I Am a People Pleaser, and I Have a Problem

I just want to start by saying,

My name is Madison McGraw, and I am addicted to pleasing other people.

I know, shocking. I know for a fact you’re as shocked as I was when I had the realization of my addiction a few months back. Wait, I am doing it again. I AM STILL REALIZING THIS NOW. I just want to please you and make you think I have my life together. LOL, I don’t.

I tried to deny my problem, but eventually, it became unavoidable. I had to admit I had a problem: I was a perpetual people pleaser and addict to the pleasure of pleasing others. I suffered from the complete inability to say no to any and all offers or requests from people, in every situation. By doing these things and sacrificing myself, I thought I was a good person, but even deeper, a good Christian.

Why could I not say no? Why would I avoid any and all conflict possible?

I recently was inspired to hunt for an answer. (Too bad there isn’t a People Pleasers Anonymous group!!!!)  But falling back into my old stubborn ways, I kept putting on a mask and blaming other surface level problems. For example, I would tell myself everyone in college is super busy; this is the only time in my life I will be able to do stuff like this or my personal favorite: it’s not my fault there’s not enough time in the day!!

But, let’s remember that the God I serve is much bigger, smarter, and stronger than any and all self-control issues I have. He also has an awesome sense of humor people!!

You may not think this is as funny as I do, but I was reading Galatians, which is written by Paul (one of my favorite biblical friends probably because of his bluntness, I always read his stuff with a sassy tone.. idk it just really helps me connect, okay?) to the early Christian communities.  So, I am reading Galatians and then I come across Galatians 1:10:

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

At this time in my life, I was probably about fifteen. I for sure thought I knew what was going on!! (if you know what I mean) Well in my Bible next to it, I wrote ” DON’T CARE ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK.” Okay, so now the funny part. Fast forward to this past year (I am now 20, so five years later… math!!) and I had recently returned to school from summer break, and I come home exhausted. Like one of those days where you’re too tired to get up off the couch to cook dinner, so you just starve kind of exhausted. I know, I am lame. Well, I was like dang Jesus could help me get some motivation to get off the couch to eat. So I opened my Bible, looking for more of a Jesus feeds the 5,000 kind of passage; but opened right to “DON’T CARE ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK.”

Galatians 1:10 was right in front of my face. Thanks God!!! He reminded me of my addiction. My people pleasing, way out of hand addiction. Why couldn’t I say no to people? For goodness sake, I was making myself too tired to find the motivation to eat?!?!!? I LOVE FOOD.

So, back to the point….It all comes down to one thing. Our motives. Why are we doing (or not doing) something? Are we being motivated by fear, personal gain or a sense of obligation? Are we being motivated by a desire to be in control, accepted or seen? These are all the wrong reasons for doing something.

Our motive for doing anything should always be because God has prompted us and we want to please Him. Following the leading of the Holy Spirit means we are motivated by the fruits of the Holy Spirit, such as love, kindness, and goodness. What the Spirit leads us to do or not do, He will give us a peace about. With everything you do, do it with the motive of pleasing God and to bring glory to His name. The result will be a new measure of joy and enthusiasm in your life—even in the everyday, ordinary things.

“So that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearign fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10

I struggle hardcore with people pleasing but I constantly remind myself that I serve an Almighty God who has an abundance of love for me.

Maybe I need to take advice from my fifteen-year-old self more often?

High fiving my fifteen-year old self now. Much like how much I got to high five those around me at the game this weekend!!




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