Coming to this realization should not have been all that startling, and yet, while I sat in church this morning, I listened to my pastor (a man I've trusted with spiritual issues since my early teens) describe a people pleaser. It could have been my bio. People-pleasers are: over-committed, concerned about what others think of them, take criticism personally, feel guilt over saying no, do not handle said guilt well...check, check, check, check, check. I sat in disbelief as my life was dissected in front of hundreds of people. As if being pegged wasn't enough, here's the zinger: People-pleasing=idolatry. Wow. Ouch!
At first I wanted to protest. Surely these spiritual gifts of generosity and hospitality, gifts from God Himself, gifts I love and cherish, couldn't replace my love for God. And yet, verse by verse, point by point, I began to see how my desire to be approved of by others was taking priority over being approved of by my Maker.
I'm constantly amazed at how God orchestrates interactions in our lives. For those of you who believe in chance, by all means continue, however, I will not be swayed from the belief that God meets our needs whether we ask Him to or not. The sermon this morning did just that.
Earlier this week, I had a breakdown. Through trembling sobs, I literally said to my mother, "Nothing I do is ever good enough. I can't make everyone happy." This morning, God was good enough to remind me that I was correct. Nothing I do will EVER be good enough. I will not make everyone happy. Thus, I must choose whose happiness I will be concerned with.
So, here I am, a recovering people-pleaser. I'm taking the first steps toward being free from this idolatry that I have spent so much of my life serving. I will ACTUALLY pray about new commitments, and not just SAY that I will pray about them. I will seek wise counsel from my inner circle. Harder than the last two steps, I will work to accept that I cannot, that I will not be liked by everyone.
I know myself well enough to understand that there will be many trials and setbacks, but I also know that with God's help, I can start living for the praise of Abba, as opposed to the approval of men.