“We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” I Thessalonians 2:4b NIV
I’m a people pleaser. As a young child, my desire to “be a good girl” began a life changing pattern of needing to feel loved and accepted, no matter the cost.
This compulsion ruled my life for years until I realized that there was someone who didn’t need anything but my heart. That was/is God.
Some might say I’ve just shifted the focus of my compulsion, but I see and feel a clear division. In the human sense, people who try and manipulate are selfish and destructive. That coworker that asks you to take over a project when you are already overtaxed just wants to lighten their load, even if it harms your productivity. That predator who says if you really care about them, you’ll do what they ask wants only what they want. They don’t care about you.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20 NLT
But God never manipulates us. He never forces himself on us. He wants to be in our lives, but we can choose to accept or reject Him.
Do I still struggle with this? You bet! My human nature still desires to be accepted, but I no longer acquiesce to people’s manipulation.
Do I desire to please God in my daily walk? Yes! But not because I’m afraid He won’t love me, but because I know He does.