The life of a people-pleaser is exhausting.
I sat in a bistro with a friend, sipping my smoothie and listening to her wounded heart. The hurtful concerns came from situations in her workplace yet could be summed up in one overarching reason: she’s a people-pleaser. She wanted approval, and its absence cut deeply. Fortunately, she came to that conclusion on her own, setting herself on a path of healing.
I’ve been a people-pleaser too. In the workplace, I thrived on those little notes of affirmation, on words of appreciation, and on compliments. They filled me with a sense of self-worth.
Inherent problems come with needing praise from others. No one can please everyone, so the result is despair, stress, and guilt.
Another problem is the self-serving posture. Motives are wrong. As a people-pleaser, I think my efforts are good since I’m making others happy. But the focus is self. People pleasing rings with dishonesty. I’m trying to please others so everyone will see my value and worth. I do good works with bad motives.
The biggest problem with being a people-pleaser is that it contradicts the gospel of Christ. We stand blameless before God only because of the imputed righteousness of Christ. He lived a perfect, sinless life—the only one worthy of standing before a holy God. Yet He exchanged His righteousness for our sinful depravity, took the burden upon Himself, and placed the robe of righteousness on us.
Let God’s grace be sufficient. Seeking praise from others will always leave you empty, wounded, and stressed. Serve God because He is worthy. Then you will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
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