping everyone happy is, it never works. No matter how hard you try, you’ll fail. When you’re constantly trying to keep folks happy, they always want more. Their satisfaction is a moving target. Further, their happiness is an inside job, and some have not chosen to be happy since the day their mom satisfied their hunger frustration with a baby bottle. Even then, their satisfaction was short-lived.
Second, others’ opinions are not valid measures of your worth or your performance. Their opinions are more about who they are than about who you are. One day last week, a woman posted on Facebook the screen shot of a conversation with a cruel individual who offered to help her with a major problem, then an hour later began to laugh and call her a loser. Horrific behavior! Who does that?? I messaged her and told her what I’ve just told you. That individual’s hateful words said everything about the writer and were in no way an indication of this sweet lady’s worth. (What a “loser” that guy was!)
Third, many of your adaptations to try to please others is based on what you think they think and not what they think. Yeah, I know, that’s a little confusing. Well, it’s a lot confusing when you’re trying to pull it off! Mindreading is a big waste of mental energy, and it yields nothing but a large bank of frustration and interpersonal missteps.
In fact, the entire mindset of keeping everyone happy with you is a waste of YOU. Look, Jesus Christ did not keep everyone happy with Him! No one who has the courage to step out or who does anything worthwhile is perpetually popular with everyone! No single person who is committed to purposeful living and/or to God’s priorities escapes having to say NO to what others want him or her to do on their timetables.
So the critical question becomes – will you be a people pleaser or a God-pleaser? (More tomorrow.)
God, You know that I’ve often fallen into this trap! Help me to learn and to act on Your balance, Lord. I want to be kind and helpful to others. However, most of all, I want to do all that You want me to do and not take on others’ responsibilities and assignments. I need Your wisdom, my Lord!