People-Pleaser

When I was younger, my mom told me I was two faced.

Well, kind of.

I would say one thing in front of one, and a different thing, in front of another when it was of the same matter. You know then, I didn’t really agree with what she said but now I see that it played out throughout my high school years. Behind the backs of school authorities, I would say good things but bad things as well, so I couldn’t be the odd one out. It seemed to be the in-thing to complain every time about life in school and so I joined. We would all gist, laugh and mock our stressful and ‘hated’ lives in school. But when called in front of the authorities, I would prim myself up and say all they needed me to hear, and sincerely, I meant most of it, if not all. I loved the authorities, I truly did. Well, I loved some of them. They loved me and hardly did me any bad, except correct my like their child, when they felt the need to. But not everybody loved this golden child that I was portrayed to be. Granted, I was probably one of the roughest and most playful child you would have met, and that earned me the i-don’t-care attitude, but people still loved me in that I was respectful, and studious, regardless of all those other bad traits. And so it didn’t really bother me. But not forever. One of the authorities I loved suddenly told me I had changed, and not in a good way.

In year 10, the matron of my school suddenly said I had changed and I was veeery confused. Me? Even though I still show you respect? And try to behave myself around you? Nah, I wasn’t having it. It bothered me. It made me start harboring hard feelings for her, but I hardly ever showed it. Well, in front of her, that is. Lord, the amount of times I insulted her behind her back, aches me now and even did then, although I wasn’t saved. I would always think, you know she’s an old woman. So how can you be saying these things about her? It will all come back to your children o. You better stop. And so these thoughts drove me to reduce insulting her or completely avoid it, even.

I’m telling y’all, no matter how many times I tried to actively please her, going the extra mile, I believe nothing changed. Her heart remained the same, or so she made it seem. Because she still kept repeating the changing thing. And so I gave up. I still respected her, still passively kept trying to be on her good side as I would do usually, and that was it. If she still thought they way she thought, then there was nothing I could do.

And now that I think of it, it also played out in my relationships. Even though I was uncomfortable about an issue with regards to someone close to me, I wouldn’t talk about it. I’d keep it in. I didn’t want to cause a rift, although it bothered me so badly. It would all pile up and I’d kinda explode. But ultimately, things are talked through and resolved, sometimes. I’m not even gonna lie, I was kind of envious of my best friend in high school. She did whatever she felt like, not even caring what anyone thought yet she was loved by everyone generally. Well, not really by all the authorities, but basically everyone else though!

Now past forward to now that I’m saved, I notice things are different. At first, when I begun to write this post, I thought even now that I’m a Christian, I still try to please everyone, making sure they like me. But I realized that that’s not true, with the more I spoke about this issue to people in church today. Even though they didn’t mention these things to me, thoughts just kept coming to my mind trying to show me that I am now a different person. I saw that if it was true that I was still trying to please people, as well as God, then I would personally message Christians particularly when I want to share truth from the Word. If it was, then I wouldn’t even bother sharing my faith to Muslims. If it was, then I wouldn’t post truths that debunk other religions or practices that stray from the truth, on my social media platforms. If it was, then I would not have left my previous church, although it was a very hard thing to do. If it was, I wouldn’t have shared the gospel with those who were my friends before I came to Christ.

But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 ESV

And yeah, I still say the things I’m supposed to say, but there’s nothing wrong in that, so long as it’s truth and not against scripture. You’re looking dazzling? Then sure, why not spice up my comment under your post? You’re going through a hard time, I will encourage you with scripture. But it’s hard though, with an unbelieving friend. When they’re going through stuff, at times I fall short and cower back into the person I used to be. Just so they don’t stop counting on me, let me give them the advice they want to hear, then let them watch my life and see how I deal with situations like these and take note. Ha, what a joke. But God, I will hold fast to You!

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Matthew 6:24 ESV

But I do admit again, there are other times I feel that people-pleasing side of me showing again. I compliment some acts or behaviors that I don’t even believe is right. My conscience won’t be at peace with it, but just for the sake of routine, I’d do it anyways. And before I was saved, and during my legalistic phase, I would hide the things I felt or did, so people’s images of me wouldn’t get tainted. Even though some ate me up and I seriously needed help with them, I wouldn’t talk about it. And the one time I spoke about it to someone close to me, as a non Christian, I received an equally sinful advice to go about it. But I listened to the person because where else; how else? All other solutions proved futile, time and time again. And even afterwards when I was legalistic, I would always repeat that Christ is sufficient for me, and I did not need to let any other Christian know what I was going through because perhaps the sin I was struggling with was a taboo to be struggling with. Yes, Christ is sufficient for me but biko*, hasn’t my God blessed me with people in Christ for a reason? And now that I think about it, I viewed sin higher than God. I viewed my works more powerful than the grace of God. Oh how I thank God that this wall began to break down last year.

Last year, when Christ brought me to trust in Him. Last year, when Christ begun a mighty work in my life, perhaps even before then. And Last year, when He brought me to a family in Christ, the bride of Christ that He used to show me that we all struggle. Christians are not robots. We have feelings too, we have issues as well. But the difference is, we lean on Christ for our solution. We desire to do this, and even this as well as the action to lean on Him, was worked by Him. We do nothing good on our own accord because we’re dead without Him. I was dead in high school. I truly was. But Christ did not give up on me. He watched me. He saw me get lost. He saw me wander. He took me and washed me clean. He gave me a clean slate. He promised to change me. He promised to give me a new heart and a new spirit. And I do not know exactly when it started, but I know I am not who I was last year, who I was in high school and who I was before then. I am a changed person, who’s still changing.

I realize that now that there was no need for me to be envious of my best friend then. But I wasn’t a Christian that I professed to be, so I understand why I would have been envious. However, now as a true Christian, I realize I live for others, so I indeed should be mindful the way I walk, lest I make any one else stumble, or stray farther away from Christ.

Ha, more realizations and realizations. God is good. I don’t know how He does it guys and I’d never fully understand it but I know He is good! And after church service yesterday, the fact that God is good, holy, all powerful and merciful got stamped in me all the more.

Seeing my life now as a living testimony that the Lord has changed so far, is giving me confidence that He will finish the work that He has started in me. Oh how I cannot wait to stop having to feel the need to please any other person apart from God! I cannot wait to fully feel that desire to serve God solely and do it wholeheartedly, without wavering.

When Christ returns!

But till Christ returns, I will keep leaning on God to grow that desire in me to seek and do His will continually, above any other person’s.


*biko – ‘please’ in my language, igbo.

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