Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘being a people-pleaser’

Jo 23One of our daughters works at a charitable organisation and occasionally gets to deal with people who phone up to make a donation. She has had some interesting conversations as a result, but one memorable one went something like this:

‘Good morning! How can I help you?’

‘I’d like to donate a thousand dollars to the foundation.’

‘Did you say one thousand dollars?’

‘Um … is that enough?’

What a strange question! Was this gentleman honestly thinking this might be too low an amount for them to accept? My daughter suspects he had given more in previous years and felt bad he could not now do the same. Or perhaps he was actually questioning his own level of generosity. Perhaps to him, a thousand dollars was a mere pittance—he would never miss it. So was it indeed enough?

Sadly, this question is all too familiar to me. As a people-pleaser from way back, I have often asked it, either aloud or in my head. For example, if someone at our dinner table eats everything on their plate, I wonder if I gave them enough. Are they still hungry? Are they thinking what a mean hostess I am? If this happens at a family gathering, usually one of my children, just to tease me, pipes up with what they know I will say next: ‘Did you have enough? Would you like some more, love?’! In other contexts too, even when I have given my best to some task, I can still ask myself, over and over: ‘Was that enough? What did people think of it?’

People-pleasers want everyone to think well of them. They cannot bear to let anyone down or upset anyone—after all, it’s up to them to keep everyone happy. Yet how wearing that can become—and how impossible to achieve anyway!

Of course, this can affect our view of God too. When I was in my early teens, I thought that, if I went to church on any given Sunday, surely this would put me in God’s good books. Surely I would have a great week all round, because God was so pleased with me. Thankfully, a few years later, I came to experience the amazing love and grace of God in my life and to see there is no point in trying to impress God. My ‘good’ will never be enough. But Jesus, the perfect, sinless Son of God, who lives in me by his Spirit, has taken care of that for me on the cross and become all the ‘enough’ I need.

God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 New Living Translation

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT

It’s not about striving to measure up. It’s not about making sure we have done enough or given enough to get in God’s good books. Instead, it’s about doing our best to honour God because of the grace we have been shown through Jesus. And that’s an entirely different and wonderful thing, don’t you think?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Jo 12It happens only once in a blue moon that I take myself off to the movies. I am very choosy about what I watch but, given my sister who was visiting from interstate was also interested in seeing The Greatest Showman, I decided to take the plunge and go. And I have to say, this one did not disappoint.

We both truly admired Hugh Jackman in the starring role of P T Barnum, showman extraordinaire. He acts wonderfully. He sings well. And he was supported by an excellent caste. The music was beautiful—and the cinematography breathtaking at times. And, as far as I noticed, there was nothing offensive in the whole movie, which was a pleasant surprise. I held my breath when Mr P T Barnum was tempted to head off in the wrong direction in life and in show business, giving in to the lure of the talented Miss Jenny Lind, but heaved a sigh of relief when he came to his senses and returned home to his wife and daughters. Phew!

As for the main theme of the movie, was it that every person, however ‘different’ he or she is, has intrinsic value and deserves to be respected? Or was it the need to hold onto our dreams and have the courage to bring them into reality? Then there was the reminder to be true to one’s partner in life and care for family members. All these are very worthwhile values to hold onto. But right at the end of the movie, we noticed an interesting quote on the screen:

The noblest art is that of making others happy. P T Barnum

I had to think about that as a theme. How about you? Would you call ‘making others happy’ the noblest art?

I definitely used to be a people-pleaser and a ‘peace at any price’ person. I wanted to keep everyone around me happy. I hated arguments and would usually acquiesce rather than stick to my guns. Yet over the years, I learnt this was not always the best response and that sometimes I needed to find the courage to stand by what I felt was right. So to me, making others happy in this sense is not ‘the noblest art’.

I’m sure, however, this is not what P T Barnum meant. I suspect he was thinking of those times when something we do for or give to others touches their hearts deeply or eases some load they are carrying in life or at least makes them laugh for a while. After all, there is some truth in the old saying, ‘Laughter is the best medicine’.

Yet even then, this kind of happiness can be so short-lived, can’t it? What we all truly need is a real, deeper, long-lasting joy that can withstand the ups and downs of life. And that for me is found in knowing Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I may not smile all the time or even be happy all the time. But beyond that, there is a deep joy and peace in my spirit that no one can take away. And that surely is the noblest thing in the world to share with others, don’t you think?

 … do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Read Full Post »