Just Say “No”
As extreme as it sounds, I have always been captivated by idolatry. Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. If I don’t see God in the moments, I’ll bow down to something else. That’s who we are as humans. Every fiber of our being is meant to worship. But, looking at my life, I am astounded at every fiber I waste.
Do we know who we are outside of other people’s expectations and social norms?
Is it just me, or do we excuse our fragmented hearts?
We love people with all our hearts. Surely, loving people is a good thing. Pleasing people is a good thing. No? Of course people are important. No man dare say that he loves God, unless he also loves his fellowmen; and no man can really and truly love his fellowmen, unless he sees that the true value of a man lies in the fact that he is a child of God. Without a heart for mankind, religion can become a remote and detached mysticism in which a man is concerned with his own soul and his own vision of God and nothing more.
But it’s not okay to say yes to people if you are saying no to God. Does your desire to please people interfere with your calling to be Holy? Does it lead you to compromise with your time, money, or emotions that would be better placed at His feet? Maybe it is because we love wrong, or better phrased; we love cheaply. It is only through God, that we can really love people. It is only through words seasoned with His grace, that we can really please people. It is only time spent in His presence that is of any value to others.
The first step in any intervention is recognizing that you have a problem.
The symptoms of people pleasing;
- You find it difficult to live within limits. Everyone is limited in some way – by time, ability, influence, money, and other factors. Often, people pleasers push themselves beyond their own limits to keep others happy. They attempt to live as if they have no limits. After all, they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by admitting that they do not have the capacity, means, or time to do something that is requested of them. This results in stress, frustration, anger, and even financial difficulties for the people pleaser.
- You crave compliments. You’re very liberal with your compliments when you’re around friends or colleagues in the hope of getting a compliment back from others.
- You can never say no. You don’t like offending anyone because you’re afraid they may think badly of you if you refuse to help them with something.
- You give too much too soon. Emotionally and/or physically.
- You hate confrontation. You spend several sleepless nights over the smallest argument with a new friend. And you do whatever it takes to make up for it, even if it’s not your fault.
- You make big sacrifices. You sacrifice your own happiness just to please someone else and win his or her approval.
- You hurt easily. You get hurt very easily when your friends neglect you or go somewhere without involving you. You want to feel loved all the time.
The truth is we fear saying no; we avoid it and misunderstand it. But Jesus, who could do all, didn’t do it all.
“No” to becoming King – Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself (John 6:15).
“No” to offers of instant satisfaction, wealth and power. Jesus said to him, “Away from me (Matthew 4:1-11).
“No” to coming right away when Lazarus became deathly ill. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea” (John 11).
Real friends love your “no” as much as they love your “yes.” Know your worth in Christ and do not cling to the approval of men, because Christ has already approved you. Believe that you have the power to change, because ‘for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he’ Proverbs 23:7. Finally, remember that Jesus, the most perfect man that ever walked the earth, was still rejected by all.
Galatians 1:10 ‘I would not be a servant of Christ if I was still trying to please men.’