Confessions of a People Pleaser

When we turn our thoughts and actions from pleasing others to pleasing Christ, only then will we find contentment, peace, and freedom

When people-pleasing replaces God-pleasing, fear of failure is at the root. People are driven by the need for approval and desire to become successful, not only to avoid being rejected, but for self-approval. Once again, we are focusing on something other than Christ, which is idolatry; we are engaging in people-centered worship and self-centered worship. Many people-pleasers believe this kind of behavior is commendable because it involves serving others, but it isn’t—it’s motivated by approval and the assurance that we are a success.


Two hundred.

That’s the number of milk jugs I had lugged from the stage to the garbage dump. Even though I was almost out the door to my child’s basketball game, and I only had twenty minutes to get there, when my co-teacher asked me if I could help her carry the remnants of a handmade igloo to the dump, I said, “Yes.”

A People Pleaser’s Confession

I am most definitely, most unequivocally, most assuredly a people pleaser. Not only do I want people to like me, I want them to seek me out as a necessity to a job. The problem? When I don’t get done what needs to get done because of people’s frequent requests. More unfortunate is when my desire to please others reroutes my day from the ultimate goal of pleasing God and bringing him glory.

I’m sure I’m not alone.

Pleasing those we love is rewarding, and this may not be wrong in and of itself. But pleasing God is a higher calling and much more fulfilling. We are headed for trouble when our desire to please people and gain their approval becomes as important as pleasing God and sensing his approval.

A People Pleaser’s Fears

I believe we try to please others because of two fears:

The Fear of Rejection

As sinful people, we are constantly battling with the need for approval and the wrong thinking that more good deeds equal more love. But at the cross, Jesus demonstrated the price he paid because he loved us. We did not need to do anything for this love.

A vital truth to combat this fear is: Not everyone will love me, but the One who matters will never stop loving me. God’s love for us does not ebb and flow; it does not waver; it does not increase or decrease; it is consistent. Praise God for this fixed truth!

We also don’t need to lose our assurance as children of God every time we sin or forget these truths. His love for us is made complete in Christ, so there’s no need to fear rejection.

Once we are secure in our relationship with God, and understand the implications of that relationship, we will seek to know how we can please him. Jesus explained to his disciples that loving God was demonstrated by obeying God (John 14:21).

When we desire to obey God, the desire to please others fades, and pleasing God becomes more important (2 Corinthians 5:9).

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