Are you a people pleaser?
I am. As a little girl, I was often pushed aside by others my age, and I struggled with what my peers thought of me. As I grew up, I became even more concerned about others’ perception of me. I did everything I could think of to be the person these people would like, but most times they didn’t care less and I just ended up disappointed and hurt.
To this day, I am often debilitated by what others think of me. I find myself constantly adjusting my personality, speech, wardrobe, mannerisms, and activities to match the those around me. I struggle with telling others what I truly think about a subject and with sharing my opinion or perspective.
To my shame, this has often greatly affected my witness. I become so concerned about what people may think of me if I share my beliefs with them that I almost never bring the topic up and usually only discuss it if I’ve been approached on the subject. This is something that I have noticed has become an increasing issue over the past year, but I have often neglected to make much thought of it.
The past few days, however, this passage has been coming to mind:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”” – Romans 1:16-17 (ESV, emphasis mine)
If you were to have asked me, I may not have admitted it – but I’ve come to grips with the truth: so often, I am ashamed of the gospel. Far too many times, I have allowed people’s perception of me to be more important than God’s will.
Why do I allow the opinions of finite, powerless people to persuade me off the path of faithfulness to my infinite, all-powerful God?
Because I lose focus.
When we focus our lives on pleasing and satisfying people in the world around us, we stop focusing on living for God. We can’t focus on both; we must chose which we will make more important in our lives.
Then, our decisions will affect how we live out our lives: either we will (1) focus on pleasing people and our relationship with God will in turn be affected, or (2) focus on pleasing God and our relationships with the people around us will change accordingly. You can have one or the other, but never both.
Friend, you and I both must make this decision. Don’t wait until the next time you’re faced with the dilemma – decide today who you are going to live for.
Who is more important to you, and are you willing to show it through your actions?