If there’s one thing that I have been learning, it’s this: people-pleasing is exhausting. The need to make people happy, to be well-received by others, and to meet other people’s expectations is a well that will never run dry. There will always be people making demands of us, wanting more of our time and energy than we have to give. And usually we are the ones who end up suffering for it. We end up running around, burning ourselves out trying to juggle multiple weights, until we crash mentally and physically.
‘Wait’, you may say, ‘Aren’t we supposed to love and serve people as Christians?’ And to that, I would say, yes! The second commandment, after loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:37). I wonder, though, if we tend to get it backwards. We are so quick to say yes to another person’s need, that we forget to stop and acknowledge if it is something the Lord wants us to do. The most important thing is our relationship with the Lord. We need to ask ourselves: Am I committing to so many things that I am starving out my spiritual life? If so, seriously think about cutting back on your activities.
I work a pretty demanding and often stressful job. I’m constantly on the go from the minute I step in the door to the minute I leave. But I have to ask myself, “Am I going above and beyond because I want to glorify God, or because I want to be liked and appreciated?” Those are two very different things. Am I being honest when I make mistakes, or am I trying to cover them up to appear more competent? Am I willing to speak up for myself and set boundaries, or am I being walked over? This is something I’m still trying to learn. And I’ve also realized this: it’s ok to take breaks. It’s ok to rest. We were created to need rest. We just need to learn to rest in the right way, so that we will be spiritually emotionally, and physically refreshed, and be able to live a balanced, healthy life. I’ll leave you with these verses.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24