Reread the list and honestly evaluate your heart. Go ahead reread it.
If you checked off one or more of these, you most likely have this nasty disease called people-pleasing. And the ugly thing about this disease is that it disguises itself with acts of service or “being nice”. This disease is rarely spoken about because the one doing the pleasing doesn’t like confrontation and the one on the receiving end enjoys the things getting done. Striving to make others happy with you and not angry sounds like a great quality to have after all doesn’t it? It is so easy for people-pleasers to believe that what we are doing is noble and godly. But the underlying problem (actually let’s call it what it is : SIN) is that we trust ourselves more than God so we feel like we always have to be in charge or that everything falls on us.
Is it just me or do you also find yourself in the middle of situations/decisions dreading to say yes but also fighting to say no? Someone makes a request. You know right away your answer should be no. Your schedule, your brain, your reality says NO. But your heart says YES and then your mouth opens and says “yes of course”. Here we go again. You justify that yes by reminding yourself that Christians sacrifice and serve so therefore YES is always the right answer. You find yourself at a breaking point—sacrificing your attitude of love on the altar of activity.
I went through a season feeling like every request was for me to fulfill, every assignment was my assignment, and that I was the only one capable of doing it. You know, the mentality “I rather do it myself then have to re-do it if someone else does it”. Do you see the pride in that? So ugly. I didn’t even realize I was living this way until I got married. Let me tell you, marriage is such a beautiful tool God uses to sharpen and sanctify us! There were times where I received a request and I would complain to my husband about the request and how much time it would take and yet I would turn around and say “yes”. He quickly addressed that. But in my head I would justify my “yes” because honestly I love to help others and I dislike the feeling of disappointing people. I actually desire to make others happy. I want people to like me and to be pleased with me and what better way is there than by doing what is requested out of me. That’s a pure heart and motive right?
What I am really doing is:
Galatians 1:10 “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[a] of Christ.”
Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
The reality is that it is impossible to please everyone. But for a long time I attempted to do just that—please. And how do you please? By saying yes all the time and tricking yourself into thinking that you can do enough, give enough, sacrifice enough so that others like you, admire you, and are pleased with you.
I had a problem with using the word “no”. When I wanted to say no but couldn’t I would just delay as if that would somehow make the request go away. To me the options were: 1. Delay or 2. Just say yes and deal with it. “No” was not an option because I believed this lie that saying no was not nice. I still feel uncomfortable saying “no” but I have started using that word. A few months ago I read a book by Lysa Terkeurst “The Best Yes” that served as a great reminder and tool on making wise decisions in the middle of endless demands. One thing she touched upon is the power of the small no. “The power is in saying no before things grow to the place where a no becomes even harder to give, more painful than if given early on, or so much is already put in motion that now the no feels nearly impossible to realistically implement”. The best no’s are honest and gracious. Here are two examples of that:
It’s okay to say no to some requests darling! Let me remind myself “It’s okay to say no Ashley”. Now this blog is not granting us permission to go around using “no” as a weapon or as a cop out from our responsibilities. If you have made commitments to your family, to your church, to your job, be women of your word and take care of business! Houses still need to cleaned, dinners still need to be cooked, disciples still need to be made, community groups still need leaders and members, churches still need volunteers to serve, friends still need movie nights. But not every responsibility is ours to take on. I want to end this blog post by letting you know that there are assignments and responsibilities that God wants us to say yes to. The reason we should start learning to use “no” is so that we can have the time and space to say “YES” to those assignments God has for us. And those assignments are filled with much joy not because they are easy but because our Father has prepared those good works specifically for us to do.
“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
When the next request is made check your heart and ask yourself: Am I saying “yes” to please God or to please people? Remember to say yes to what pleases God first.
Prayer point: Lord, help me to see the idols I have placed above you in my heart and in my everyday life. There is no one greater than YOU. There is no one higher. Help me to see that there is a time and a place to say yes. Not because I was guilted into saying yes or pressured into saying yes. Give me wisdom and discernment to know the tasks and assignments that are meant to be for me, so that I have the courage to say no to the other things. Remind me that I am living for an audience of one. May I decrease as you increase. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”
(Phil. 1:9-10, NIV)