Monday, January 26, 2015

People Pleaser

I have always been a people pleaser. Can you identify? I’ve memorized Galatians 1:10, obviously I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. But I am still struggling with wanting people’s approval. I have talked to other pastors through the years and have found that many of them struggle with it as well.

We want people to like our sermons, our jokes, our counsel, our leadership decisions, our family, our personality. You probably know how it works. You try to make everybody around you happy so they will like you only to discover you bottle up feelings of frustration and disagreements.

I just came across an article describing a book that I have ordered entitled: People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership. While the book is written by Charles Stone, a pastor to pastors, the applications are fitting for anyone who struggles with people-pleasing.

He tells pastors, leaders, and anyone there are certain people you have permission not to please anymore. One group is your critics. Every person has them. Not every person has the permission or right to speak into your life. Listen to your critics but fully embrace your true identity in Christ. As His child, you can learn to deflect untrue and unloving criticism. Live to please God alone.

Peers. No person can keep all their friends and peers happy, let alone gain all their approval. Be who God has made you to be while respecting who God has called your peers to be.

A non-believing world. God does not want you to water down or alter His truth so we can be understood by a world far from Him. Speak to the culture in a way it can understand, be sensitive, loving, grace-filled and wise but don’t avoid the truth to be liked by the world.

Your family. What? Living to please your spouse and kids can kill you, your marriage, your relationship with your children and relationship with close friends. Why? To keep them happy you often become dishonest about your faults, failures, internal struggles and say things not true just to keep your family happy.

We all have only one person to please – God. Serve others. Encourage others. Work alongside others well. But live to please an audience of one – Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Thanks for letting me share one of my personal struggles with you. Pray for me as I learn to live to please my Creator. 

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