Escaping People Pleasing

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Intro -
Last week we learned how to live a stress free life in a stress filled world. One of the things that happens in our lives to cause stress is when People try to push us to live the way they think we should.
Many of us struggle with the FEAR of disapproval.


This fear messes up our relationships and it will make you miserable. The fear of being rejected will cause you to act in ways that allow people to walk all over you. It affects what you wear, how to speak, dress, etc.
It’s easy to get stuck worrying about what people think about you. Maybe it started when you were a child when you learned what would bring you the approval of your parents and other adults. That switched to your friends and too often we never quite grow out of the fear of being rejected, so we learn how to bring the approval of others … often at our own expense so that we will not be rejected.
You may be sitting here wondering why you are so weak? Why you can’t seem to handle someone rejecting you or disapproving of you. You get into a conversation, but never share your opinions because you are afraid if you do, they will reject you. People ask you to do things that you really don’t want to do, but you say yes because you are stuck in the people pleaser trap.
You become addicted to approval and it will destroy your happiness. If you don’t learn to deal with this issue, you will be miserable and controlled by other people. You will end up living the life you parents wanted you to live… your kids wanted you to live… your spouse wanted you to live… your boyfriend/girlfriend wanted you to live… your boss wanted you to live...
But you don’t live the live God wanted you to live. You miss out on the fantastic life God wanted for you because you are stuck in this fear of rejection and you try to please everyone. This will eventually cause you to go crazy.
Look at this…
Proverbs 29:25 GNB
25 It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.
NLT says it’s a dangerous trap.
I want us to look at escaping the trap of people pleasing.

Everyone of us can break free of the people pleasing trap by understanding 5 simple truths.

Before we go further, let me say. The desire to get approval from other people is not a bad thing. It’s nice and even healthy to have the approval of others in your life. You just don’t need to let it dominate your life and determine your self worth. There is nothing wrong with having people to love you.
The Bible teaches that we don’t live for ourselves. So if you don’t care at all about pleasing other people, you are a narcissist or a sociopath. You are completely self centered and selfish. .
But just like all of God’s gifts, the enemy can take it and pervert it so that it is misused. You have a need for food in your life but it can be misused if we don’t handle it under control …
Before we look at 5 truths we need to believe to break free from people pleasing, let’s look at why people pleasing is harmful.
Here are several reasons you need to deal with this.

1. It causes me to miss God’s purpose for me.

You can’t be worried about what everyone else wants and focus on what God created you to do at the same time. If you are trying to be who your parents wanted you to be… your spouse wanted you to be… your teacher wanted you to be… your friends wanted you to be.... what someone wanted you to be, you will miss out on what God’s purpose is for your life.
This will come out as either envy or peer pressure. ILL - Marriott ofc. with suspenders. When you envy someone’s life, or you are pressured by other people, you will miss out on what God wants to do in your life and through your life.
God does have a plan for your life, but so does everyone else, and if you listen to their plan, you will miss God’s plan.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT
4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
If I don’t deal with this, I will miss God’s purpose for my life.

2. It keeps me from growing in my faith.

When you try to please everyone, it stunts your ability to grow in your relationship with Jesus.
ILL - when God is big in your life, other people have less power in our lives. flip that. When we allow people to be big, God becomes small in your life. We give people the influence that God should have.
God and people cannot be the same size in our lives. Who are we going to give the most influence? Whose approval are we going to seek more?
Test - Whose opinion matters to me more? (friends or God) Who am I going to trust more? (Friends or God)
John 5:44 NCV
44 You try to get praise from each other, but you do not try to get the praise that comes from the only God. So how can you believe?
That’s pretty clear. When we place the opinions and approval of others over God it hinders our faith.
Proverbs 29:25 The Message
25 The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.
It disables our ability to grow in our relationship with Jesus.

3. It will lead me to sin.

Write - giving into peer pressure. When you try to please everyone, you will end up giving into peer pressure.
We think this is just a problem with our teenagers, but it’s a problem with everyone. It may look different, but it’s the same struggle. We want to please...
I don’t know about you, but I always got caught. And when I did, daddy would ask the same thing your parents asked or that you asked your kids when you caught them… why did you do it? The answer is usually “All my friends are doing it.” Ad then they would ask the dumbest question… Robert, if all of your friends jumped off the 5th ave. bridge, would you jump off of it? Your kids did the same thing you did when asked that question… rolled their eyes.
However, God seems to think we have a problem with it because he says in
Exodus 23:2 NIV
2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,
When you read the Bible, you see people over and over again jumping off the bridge with their friends.
Examples -
Peter - Peter had lived with Jesus 3 years… seen miracles… the dead raised… walked on water, but when he was forced to either admit he new Jesus and stand against a crowd or deny knowing him, he jumped off the bridge and denied Jesus.
Pilate - When Jesus was brought to Pilate, Pilate saw that Jesus was innocent, but he gave into the crowd. He knew they were wrong but he went along with them.
Joseph - Jospeh had 11 brothers who were jealous of him. They all 11 conspired to sell him into slavery. Not one objected. One tried… Reuben but he gave in.
Twelve Israelite Spies - 10 said they could not do it… 2 said they could. The 10 convinced the while nation to side with them.
Is God Big? or Is the opinion of others big?
Saul - When he became King, Samuel told him that God said to eliminate all of the idols from the land so that people would only worship the Lord. He was talked out of that. Later he confessed to Samuel that he had sinned… that he cared more about what the people thought than God so he let them tell him what to do.
Proverbs 1:10 The Message
10 Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you, don’t go along with them.
When I read this verse and see the examples in scripture, it makes me ask and you may want to Ask yourself. In what area – areas – of my life, am I caving in to the expectations of other people? In what areas am I doing what I know is wrong in order to win the approval or to avoid the rejection of other people?

4. It will cause hypocrisy in our lives

We start to wear masks… become like chameleons. We adapt to our environment. It’s pretty tiring to always remember which mask you wear with what group.
God doesn’t want you or I to spend our energy wearing masks trying to please everyone.
When we wear masks, we pretend to be something that we are not. We hid our true selves. FB is all about masks.
Luke 16:15 GNB
15 Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who make yourselves look right in other people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For the things that are considered of great value by human beings are worth nothing in God’s sight.
God wants what’s on the outside to reflect what’s on the inside. NO MASKS! The fear of disapproval can cause us to compromise things that are important… like the truth. PC talk
Integrity is more important than popularity. If you struggle with that, ask God to help you make integerity more important than popularity.
2 Corinthians 10:18 CEV
18 You may brag about yourself, but the only approval that counts is the Lord’s approval.
That’s how we get it right… we have to know that it’s the Lord’s opinion that matters.

5. It will silence my witness

People Pleasing will silence your ability to share simple truths about how Jesus has changed your life.
ILL - John 9 Jesus heals a man born blind. You would think everyone would be happy, but the religious leaders, the Pharisees, were not happy and went after the man’s parents. Instead of saying he’s amazing … he just healed my son… they went, “Why don’t you go talk to him?” They were afraid of what the religious leaders would do. Their witness was silenced.
Unfortunately, we see this in several places…
One day when the Pharisees were looking for him at a festival, no one would speak well of him…
John 7:13 NLT
13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.
They let their fear of being rejected by the Pharisees silence their witness. Even when they believed him or in him, often they kept it secret.
John 12:42–43 NLT
42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
Silence is not always golden. Too often the desire to fit in keeps us silent.
What’s the antidote?
How can we stop doing the wrong things because we are worried about what people think?
It’s right here… between our ears. Listen to what Paul said...
Romans 12:2 NIV84
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
IOW, the way to change your life is to change the way you think.
John 8:32 NLT
32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Here is what I want to do. I want to give you 6 truths that will transform your life and set you free.
You need to burn these into your mind so you will remember them.

1. Even God can’t please everyone.

ILL - ball games - people praying for each side to win. One group of people will be disappointed in God. Some will pray for rain - others for sunny skies. Some for hot - others for cold.
If God can’t make everyone happy, what makes you think you could.
Jesus even said Woe to you when people think good things about you… Woe means something bad. Chances are that if everyone likes you, you are standing for anything. Because the moment you take a stand for something, you someone will push back.
Pretty much the only time people will speak really well of you is at your funeral/

2. I don’t need everyone’s approval to be happy!

Happiness is a choice. You don’t need everyone’s approval to be happy. If I think I can only be happy if everyone likes me, I’ll never be happy.
You can’t please every body. You don’t have to and God doesn’t expect you to either. No matter what you do or say, someone will disagree or disapprove.
It doesn’t matter who you are and how popular you are… there are people who don’t like you.
Bill Clinton - won president with less than 50% of the vote (49.24%)… so did Trump. GW Bush, and others.
Someone will always disapprove.
Some of you have spent a life time trying to please an unpleasable person… parent, etc. You wanted to prove them wrong when they spoke negatively into your life. All that time, your mind thought that you would earn their approval… and it hasn’t happened. You got b’s and they expected A’s.
Some of you are 50 and you are still trying to get someone’s approval. You probably will never get it, but here is the good part. YOU DON’T NEED THEIR APPROVAL.
John 5:41 The Living Bible
41 “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me, for as I know so well, you don’t have God’s love within you.
When you have a big God, you don’t need the approval of others as much. The bigger God is, the smaller other people’s influence is on you.
If God is big, people have no power over you. When Jesus is #1 in your life, he sets you free from approval addiction because you are focused on him. Jesus, the truth sets us free.
If you are looking for someone to meet all of your needs, you will be disappointed. No one can do that! People will disappoint, but Jesus will never disappoint.
Isaiah 51:12 NLT
12 “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?
First, if you’re looking to somebody else to meet all your needs it’s unfair to them and it’s disappointing to you. The one thing about God is this: He has promised to never, never reject his children. Other people may reject you, but if you’re a child of God, if you’ve put your faith in Jesus Christ, you’re in the family of God, God says I will never, never reject you. His love is unconditional.
Psalm 27:10 NLT
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.
So we don’t need everybody’s approval to be happy.

3. What seems so important right now is really only temporary.

One big reason we become people pleasers is that we get caught up with the here and now rather than eternity. Short term thinking will cause you to become messed up in people pleasing. The what seems to be so important to us right now… is only temporary. The things you think are so important right now, won’t be in a few weeks.
If I asked you what were the most important things to you back in high school, you probably couldn’t name them, but if you could, they just simply are not important to you years later.
ILL - HS Reunions… some people peaked in HS while some you didn’t even know are super successful. Bill Gates.
So what seems important to us right now is really only temp.
1 John 2:17 GNB
17 The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live for ever.
He is comparing short term thinking and long term eternal perspectives. Short term thinking leads to people pleasing because all of the stuff I think is so important right now - isn’t. An eternal perspective leads to freedom.
ILL - Walmart price switch… cheap expensive and vice versa. People got upset and confused.
Listen to me… Satan has switched the price tags in life. And the stuff that the world says is important… isn’t.
Luke 16:15 GNB
15 Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who make yourselves look right in other people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For the things that are considered of great value by human beings are worth nothing in God’s sight.
What does our culture value most today? success, wealth, power. At the end of the day none of those will matter… at all. You can’t take it with you.
When you get sick, when you’ve got a loved one dying, all your fans really don’t matter. What you need is just a couple of really close friends.

4. I only have to please one person.

Really, in life, I only have to please one person. And that is my Creator. My God. My Savior. I only have to please the Lord, the one who made me and has a purpose for my life.
That makes things simple - you have to only please God.
John 5:30 NCV
30 “I can do nothing alone. I judge only the way I am told, so my judgment is fair. I don’t try to please myself, but I try to please the One who sent me.
People pleasing is a form of idolatry. Anything you put before God becomes a god. So a boat could be a god. A career could be a god. A girlfriend could be a god. Golf could be a god. Anything that becomes number one in your life that isn’t God becomes your god.
Galatians 1:10 NLT
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.
When I am a people pleaser, I have allowed something else in my life to take first place. Does that make sense? All of a sudden it becomes god in my life. Because their opinion matters to me more than God’s opinion. What they think of me matters. I don’t want to tell them I’m a Christian because they might think less of me.

5. One day I’ll give an account of my life.

This is people pleaser antidote. We will have to give an account of everything we have done.
Romans 14:12 NLT
12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.
When you remember that, when you have that long-term thinking, it’s going to change what you say, what you do, and who you try to impress. Because in a situation where you go, am I going to please God in this situation or am I going to please this person? Do I want God’s approval or do I want this person’s approval? Do I want God disapproving of what I just said or did, or do I want this person disapproving of what I just said or did?
When you take that long look and realize I’m going to give an account today for every word I say, it’s going to change and give you confidence. It’s going to give you courage. It’s going to give you the ability to stand up and be a man or be a woman in a situation that is constantly trying to put pressure on you to be politically correct or socially acceptable.
Luke 9:26 NLT
26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
We can’t be embarrassed to speak up for Jesus.

6. God shaped me to be me.

He doesn’t want you to try to be someone you are not... When you get to heaven, God is not going to ask you why you were not more like your brother…
Romans 12:2 NCV
2 Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.
God’s purpose for your life is good. Other people’s purpose for your life is not good. God didn’t put you on earth to fulfill the purpose of somebody else. God puts you on earth to fulfill the plan of God for you. The plan of God for you is good. It meets all your demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity.
These six truths will set you free. If you let them burn into your memory, they will guide you and they will keep you from being controlled by crazy makers who want to push you into their mold. Will you have the integrity? Will you have courage? Will you stand up and be who God made you to be and say what you know is the right thing?
So let’s review these truths.
Even God can’t please everybody. I need to remember that one.
I don’t need anybody’s approval in order to be happy. It’s a choice.
What seems important now, what you think of me isn’t really going to matter in the long term. When I get to heaven, what you thought of me isn’t going to matter.
I only have to please one person. That makes life pretty simple.
Five, one day I’ll give an account of the life I lived.
And six, God shaped me to be me, not somebody else.
There’s only one person in the universe who knows you completely, who accepts you unconditionally, and who knows the purpose you were created for – Jesus Christ. So you need to get to know him. And make sure that his opinion of you matters more than anybody else. That is an anti-crazy maker move.
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