Does This Blog Make You Happy?

Does this blog make you happy? I am so worried someone might not like it. I mean, what if I offend someone or say something wrong? Maybe I should just stop writing? Do the people that read it think I am weird or trying to be too smart? Oh, the pressure s suffoctating. What do I do?

There is a universal struggle for people to want to please others, but it looms large in Christianity. I think we all struggle with the desire to please people, some more than others, but it is especially apparent within the church.  I wish I could say I have never made decisions based on what other people might think, but alas, I have. In fact, this past Sunday was the closing of a weekend for the youth in our church, which meant I could go causal and wear a T-shirt. I thought about throwing on flip-flops and some holey (not to be confused with “Holy”) jeans, but thought better of it, wondering, “Will people be weird if I wear holy…I mean holey jeans to church?”

So is it wrong to want to please others? Why do we try and make other people happy in the first place? Does it matter what other people think of us?

I think it is healthy to want to see other people be happy. Otherwise you are the cantankerous creep that no one wants to be around. Nobody wants to be the guy that people hide from in the grocery store. But it is important for us to remember that we cannot make other people happy. We can do things that bring other people pleasure, but we cannot make them happy. Happiness is a choice that we choose. There are some people that we can jump through flaming hoops for and they will never be happy. Why? Because they are choosing to be unhappy, and it has nothing to do with who we are or what we do.

Also, it becomes a problem when trying to please others becomes exhausting or debilitating for us. I have seen people that spend all their time trying to please everyone in their life. Give it up. It can’t be done. Trying to keep everyone happy is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree.

So why do we expunge so much energy at times trying to make other people happy? I think the main reason is because we want to be liked and not judged or looked down on. The truth is, some people will like us and others will not regardless of what we do. This is just how it is. Everyone has their critics.

It definitely matters what other people think of us, which is why we should live with integrity, honesty, and transparency. You see, often people pleasing involves doing something that isn’t real to make other people happy. We do things that are not consistent with our character or how we act in our private lives to please other people. Another word for this is hypocrisy. Wouldn’t it just be better to be real with other people than to try and please them with dishonesty? The people I admire the most are those that are consistent across their private lives and public lives, from one friendship to another, and within church and outside of church.

But the biggest problem with living our lives for the concern of others is that it steals from us. It robs us from focusing on the biggest thing in our lives that matters, pleasing God.  In Galatians 1:10 the Apostle Paul drives this point home. He says, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” I find that when I am worried about pleasing other people there is little time for me to worry about what pleases God.

If we feel we are truly in the center of where God would have us then it really matters little what other people think. If we are living lives of integrity then that will eventually become evident when people examine our image. If we are living with transparency then people can make an honest evaluation of whether or not that would like to spend time around us.

We can’t make everyone happy. So why exhaust ourselves trying? As Aristotle said, “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” Let’s enjoy the lives that God has given us. Let’s live in freedom. Let’s focus on pleasing the One that matters. I think if we do, everything else will line out.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

What are some ways we try to please people? Let’s talk about it!

6 Comments

  • We say yes yes yes and over extend ourselves to the point of frustration.

  • efchristi says:

    I would like to approach this from a different angle, if I may – Acceptance. I think we do much of the things we do in order to be accepted into the group.

    You, Josh, are extremely bright and your writings reflect it and I am sure Devon to just, if not more, intelligent. I see this in how you write and talk about your family. But, that is beside the point. Your example of what to wear this Sunday, flip-flops, holy jeans and a tee shirt compared to dress slacks a shirt and maybe a tie. Wondering what the congregation would think of how you were dressed? No – it is how would it be accepted. I think they would accept it either way, though the youth would like to see the flip-flop get-up.

    We, as humans, struggle most of our lives trying to be accepted as a person, unique in our own way and yet be the same as them. Is it an effort of futility or is it really something important?

    Remembering back when I first started attending school off the reservation, I found it was very hard to find and make friends. I was uniquely different because of my dress, thoughts and ideas. I was not invited to join any fraternity or study group or invited to any parties. Not because I was considered a ‘geek’, though my IQ is 158, it was more because I was an outsider, I looked different. Things became easier as I changed my dress, answered questions in class (everyone started asking me for help), and eating where the ‘crowd’ ate. I became accepted as I changed my act to be more in tune with those around me. This may be a bad example as why we do what we do, but I think it points out one of many reasons we act like we do. That was 50 years ago.

    Today, I see a lot of the same things happening in our church, the ‘in group’ all dress alike on special Sundays, the older folks still dress for church and the rest are a mix of both. For the record I am in the older group. No on comments on dress and everyone seems comfortable with who they are.

    I stopped trying to please people a long time ago, I found I am happier trying to keep my family happy. I live for God and family, in that order and am still considered an outsider by some folks, but I am happy. I will step in and offer help when I see people in over their heads, and will ask for help when it is obvious to me I can’t do it alone. I have been told my outlook is unique because I don’t wait until I’m asked before stepping forward, but I think it is a good thing. I am blessed everyday!

    Please forgive my rambling!

    Walk daily with God at your side!!

    Ed

  • […] Here is a blog talking about “People Pleasing” CLICK HERE […]

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