How We’re Learning
By Adrienne Terrebonne
Free From People Pleasing
Did you know that people-pleasing is actually a sin? Galatians 1:10 (NASB) says this: “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.”
I’ve been a people-pleaser my whole life. As a first-born, I’ve always wanted to do the right things and make the best choices so that others would accept me, and growing up, I struggled to find the right fit of friends. I tended to change who I was depending on the people I was hanging out with at the time.
After marrying my husband, the Air Force took us many different places, and again I found myself struggling to discover my true identity. I wanted to fit in with my Bible study girls but I also wanted to hang out at the club on base with other friends. The inner conflict was real as I attempted to discover exactly who God made me to be.
After twelve years of flying bombers, my husband changed career fields. Although he remained in the USAF, this career change took us to an army post where I was exposed to many different people and ideas.
We began attending a church we loved in our new town. This church felt different to us. Church leadership encouraged authenticity, and for the first time in my life, I learned what it meant to be real. How to expose my struggles, hurts, and disappointments to others instead of hiding behind a mask of perfection. It was in this exposure that I came to know Jesus more intimately, and I developed friendships with others who were struggling with similar issues. I learned to be authentic instead of trying to say all the right things so people would like me.
I love what 2 Corinthians 3:17 says: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and when we worship in a place with other people who are being led by the Holy Spirit, authenticity comes naturally. I’ve found much freedom in allowing others to see my weakness.
I’m not suggesting you tell everyone your deepest, darkest secrets. And don’t get me wrong – it isn’t always easy to expose my struggles. I still fall prey to the sin of people-pleasing, hoping others will like me. But when we follow the Holy Spirit, He will show us how to be authentic. How to be who He made us to be.
How to Be Authentic:
- Study the Word: In order to know who we are, we need to read God’s love letter to us. When we are secure in His love, we’re more likely to be authentic, seeking only His approval.
- Find a Church Home: I encourage you to find a church with leadership who is not afraid of authenticity. And go further by joining a small group where you can find even deeper community.
- Go First: Sometimes all it takes is for one person to open up about their struggles. During one of our many moves, I was finding it difficult to connect with others, even in our small group. One Sunday, my husband and I mentioned our struggles with infertility, and the floodgates opened. Women came to me afterward, wrapping their arms around me, promising to pray for our situation. Others invited me to coffee. These women are still some of my dearest friends, and it all started when we told our story.
When you are struggling with your self-worth, meditate on the Truth found in God’s Word. Specifically, read Psalm 139.
This week, invite a good friend for coffee and “go first.” Open up by sharing a struggle or concern with her and watch how authenticity grows your relationship even deeper.
Friend, you are God’s masterpiece. He loves you and wants you to be the person He made you to be. Cast aside the tendency to please others and instead live your life according to the Holy Spirit.
Father, thank you for the truth of Scripture. Show me who I am according to your Word and help me to be authentic with those whom you place in my life.
Verses to Ponder:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14 (ESV)
Adrienne Terrebonne currently lives in Clarksville, TN, with her husband Peter and their three children. She is a recovering people-pleaser and lover of all things chocolate. You can find her on her blog at www.blessedbeyondexhaustion.com where she encourages women to discover Christ in the chaos of life and motherhood.