Confessions of a Recovering People-Pleaser

Confessions of a Recovering People-Pleaser

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

 “Remember, you are living for an audience of One.”

My friend Steve Hayner’s great reminder of our goal — to glorify our most important ‘audience’ – God. Not that our friends be spellbound.  Not that our social media reach be expanded. Not that our personality be embraced.

            We were not called to follow Christ, build the Kingdom and please people. Paul learned this the hard way. By accumulating the accolades (from people) he almost lost the Audience (of God).

            But grace changed all that.  And he could never go back. “I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace.” (Galatians 2.21)

In a recent survey of 1200 pastors, 91% admitted to people-pleasing tendencies.

One who says he is now in recovery elaborates. “Pleasing people, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing. And some professions, by their very nature, draw people into them because they offer opportunities to help others. That desire, however, often makes us susceptible to the type of people-pleasing that becomes problematic.” 

Problematic is when outside affirmation guides us more than inner conviction.

Due to a false sense of responsibility, we then take ownership for everyone else’s feelings. We commit to too much because we don’t want to let anyone down, yet in the process of not being able to fulfill unrealistic expectations, we let everyone down.

My mantra for too long, “I just want everybody to be happy…”

Which is, of course, absolutely impossible.

Kevin DeYoung cautions, “You may have a reputation for being the nicest person in the world because the operating principle in your heart is to have a reputation for being the nicest person in the world. Not only is that a manifestation of pride and therefore a sin; it also makes our lives miserable (living and dying by the approval of others), and it usually hurts those who are closest to us (who get what’s left over of our time and energy after we try to please everyone else).” 

Grace is Jesus plus nothing. 

So let’s not add to that, ok?  Our job is to be faithful to the call. God’s job is what happens next.

Can you live out grace, not contingent on how people respond?

Only if your identity is as a beloved servant. 

under the mercy, Cindy

©2017 Lucinda Secrest McDowell


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5 Responses to Confessions of a Recovering People-Pleaser

  1. Debby Adair says:

    Loved the article. Great reminder 💜💜💜 Debby

    Sent from my iPhone 🔆Debby Adair🔆 Speaker, Author, Solutionist In the Presence of Positive Women 💜💜 603-731-0116 PO Box 4428, Manchester, NH 03108


  2. maggierowe says:

    So true, Cindy. I am convicted of this over and over again. We are to be eager to serve, not eager to please. It’s knowing the difference that gets tricky. Thanks for this reminder!

  3. gigijacks says:

    I can identify with this tendency! Thank you for wise words.

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