Repost from April 28, 2011
Recently I had to give a testimony and a lot of it has to do with this very site. When I prayed about sharing I realized that most things we all need to surrender come from a place of fear. Perhaps this is something you can relate to. I edited this post for privacy issues. I pray it blesses you!
Jesus Paved the Way to Victory over People Pleasing
Most of you know me as “The Surrendered Scribe.” It’s more than a fun blog name but a way of life for me. I think this is a great testimony because it shows that healing, even in Jesus, is a process. That is the case for me and people pleasing.
My need for approval and to be liked goes back as earliest memories. I remember wanting to hear affirmations in things I tried or wore or just was as a little girl. I believe I excelled in school as a means of avoiding conflict and having attention. I wanted to be liked and as the years went on, the want for me turned to a need.
By college I started to be popular and the need became a preoccupation. I didn’t want to lose the feeling that people liked me and sought me out. I constantly thought of ideas to keep me in the circle including sarcastic barbs to anyone that I thought might be competition to my popularity. That meant treating good people bad, something I counted as part of the cost.
After graduation I said a prayer to ask Jesus into my life almost immediately but healing from so many things didn’t come right away. People pleasing was something I didn’t even realize was an issue for many years, yet the need continued. Working in communications I only felt I was doing a good job when I saw my name in the paper in bold. I signed up for committees and headed projects to people would see me as a hard worker. As a new Christian I felt I had to say yes to everyone and everything. I was a Sunday school teacher, librarian on a missions committee, VBS helper and a youth worker within months of my salvation. Looking back, the Lord probably didn’t want me to participate in any of those things at that time. But I couldn’t bear the thought of letting anyone down.
Getting engaged and being newly married only made things worse. I wanted his family to love me and I believed a lot of lies about myself and my place in his life. I was so caught in the stronghold of people pleasing I remember being in chronic pain and staying up all hours carving out a Christmas penguin centerpiece out of eggplant. Yet that didn’t clue me in that I had a problem. It only grew worse. Things progressed to the point that I would become ill taking the burden that I had to be perfect, say the perfect thing and when perfect things didn’t happen, I took the devastation personally.
The real fear of losing our marriage helped me understand I needed help. I was working so hard to be the best at everything my hands were touching that I was burned out. When I got burned out I became angry and took it out on my husband. One day we had a fight and he let me know this behavior had to stop and he wouldn’t allow our son to be a participant to it. He was serious and I knew something had to change. The problem wasn’t him—it was me.
I confessed and repented, asking God for help. I had to rely on His divine power especially when I had to speak up and speak the truth in love. I said no to extra projects I couldn’t physically handle. I pressed in and remembered who really gets glory when my name was in the paper.
I believe these things had to take place for me to write as a ministry. I think right along with people pleasing was fear and writing for Him meant not being afraid what people thought. I took Beth Moore’s Believing God and on top of all the other things I was doing, He just lavished on me. I started to see who I was in Him instead of what I was hoping to be. I believe the advocate I had to be for our daughter in her season of chronic illness also showed me how futile people pleasing was. She received care that was wrong and I had to proactively stand up and say so even though it wasn’t a people pleasing choice. By the time I read Captivating and was transformed by the message that I am lovely…I was ready to write.
The huge praise was once I surrendered writing and all fears I had about being rejected or being hooked on being a people pleaser…none of that happened. I wrote for 4 years before I received a single rejection and when I did, I laughed. Most of the time when I receive a rejection I’ve even forgotten I submitted for that thing anyway. That is how far God has taken me. I couldn’t worry about my name in print and write, and I thank Him for this victory. God has a continuous praise coming from me as His Scribe in book and online format.
I am so thankful for His divine power.
Update: If you live in the Youngstown area, I’m facilitating a small group starting Thursday, May 3 where I’m presenting both Captivating and Made to Crave in DVD format. These books were life changing for me, and I think they can be for you, too. Contact me if you’d like details.