The Disease to Please

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I was infected with the disease to please. When did I turn a God-given desire into a man-made tendency to make everybody else happy?   I believe God created us all with a desire to please, but it’s to whom we direct that desire that will impact the course of our lives and ultimately our satisfaction and, quite frankly, our sanity. If you’ve ever uttered, “I can’t make everybody happy” or exhaustedly muttered “There’s just not enough hours in the day” or dejectedly mentioned “I’m not good enough” then these are signs you are living with the disease to please.  We literally cannot make everybody happy when we are specifically designed to only live to please one person and there actually is enough time in the day to accomplish exactly what God wants us to do.  If you feel like you are running out of time that’s a good indicator you are doing too much of what the world wants and not enough of what God wants. Are you telling time by Christ’s clock or your own? Now, the activities you are doing likely are good things. That’s exactly what makes it complicated. Is there such thing as too much of a good thing? You take your kids to soccer and ballet. You bake cakes for the bake sale at church. You serve on the PTA at school, you sit on a committee for your city or you put in extra hours at work so others will see you as dependable and hard-working. But, if at the end of the day you are worn out, beat down, running ragged and pleading with God for more time you might be overdue for a priorities check.  Learn to say no to what’s good and yes to what’s best.

 

I’ve realized over the past year it’s easy for me now to decide between what’s good and bad. “Hey, Tiffany do you want to get drunk tonight?” That would not be a wise choice for me. Plus, the closer I walk with God the quicker the things of the world that once was “life-giving” to me lose their appeal. Getting drunk slowly transitioned from desirable to dull. The bad-boy type I was attracted to definitely switched from desirable to dull and destructive. But what if the question is SHINY? “Hey, Tiffany do you want to go to this Bible study tonight?” or “Hey, Tiffany will you work in the children’s ministry every Sunday?” Both of these are good God-honoring activities, but if I always say yes to every good thing that comes my way I will end up performing moderately instead of excelling at a few things that are my God-given talents. I’ll settle for satisfactory when God wants me to exude excellence in my efforts for Him. Jesus didn’t half-way heal people. That wouldn’t be an accurate representation of His father who heals and restores completely through the sacrifice of his son for our sins.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Jesus didn’t half-way heal people.” quote=”Jesus didn’t half-way heal people.” theme=”style3″]

You might be asking yourself, “Well, how do I reverse the damage I’m doing? How do I take this disease to please and transform it into an effort to excel in Christ? How do I accept that often times helping ends up hurting me?  I’m caving into every command. I’m drowning in to-do lists. I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I’m spreading myself too thin. I’m suffocating from stress not protected in peace. If I say yes to one more dinner, playdate for my kids, or volunteer project I might lose my edge, my sanity, and my health.” We weren’t made to do it all. We were made to do our part. Ask God what part you are designed to play? In theater, every person plays their part. They memorize their lines, facial expressions, pitch, and body language to perform their part perfectly. They aren’t learning lines for everybody else’s part, running the sound booth, raising the curtain, or sitting in the audience. They know their performance because it’s what they were chosen to do. They’ve been given the perfect role for their talents and skills. [clickToTweet tweet=”It’s time for you to stop doing it all and start doing the part you were created to play. ” quote=”It’s time for you to stop doing it all and start doing the part you were created to play.” theme=”style3″]

1. Vertical Vision

Spend a specific amount of time refocusing on your relationship with Christ. Fix the fuzziness that’s resulted from an out-of-focus perspective on life. This is bound to happen when you are running full steam ahead without a pit stop, timeout or pause button. Take a hiatus from your hectic schedule. Root yourself in Christ’s love and wisdom.  Your inner people-pleaser might be screaming, “I can’t do that! The world will fall apart if I’m not available.” I can assure you it will not. Even Jesus, the most perfect man to ever live, spent time alone with his father.  “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to be alone with God and pray.” Mark 1: 35. That’s not the only example of Jesus spending alone time with his father. Often he spent solitary time with God before he made big decisions.  If someone who is perfect, spent one-on-one time with his father don’t you think we should do the same? In fact, it’s a requirement if we want to hear God’s will for our lives through his word and prayer.  No distractions. No disruptions. No to-do lists swarming around in your head. Just you and the word. Or you and prayer. Or both. Get lost in Christ’s love for you. Get connected to your Comforter. Get rooted in real peace that can only come from God.

Matthew 11:28 tells us, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” God knew being burn out would burden us.  He knew we would wage a war with weariness. All we have to do is COME to him. We don’t have to be superman and superwomen when we have a supersavior to rescue us and restore us through his rest.

[clickToTweet tweet=”God knew being burn out would burden us.  He knew we would wage a war with weariness. ” quote=”God knew being burn out would burden us.  He knew we would wage a war with weariness. ” theme=”style3″]

2. Stress Less = Yes Less

Now, that you spent some time cutting people out to allow God to come in it’s time to practice saying no. I’m really just speaking to myself here. As a relatively new believer in Christ, I wanted to rescue radically. If I said no to something that meant I was failing God. I had to say yes to anything pertaining to a God-related activity otherwise I was wasting the very life God gave me. It’s been a slow, agonizing process letting things go. Coming to terms with the fact I am just one person and I indeed am not made to “save” the world. There’s only one person who can save the world. I’m made to do His will – not his job. That’s been a hard pill for me to swallow the past couple of days realizing I was trying to do God’s job for him because just maybe he didn’t know what was right for me. How embarrassing and heartbreaking that I couldn’t trust the one who knows me better than I even know myself. The one who knows the number of hairs on my head which is saying something since my hair falls out constantly. God has given me a plethora of ideas for ministries, but guess what? I can’t just start them all at once. It would be disorganized, stressful and not as glorifying to God if I rushed to do everything He has told me. You don’t need to rush something you want to last forever. I have to be patient and wait for the right time in my life to begin the God-given dreams granted to me. God will give you a green light when it’s time for you to GO. Wait for His signal.

3. Choosing between GOOD and BEST

A quote that’s plagued me for the past three months goes as follows, “The hardest decisions in life are choosing between good and best.” I’ve realized how true this is. Now, that’s not exactly biblically, so I wanted to find scripture that backed up this quote. It came to me as I was reading through Acts recently.

Acts 6:1-4
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

Now, are they saying they are too good to feed the widows? Not at all. They simply know what role they are supposed to play in God’s kingdom and what they do best. If they sacrificed what they do best to do what was still good and God-honoring who would be left to do what God has called and created them to do? They still filled the need but went about it in the right way. Don’t go for good, but pursue the best.

Another verse has dwelled deep inside me the past couple of months as well, although not specifically speaking to the battle between good and best, I think it can be applied to wise decision-making.

1 Corinthians 10:23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.”

Sure I could eat an entire cake, but is that beneficial? Sure I could work 80 hours a week but is that constructive? Only you and God know.

4. Don’t make your day harder than it has to be

This is a motto I’ve really started to embrace at work. Of course, this happens during a lull in my tasks. Will it stick when everybody around me starts to rush? Will I remember when everybody is pressuring me to accelerate? Jesus accomplished everything he was supposed to during his short time on earth. Every person that was supposed to be healed found healing. Every demon that was supposed to be cast out was cast out. He didn’t worry if he was good enough or doing enough. He didn’t ask for more time in his day. He did what he was called to do. The weight of the world should not be on your shoulders. It’s not your weight to carry.

Matthew 11:29-3029 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus grants us rest for our souls through the grace that is given to us freely by the sacrifice of the son. It’s a pretty sweet deal for us. Easy to accept. We exchange our sins that weigh us down and separate us for freedom in Christ. Amazing grace, indeed. I am unqualified, undeserving and unworthy, but that’s the point. If I were qualified, deserving and worthy I wouldn’t NEED grace. I am desperate for it every second of every day.

5. Find peace in your pace

Right this moment I have about 15 blogs I want to write. Five ministries I want to start. Three volunteer organizations I want to belong to. As much as I wish these ideas would just come to me as God was ready for me to begin them that is not always the case. He will often place things on your heart long before the time to act and execute. But I get to use discernment and wisdom on deciding what is a priority and what he wants me to let bake in the oven a little bit longer. Don’t worry everything you are created to accomplish will get done. Life is a marathon. Not a sprint. Pace yourself. Write everything down you feel you are supposed to do and wait for God to give you directions on your next steps.

I know all this is easier said than done. People-pleasing and telling people no is one of my struggles. Right now you might have six tabs open on your computer, the television blaring in the background, and your phone ringing with a request on the other end all while you realize you haven’t touched anything on your to-do list. Focus on what matters most. Focus on what God is calling you to do. Remember, we are created to please an audience of one not to seek the applause of the crowd.  Picture

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