Joyce Meyer - Authentically, Uniquely You - Part 2
- How to know Jesus
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And, you know, I believe that when you really make the Word of God a priority in your life, that you will enjoy your life much better. Because God's word teaches us the things that steal our joy and the things that add to it. You see, I really believe that God wants us to be authentic. And the world we live in today, there's a lot of phoniness and a lot of pretense. But that's not the way God wants us to live. And sometimes there's a lot of pressure put on us to do things that we really don't feel like we should be doing. And we end up not living authentic lives because we spend our time trying to please other people, rather than really doing what we believe God wants us to do.
So, today, we're gonna talk about being set free from people pleasing. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't wanna please people. But it does mean that we can't live to please people, if we're not pleasing God, or if we're actually going against our own heart. Self-rejection leads to people pleasing. When we don't accept ourselves, we assume that other people won't accept us either. Because we think and believe that we are not acceptable, we behave in ways that actually cause people to reject us.
Now, I said quite a bit there. You'd have to really think about it. But it's so important how we think about ourselves. If we fear that people will reject us, then we will lose our authenticity, by trying to please them, in order to gain their acceptance, instead of being who we genuinely are. We will say, "Yes," to things that we really don't want to do. The world is full of controlling people who prey on the insecure, because they are starving for love and acceptance, and therefore, can be easily manipulated. The person who is confident and loves themself as God loves them, won't put up with controlling people. They will confront them and set boundaries that must be honored if their relationship is to continue.
Now, I know that there must be people watching, right now, and there's someone in your life that you're letting control you, or maybe more than someone. Maybe it's not an all-the-time thing, but you find yourself doing things that you really don't wanna do because you just didn't wanna make this other person angry, or you didn't wanna upset them. My father was a controller and a manipulator. He controlled people with fear. And he was never satisfied with me or really anyone else, no matter what we did. So, I learned not to ever be satisfied with myself. And certainly could not believe that God or anyone else would ever be satisfied with me either.
Mark Twain said, and I think this is a wonderful quote, so, please listen to it, "The worst loneliness, is to not be comfortable with yourself". Wow, think about how bad that feels. If you're not comfortable in your own skin, you're not comfortable with yourself, and you're always pondering what you think is wrong with you: that can be the worst loneliness in the world. We are to live to please God, not to please ourselves, or to please other people. Now, here again, that doesn't mean that we don't wanna please people. God actually tells us to live to please people. But here again, not if pleasing them means that we're gonna be going against what we believe God is leading us to do.
Colossians 3:22-24, "Slaves", or servants, "Obey your earthly masters in everything: and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord". So, you see what he's saying? Don't do it just to get them to like you, but do it with a sincere heart because you really believe you're doing it unto the Lord. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you'll receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It's the Lord Christ you're serving". You see, when we do what we do in obedience to God, because we believe that, that's what God is leading us to do, then we will have a reward coming from God. But if we do things to please people, and in the process, we're having to go against what we really believe God wants us to do, then there is no reward. We lose any reward that God would give us.
Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it's impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him". Look forward to the reward that God has for you, if you're following his leadership and guidance in your life. Proverbs 16:7, "When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him". And Acts 5:29, Peter and some of the other disciples had been teaching the Word of God, and they were put in jail for it. And at midnight, an angel came and opened the jail doors, and they were free. And they went right back to preaching again. And they were confronted by the religious leaders and said, "We told you not to do this".
And in Acts 5:29, Peter and the other apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than man". I went to a church, one time, where the minister taught on that scripture, Acts 5:29, I think, for about six weeks. And it got drilled into me and I'll never forget it. "We must obey God rather than man". I want you to get that today. "We must obey God rather than man". If what man wants you to do is gonna cause you not to obey God, then you must choose God above people. Only God-pleasers will be able to fulfill their destiny. God has a destiny for each person. And that means a place where we're to finish up. God has a destiny for me to preach the gospel around the world. Maybe his destiny for you is to raise three or four kids that are gonna end up doing great things in their life. God's destiny for each of us is different. But you will not fulfill that destiny if you're a people-pleaser.
Paul said in Galatians 1:10, "Am I trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God"? And boy, that's a good question to ask yourself today. Are you tryin' to please people, or are you trying to please God? Or are you just living for yourself? And as long as you're happy, you don't care what people or God thinks? "Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not now be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ". Man, that is a powerful statement. One translation says, "If I were trying to be popular with people, I would not now be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ".
Paul was saying that he could have missed his destiny. And you know, Paul wrote about two-thirds of the New Testament. And his life, his ministry, was so fruitful, so powerful. And yet, he could've missed the whole thing, if he would've been overly concerned about his reputation with people. Let me ask you today, are you tryin' to have a good reputation with people, or are you tryin' to have a good reputation with God? In John 12:42 and 43, it says, "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue".
How often do people turn away from following God because they're afraid that they will be rejected by their friends, or their family, or maybe lose their job, or whatever the situation might be? And I can tell you, for me, when God called me to teach the word, I got asked to leave the church that I was attending. We lost a lot of friends. Certain family members felt like that what I was doing was wrong. They didn't think that a woman should be teaching. And sometimes, if you wanna go all the way with God, you have to be willing to lose some earthly things. And it was painful. It was hard for me. And I had other times, in my life, where in order to follow God, I had to be willing to be unpopular with people. Are you willing to do that, if you have to?
King Saul in 1 Samuel 15, it's a great chapter to read. He disobeyed God and lost his opportunity to be king. He could've been a great king and he could've ruled for many, many years. But Samuel had told him to wait for him to get there, to make the evening sacrifice. And Saul went ahead when it came near evening, and Samuel hadn't shown up yet, the people started leaving, and he went ahead and made the sacrifice and did the thing that Samuel had told him not to do. And when Samuel confronted him about it, he said, "Well, the people were scattering". He was more concerned about losing the people than he was about obeying God. Are you willing to lose a friend, if that's what you have to do, in order to walk with God? Are you willing to even have someone in your family reject you, if that's what it takes, in order for you to follow the will of God for your life?
You know, we have to understand that when we receive Christ, he must become everything. He's not an add-on. We don't just live our same life and add Jesus onto it. There will be things over the course of the years that you serve God, that will need to change in your life, but they're always gonna be things that will work out for the good. Now, some signs of a people-pleaser.
Number one: we let people's expectations control us. We feel trapped. We say, "Yes," to things and then complain privately, about having to do them. Well, that's a good one. How many times do we find ourselves complaining about having to do this, or having to do that? But it's really not something that you have to do. It's something you said, "Yes," to because you didn't wanna make somebody mad. You didn't wanna hurt their feelings. You didn't want them to be mad at you. The reason for doing them was not a right reason. You know, I feel that it is very important for our motives to be right. And your motive is why you're doing what you're doing. And I say often, "God is not nearly as concerned about what we're doing, as he is why we're doing it".
Another sign of a people-pleaser, we'll call it number two, is we always set aside our own legitimate needs, in order to please other people. Well, where are you on your list of people that you take care of? If you're all the way at the bottom, you're gonna end up burned-out, worn-out, bitter, resentful, and not happy, because you're keepin' everybody else happy, but makin' your own self sick trying to do everything that they expect you to do. Sacrifice is good. But if you're at the bottom of a list of the people you take care of, sooner or later, you won't have anything left to give.
So often, we hear about everything that we should sacrifice as Christians. But you also need to hear that you need to take care of yourself. And there are times in your life, when you need to do some things for yourself, so you'll be strong to do the things that God wants you to do. When we sacrifice for other people, we should do it because we believe that's what God wants us to do. Not because we're afraid they're gonna get angry with us, if we don't do it. 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times: for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams about like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour".
You know, what balance is? You do enough of something, but you don't do too much of it. Do you know, sometimes to do too much of a thing, is just as bad as not doing enough of it? You can actually do too much for people. You can do so much for them, that you're actually feeding their problem, instead of helping them grow up and be responsible for themselves. You can help people so much that you end up making yourself sick, and not fulfilling the destiny that God has for you. These are things to think about. I wish we had more time with each one, so we could just really talk about it, and talk about it. But you need to think about these things later when this program's over.
It's not good for anyone, for them to never hear, "No". I want you to hear that. I said, it's not good for anyone, for them to never hear, "No". Sure, I like to hear, "Yes," when I ask people to do things. But if I have a real, authentic relationship with someone, and I ask them to do something, and they tell me, "I don't have peace about it, or I don't believe it's what God wants me to do," I need to encourage them to follow God. Not get angry with them because they're not gonna do what I want them to do. We need to make sure that we're following God, and that we're staying in balance.
The next sign of a people-pleaser is that, people-pleasers feel guilty when their decisions don't please other people. "Well, did I do the right thing? Well, maybe I was being selfish. Maybe I should've done what they wanted me to do". People-pleasers assume responsibility for other people's emotional reactions to their decision. Well, here's the thing. If you ask me to do something, and I really don't feel like it's what God wants me to do, and you get angry, then that's not my fault. Your decision to be angry has to be between you and God. It's not something that I need to fix. But like many of you, boy, it took me a long time to learn that. And sometimes, I still fall into that trap. You know why? Because not one of us wants people to be angry with us. We want everybody to like us and approve of us. Somebody's anger, unhappiness, or disappointment is not yours to try to fix. Their negative reaction to your decision, is their responsibility, not yours.
People-pleasers frequently carry a false sense of responsibility. You can't be responsible for everyone and everything. If you're following God there are gonna be times when you're gonna have to tell people, "No". And anybody who wants to hear, "Yes," is not going to like it if you tell 'em, "No". But people that are mature in God, people that are following the Word of God, and people that really love you, and want you to be your authentic self, are not gonna try to manipulate you with anger and guilt, if you don't do what they want you to do. And parents, let me just say, be careful about trying to be your child's best friend, you have to be the parent. Sometimes, we want our kids to like us so much, that we let them do things that we shouldn't let them do, instead of telling them, "No".
The next sign of a people-pleaser, is that people-pleasers don't live within limits. You need to know how much you can do. You need to know how much rest you need. And if you have a full calendar already this week, and two people that you know and love, want you to do something for them. "Can you help me move"? "Can you babysit for me"? Whatever the case might be. If you know that it's gonna put you on overload, you need to say, "No". Because you have a right to live a balanced life. You need to put limits on yourself. Believe me, I know. Because I did not put limits on myself, and three different times I ended up making myself sick. I wanted to do what people wanted me to do. But you know, just because somebody wants you to do something, doesn't mean that it's God's will for you to do it.
Sometimes we get angry with the people who manipulate us and control us. But God told me one time, he said, "You're just as guilty as they are, because you're lettin' 'em do it". We have to stand up for ourselves. To please others, sometimes we push ourselves, until we make ourselves sick and emotionally unstable. We have to face it, people want us to do things, that we absolutely cannot do. In Acts chapter 6, the first four verses, is a good example of this. It says, "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".
Now, at that time, the apostles were, they had that responsibility and that job of distributing food to everyone, and making sure that everybody got the right amount that they need it. But apparently, the people weren't happy. And by the way, let me say, some people are not gonna be happy no matter what you do. And they felt like that they were being left out, or they weren't being treated fairly. And I love this, "So the twelve apostles gathered 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. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the spirit and wisdom. And we will turn this responsibility over to them'".
Wow, how good is that? They realized that if they kept trying to deal with all this stuff about making sure everybody got the right amount of food, that they weren't gonna be able to pray, they weren't gonna be able to study the word. It was gonna affect the call of God on their life. And so, they gave that responsibility to somebody else. And you know, I can tell you if you refuse to delegate, in order to have peace in your life, you're gonna end up being miserable. A lot of people, God has placed people around you to help you, but you won't let them help you. Because you think nobody can do it as good as you can. It's so good for people, when you give them responsibility, too. They knew they would not fulfill their destiny, if they didn't stay focused. Choose to live within your mental, physical, and emotional limits, or your body will eventually, force you to, anyway.
There was a man in the Bible named, Epaphroditus, who got so sick that he almost died. And, you know why he got sick? From working too hard in the ministry. Wow, how many times in my life did I think, "Well, you know, I'm working for God, he'll cover me"? Well, no, God expects you to live by his wisdom. And the Bible says we're to work six days, and rest one. And that we're to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. And if we don't do that, we're gonna end up hurting ourselves.
Sign number five, people-pleasers are extremely sensitive to criticism, and judgment, and rejection. You have to learn how to reject, rejection. Don't let somebody's rejection of you, control you. Just because somebody criticizes you, don't let that make your whole week bad. It can cause people to lose their confidence. Or stay on the path of unhealthy choices, while seeking favor and acceptance from their critics. Either stand up to your critics or be controlled by them, the choice is up to you. Paul was being criticized and being accused of being unfaithful. And listen to what he said in 1 Corinthians 4:3 and 4, "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court: indeed, I don't even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me". I love that! He said, "I don't care what you think".
Now, somebody may think, "Well, that's not a very good attitude". Well, Paul had to speak up for himself. He said, "I don't care what you think. My heart is right. And maybe if there is anything that I'm doing wrong, God will judge me and make that known to me". God has not and never will give anybody else the job of running your life. One more: number six, sign of a people-pleaser. People-pleasers are being dishonest, not authentic, about who they really are and what they really want. It's a form of dishonesty.
If I tell you that I'll do something for you, but I really know that I shouldn't be doing it, and I really don't even want to, and I pretend like it's just fine with me, I'm being dishonest with you and that does not make me a good friend. People-pleasing is dishonorable, because it is not being truthful. And there's a wonderful scripture in Ephesians 4:15, in the Amplified version. It says, "Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way in all things into him who is the head, [even] Christ (the Messiah)". You know, some people don't wanna hear the truth. But that does not relieve us of the responsibility of speaking the truth.