I’ve found a bench in the shade outside my hotel in the red clay state of Georgia. My husband, two teens, and I have made the trip to the suburb of Atlanta to visit family. We’ve had breakfast, and I’ve found a secluded, peaceful place to relax and enjoy the rest of my coffee. The sounds of cars whizzing by on the interstate and the sweet sound of birds join the unanswered questions peppering my soul.
What must I do to make my family happy?
What are they expecting me to do?
Will I make them happy or not?
The problem here is not the family – the problem is me. I’m a people-pleaser. It seems like my life revolves around figuring out what other people expect of me and trying hard to making them happy. Often, I fail miserably.
Do they expect me to dress the right way and be at the right events?
Do they expect me to not go see a doctor and wait, in pain, for healing?
Do they expect me to say the right things and not share what is really in my heart?
Do they expect me to believe the way they do so they won’t Unfriend me on Facebook?
Do they expect me to respond to the text messages and emails immediately?
Do they expect me to cave in to their opinion?
Can you relate? Are you working hard, like a hamster running round and round on a wheel, trying to make everyone around you happy? Your boss, your spouse, your children, your mother, your friends, your neighbors, your pastor? Is the list of who you are trying to please longer than a novel?
I AM SO TIRED OF PLEASING PEOPLE. I feel like I no longer have a choice in what I can so or do, I just exist to please.
I hate to disappoint others. I just want to do what you want me to do so that you will be happy with me and not disappointed in me so that you will love me. And that is the key. Deep down, in the hidden recesses of my soul, I just want to be loved. I want to be good enough for you. I want to be accepted by you.
But for our family and friends, they can never love us fully or perfectly. We can never be good enough for them. We can never be 100% accepted by them. Because our friends and family are human, just like us. Just like us, they can be selfish, willful, independent, and self-centered. They want us to do what they want so that their needs are met and their desires are satisfied. Just like we want them to do what we want to meet our own needs and desires.
Oswald Chambers, in his classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest, says it this way:
“If I put my trust in human beings…I will end in despairing of everyone…I have insisted on man being what no man can ever be – absolutely right. Never trust in anything but the grace of God….”
We can never fully please the humans in our lives because they are human. They are sinful and imperfect and broken and selfish, just like us. But we can fully please a perfect and holy God. And all we have to do to please Him is to ask His Son to be our Lord and our Savior. And then the blood of Jesus does the rest.
When friends and family look at me they see someone who has failed to meet their expectations. But when God the Father looks at me, all He sees is Jesus. And the blood of Jesus is perfect, covering all of my sin and my failures. The blood of Jesus meets the Father’s expectations. Every one of them. Every. Single. Time.
So what hope is there for us pleasers? We need to realize that we can never please people because they are people. But we can please God because He is God – merciful, holy, perfect, and giving.
Pleasing people is exhausting. Pleasing God is effortless.
My friend, take a look at your life today, and evaluate who you are pleasing. Realize that you can never fully please them, but you can please God. Christ in you fully pleases God. In Jesus, you are loved, accepted, and good enough.
I’m jumping off the hamster wheel today. I may not please others, but I please God. And that’s all I’m going to care about.