Daily Threads

People-Pleasers Anonymous

Welcome to People-Pleasers Anonymous

Hello, my name is Dell and I am a people-pleaser.


Yes, again today we are talking about me. I expect this to be uncomfortable to painful from beginning to end. If you think you are sensing that I am squirming in my chair – you are sensing correctly!

Have you ever done something for someone and then gotten angry because they did not show the appreciation you were expecting? Do other people have the power over you to make you feel bad about yourself? Does it bother you greatly when you know someone doesn’t like you or is unhappy with you?

If so, you are probably a people-pleaser. Want to get free of that? This is a good place to start!

Matthew 25:21 ESV

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”

Different View

We are taking a little different view of this verse than the one you usually hear:

  1. From the perspective of the servant, what do you think his mindset was as he invested the talents and made such a great return on them?  His mindset was to please his master and use the talents wisely and beneficially for the master, right?
  2. Whose approval was he going after? He was definitely going after the approval of the master.
  3. Was he concerned about what his peers thought of him as he went about his master’s business? No. If he had been, he probably would have held back and not have been so bold with the talents for fear of their disapproval or jealousy.

My Struggle

As a servant of God, I think that seeking approval of others is my biggest struggle. I really want people to think well of me. I desire this for the glory of God, but it gets out of hand and is more often about me than Him.

People in Authority

I struggle most with the people who have authority over me. My boss… my husband… my parents (yes, I am an adult but I am still their kid)… even my pastor.

When I know I have missed the mark with these people, I have a very hard time keeping it in perspective as a woman after God’s heart. I often lose sleep worrying about it. I get really distracted and angry with myself and them sometimes. My self-talk sounds like this: “I can never do anything right.”; “I am sure he regrets giving me that responsibility.”; “I stink at life!”;  and “I will never get this!!”

It just makes me feel awful about myself. Can you relate with me at some level? 

A Faithful Servant

We do need to be faithful servants and do our work as unto the Lord. No doubt about that. The person who is in authority over us is not the Lord, but just another person. I get that out of whack sometimes… no, often.

In My Face

This problem has really been in my face today. Yesterday was one of those days when I let this get all out of whack, and what I ended up doing was putting a heavy burden on someone else to make me feel good about me.

It was not even so much a massive failure that I was chewing on but just feeling yucky about something and looking for that other person to build me up. I wound up putting it all on the other person and making it their fault when in reality the fault rested at my door. Why is this a problem?

God vs Other People

God is clear in His Word that we are to go to Him for approval and worth, not other people. If I am consumed with what other people think about me, then I am putting God in second place instead of first. He wants and deserves first place on my list of who I want approval from. He is my Maker, my King, my Lord, and my God and He should ALWAYS get first place.

Let’s look at our verse:

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”

This is a parable that Jesus shared. He was relating it to our true Master – God.

A Good Soldier

Years ago, I went to a church where we would have different people share/preach in our Wednesday night service. There was a dear elderly lady, Mrs. Bea, who would share about once a month. She was a soldier in the Salvation Army, as well as our church, and had been for many, many years. She would share what was on her heart and then in the area of application, she would talk about how she could hardly wait to see Jesus face to face and that all she wanted to hear Him say was, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

A Daily Goal

That was the cry of her heart every day that I knew her. She loved the Lord with everything she had and she wanted everyone to know Him. I think it was a conscious goal at the beginning of each day, that at the end of the day, the Lord’s response would be “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

May it be my daily goal too! If I am so concerned with what He thinks about what I do, what others think will just be on the peripheral.

On into the verse:

“You have been faithful over little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

So as we seek to glorify and please Him, He will give us more opportunities to glorify and please Him!

That last sentence in the Amplified Bible:

“Enter into and share the joy – the delight, the blessedness – which your master [enjoys].”

What a glorious opportunity we have in this brief life, to please our wonderful beautiful Lord. May our hearts deeply desire pleasing Him above and in front of all else!

Things to Ponder:

  • Do you struggle with wanting please people more than wanting to please God?
  • Which people do you find this with the most?
  • Do you need to redefine your list of who to please first?

Go Deeper Today:

John 18:12-18




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