Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Psalm 16:5 NIV

I learned long ago that I don’t know what I’m doing with my own life.  What seems right to me often leads me astray.  What seems to be the right thing to do is often just my need to be praised by people or to pat myself on the back.  People-pleasing.  

I grew up with a “need to please.”  And often the words, “oh, you’re so sweet” or “you are so thoughtful” resonated within me to be a validation for me to continue on in my people-pleasing ways.  

I needed that.  

I needed to know that I was valuable to someone, highly regarded, and known to put others before myself and my own needs.

When that person approached me and asked me for something, I often without hesitation would agree to the request no matter how much it set me back.  No matter how much I ever did, it was never enough.  It was never enough for them, but more importantly for me.  I grew up never feeling like I was “enough.”  So what did I do? Continued on in my pursuit for achieving worthiness and validation.

One day I was reading the Bible and I read, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV  

Just the day before, I had gone grocery shopping for someone (“in need”) and by the time I got back to my apartment I realized that I didn’t even have food for myself!  The people-pleaser.  How much sense did that make?  It had become so obvious that it slapped me in the face.  I had to realize that I was merely seeking approval from people and not from God.

Once I realized this truth, it was freeing.  No longer did I need to care about what others thought of me; do things that were outside of my comfort-zone or seek validation in doing things for approval.  I was enough just the way I was and God still loved me the same.  

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 NIV

I wish I could say that I acted free immediately, but it was a process.  I had to bump my head over and over and finally get it.  At one point, I got the best advice and took it.  “Don’t give a response immediately; instead tell the person you need to pray about it first.”  

That helped me immensely and it was the word of God!  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV.   

I’m still tempted at times to fall back into my “people-pleasing” ways and when I do, I don’t have peace with it.  I’m so thankful that He loves me just the way I am and I don’t have to work for His love.  He gave it freely.  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 NIV

Heavenly Father, Thank You for loving me - all my faults, my setbacks, and my issues.  You have never turned me away and are always there to provide Your wisdom and comfort.  Thank You for teaching me that I’m enough just the way I am.  Your love for me is beyond my comprehension and I am forever grateful for it.  Continue to guide me with Your eyes and teach me Your ways.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Maria Drayton

Writer and Author of "The King and I: Steps for living in today's world through Intimacy with the Lord"

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