Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Big Brave Adios to Fear & People-Pleasing

For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
 but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
 {NKJV}




Life's a series of choices, isn't it.  We get to choose how to respond to what's happening to us.  What to do with our emotions and thoughts.  And how we invest our time, energy, and whatever resources we possess. 

Consider some of the decisions you've made recently.  Big ones, small ones, whatever.  Were they well-informed and wise choices prompted by confidence, love, and sanity?  Or was fear calling the shots?

Our natural bent and unfortunate past life experiences easily combine to lead us to believe that something catastrophic is always lurking 'round the corner, that the other shoe's just waiting to drop, that a black cloud hangs overhead with lightening bolts aimed straight toward us.  If that's our story, then chances are that our laced-with-fear decisions will reflect those beliefs. 

And / Or ...

If we're obsessively controlled by what other people want / expect / demand, the choices that spring forth from their manipulation are probably going to end up falling flat or going nowhere fast.  And that simply makes the endless, vicious 'I am such a loser' cycle spin all the more, doesn't it.

We've recently been chatting back and forth about praying that God's will be done in our lives and knowing that something good is in the wind.  But beware!  Those two obnoxious fear and people-pleasing bugaboos are lurking in darkened corners, just waiting to jump out and trip us up every time we head forward in faith.

Make no mistake, they'll do their best to keep us from hearing the victorious freedom song that emerges when we truly desire to hear God's whisper, His direction, His purpose for our lives.  And you can be sure that the enemy of our souls would love nothing more.

Consistently living out 2 Timothy 1:7 is not an easy assignment, is it.  Fear is a tough taskmaster and an all too common default mode.  And people-pleasing always leaves us feeling 'less than' as our confidence continues to ooze away.

Fear?

  People-pleasing?
  
Which one trips you up?

And how do you close the door
 on these destructive decision-motivators?



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chatting with 

56 comments:

  1. Even knowing what these things did, and being able to change required loving guidance of a Godly counselor who helped me untangle where this came from in my experience and how the enemy used these experiences to hold me back. I am pretty sure I would not have changed these things on my own. now I recognize the voice that tells me lies and have the tools to help me respond in different ways. and every time I think "I got it" now, I have to practice the new way all over again.

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    1. Untangle is a superb word, Carol. How courageous you were to commit yourself to working through those experiences so that you could find grace and truth at the other end. I admire you so.

      Those lies are so easy to embrace, aren't they.

      {And oh ... I'm so happy to see you again!}

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  2. I love this, Linda! When we fear, we don't believe God is in charge.

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    1. Thankfully, He continues to show us grace upon grace ...

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  3. Very thought-provoking post, Linda. After pondering a bit, I would have to say that people-pleasing doesn't really impact my choices that much. As far as fear goes, when it comes to stuff I HAVE to do, I usually just plow through even if fear is lurking. I love 2 Tim. 1:7 and have gone there for courage and help many times. But if it's a calling thing, fear does get in the way of action for me. Especially when I don't know the outcome of something that will be a lot of work, I procrastinate on doing the work. I'm still trying to figure out how to close the door on that one ... :-)

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    1. Mmmm ... I hear ya', Lois. And when you do figure out that whole calling / fear / procrastination issue, please let me know. I'd be eager to hear what you've discovered ...

      Maybe your next book?

      ;-}

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  4. As a recovering "people-pleaser," this post sure resonates with me. I still want the people around me, especially my loved ones, to be happy, but I've learned I can't be the one to make that happen. They have to make changes from within themselves; no amount of bending over backwards will do.
    Thanks for the encouragement, Linda!
    Blessings!

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    1. You've spelled it out beautifully, Martha! We are each responsible for our own choices, our own happiness. When we learn that we're not everybody's keeper, those relationships often begin to get healthier and more mutually satisfying.

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  5. Fear is the one that trips me up the most. (Not that I'm above people-pleasing either, though.) But the what-if's can cause me unnecessary anxiety and sometimes even prevent me from doing something good.

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    1. Yes, yes. This I understand. For sure, Lisa!

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  6. Fear is my nemesis -- and I'm a worrier, so really tend to play things really safe. I've missed out on a number of things that I'm aware of, and probably a whole bunch that I'm not aware of, by pandering to my fear. Thanks, Linda, for always pushing and leading me into uncomfortable territory with your words.

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    1. Oh Michele ... I hear your heart. I sometimes wonder what I have missed out on along the way because of timidity's apprehension {i.e. low-grade fear!}

      I just hope the words offered here are not too terribly uncomfortable, but somehow are encouraging. Bless you for sharing yourself today ...

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  7. Actually, neither fear nor people-pleasing work on me any more.

    I'm out of society, and doomed to pain, and all that I thought was important awhile back is revealed as dust on the wind.

    I have to be attentive to the Almighty. And that's all I have to do.

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    1. You've taught us how facing death square in the eye shifts all our perspectives and recalibrates what we hold dear.

      Your legacy lives through the lessons you continue to teach, Andrew. I, for one, am grateful that God is letting you stay with us for a whole lot longer than you thought.

      Peace to you this morning ...

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  8. Fear does come from the past and lives in my present. Sometimes I lie awake at night attempting to manage my fears with a single phrase of prayer repeated again and again. It helps, but I'd like to move forward into a future with less fear and anxiety. Honestly, I don't know how to let the experiences from the past live in the past. Interesting to think about how I've grown from my experiences, but also about how my growth has been stunted by them as well. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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    1. You bring up an important point about anxiety, friend. I too, have struggled with the A word from time to time. It can be a dreadful place to live. There's a whole physical component with anxiety that can and should be addressed by a physician, and I can only encourage you to do so.

      Praying that you'll be able to find some sense of healing from those past experiences that continue to bring you fear. You are so brave to share here with us today, and I am grateful for your courage.

      Bless you, dear ...

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  9. Well said, Linda. I have often found that it is really primarily "the" issue of fear since people-pleasing often has at its root the fear of rejection or being abandoned and alone. Thoughtful post , this! Love to you, my friend!

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    1. Rejection, abandonment. Sadly, yes ... these are two of fear's huge tap roots. And it goes like this, 'if I dance to your tune, no matter how unhealthy or dangerous or ludicrous it is, maybe you won't leave me.'

      {sigh}

      You bring an excellent perspective, Pam. Always. So grateful to do community with you. Would have so loved to have you as a mentor back in the day ...

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  10. I think fear and people-pleasing go together for me. My fear is often about people's reactions, or even if they react well on the surface I worry about what they're really thinking.
    The only way I've found to beat it is if I'm sure the thing I'm afraid of is what God wants me to do. It doesn't take away the fear but I can usually push through it, sometimes only because the fear of missing out on what God wants me to do becomes greater.
    Thank you for making me think about this. I'm needing to push through the fear on something at the moment.

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    1. Hi Carly ... thanks for letting me know that this discussion is helpful for you. My purpose is to encourage us to go deeper in our walk with the Lord in every area of life ... not be a downer or a source of discouragement!

      I'm praying for whatever you're working through as I tap out this response. He is able, just as you so very wisely said ...

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  11. For me the key to overcoming these two is achieved by shifting my focus and trust to Him. Great conversation starter as always, Linda! Have a blessed week!

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    1. Yes, dear June, you're so right. There comes a point when we have a choice to make, to shift our focus, to place our trust.

      Oh, to do it sooner rather than later! And be prepared to repeat over and over again.

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  12. They both do just a little bit, Linda....if I had to choose though, it would be people-pleasing. Sometimes I don't trust my own ideas, preferring to allow somebody else to make the final decision as a means to avoid conflict. God's working on me!!! Thanks for the challenge this week:)

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    1. I love that you said that God's working on you, Meg ... and He's working on me, too! Isn't it a huge grace that He never gives up on us? I'm so very grateful.

      And it's so good to see you again, friend ...

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  13. These two certainly seem to be linked, don't they? Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the two.

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    1. Yep, these guys kinda come in tandem! Pam said it so very well 4 comments ago ...'I have often found that it is really primarily "the" issue of fear since people-pleasing often has at its root the fear of rejection or being abandoned and alone.'

      Couldn't have said it better.

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  14. Fear, worry, doubts, concerns about what others think of us, are all natural human emotions. But, they are also the playground of the devil.

    He knows our weaknesses and uses these, at the opportune time, to lead us away from God.

    " ... deliver us from evil ..."

    God bless.

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    1. Ah, yes, the devil's playground. Well said, Victor.

      Let's kick that bully outta here! We're long past done with him lurking around the edges ...

      In the name of Jesus we do so.

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  15. Linda,
    I think that in my life, I've been held back by both fear and being a people pleaser. Both really have a lot to do with control. If I carefully control things then what I fear will be less likely to happen. Likewise, if I please people I can control or keep conflict at bay. The less I try to maintain control and trust God to be in control, the less I seem to have fear and be drawn to being a people pleaser. Also lining up God's TRUTH beside the things I fear and the opinions others have of me. If they don't line up, then I can identify the lies and am better able to throw them in the trash where they belong. Still learning...great thought-provoking post!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. I'm still learning, too, Bev!

      What you said about those of us who love to attempt to control everybody and everything around us is so very true. What a waste of our precious time and energy ... and how potentially damaging to those relationships that we cherish.

      Thanks for adding to this conversation, Bev. You always bring a wise perspective to the table!

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  16. I can easily see how fear and people pleasing go hand in hand. We all want to be liked and valued. I have a tendency to withdraw when I think someone does not like me or go the other way and try to hard to please them. Aging has helped in both of these areas, aging in the Lord I mean. Some ladies and I are finishing up Beth Moore Breaking Free series...God helped me see again that I have been bondage to a certain person close to me. I think more about pleasing him then the Lord. Why, because I want his approval, there it is, plain and simple. I still respect this person and love them but they are no long my god. One never gets to old to learn again these great truths you have written about.

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    1. I love how you put that, Betty -->'aging in the Lord.' There's no one finer to converse with than someone who's been seasoned with age, grace, wisdom ... and a sense of humor, is there.

      And I'm grateful that you felt safe enough to share a bit of your story with us this evening ... and praying that in naming that bondage, it will be totally lifted from you.

      Praise God!

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  17. Fear and people pleasing can both control my life at different times. I have to be on guard and keep my focus on Him and know He is the only one I need to please and the other will fall into place.

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    1. You nailed it, Deborah ... we've got to be on guard at all times! The enemy trolls around, looking for whoever he can devour. He knows our what buttons to start pushing, doesn't he.

      I rebuke his efforts in the lives of every single person in this community. And I'm grateful that you've jumped into this dialogue. It's an important one.

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  18. Oh - waiting for that second foot to fall - I am breaking myself of that. I'm better at it now than I was. It's like living liberated from heavy, binding shackles! Recently, God has given me an "exam" - one of those life experience exams. Instead of freaking out,I've got this peaceful assurance that he has something in store that will just surprise the socks off me!

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    1. When we're used to freaking out, it's a great big thrill when we realize that we're responding in a healthier way.

      I'm with you, Maryleigh ... I just can't wait to see what He's placed right around the corner.

      It's so good to see you here!

      ;-}

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  19. People pleasing trips me up. I don't tend to give in to fear. But I do worry what people think, often forgetting it only matters what God thinks.. - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Yep, the whole people pleasing trap's a hard habit to break. I've been there, done that, Gingi.

      What can I say except maybe aging helps?

      ;-}

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  20. Both have controlled me a various times. I have learned it is a spiritual discipline to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and his calling for my life/season/day and that has given me more freedom from people-pleasing. My freedom from fear is a matter of daily surrendering my self, including my desire for certain outcomes and my attempts to control life to avoid what I fear. Holding all of life loosely before the Lord and trusting Him to know what is best and do what is right helps me win over fear. Great post!

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    1. Yvette ... you're right on. This is a day to day discipline ... and for some of us, a moment to moment challenge!

      Whatever, I'm glad you're here chatting around the table with us ...

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  21. Ah yes, fear is a big hairy beast in my life sometimes, Linda! And though it's not as obvious in me, so is people-pleasing. I've struggled a bit lately to leave something surrendered at the Lord's feet, but this is a great reminder of what that surrender involves, my friend. Thank you for always being a point of light that draws me closer to the Lord!

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    1. 'A big hairy beast.'

      {smile}

      Well said, Beth. There's nothing attractive at all about fear even though it's often our default mode.

      I'll remember the picture you've painted next time it comes to call!

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  22. Thank you for this post, Linda. It is so wise to step back and assess the reasons behind our decisions. Sometimes we go blindly on, but pausing to reflect on the 'why' behind our actions helps us to see where we need to rest on God more. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. I love that you've joined us, Carlie! Welcome ...

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  23. Linda, this was a great post. I think that I have made great strides on overcoming fear, but people-pleasing is an innate part of my nature that can often get out of hand. As usual, you've given me much to think about.

    Thanks for sharing at The Loft today.

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    1. You're right, Jerralea, these bugaboos so easily become innate responses, almost like a default mode. I'm so grateful God doesn't give up on us, but keeps wooing us to a better place ...

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  24. Hi Linda,
    Fear is such a stealer of our joy for life and ability to take on new adventures, and people-pleasing is its capable partner, isn't it? Even when I think I'm prepared for their crazy tactics, I still have to be on guard since they slither their way into my thoughts and then they're entirely free to roam around my life! Great thoughts as always, friend! Words to ponder for the week ahead!

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    1. Slither.

      Yuck.

      What an ugly term for a vicious reality, friend. I appreciate you calling it like you see it ... and as ever, you've nailed it.

      And yes ... what adventures have we missed along the way. This introvert knows that some glories have passed her by.

      {sigh}

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  25. Dear Linda,

    2 Tim. 1:7 is taped to my bathroom wall! And yes, God keeps calling me to greater and greater freedom but we must get to the root of where the fear came in and ask God to remove it. Thanks for the reminder :-) Hugs to you!

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    1. Absolutely, Dolly, there's usually a huge taproot. And by God's great grace we can name and unearth it so it flourishes no more.

      I so admire those who courageously reach out for help in going there. I've always been a great big fan of my counseling clients.

      Brave and strong they are ...

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  26. I have been known to get tripped up by both people pleasing and fear but most often it is fear. I am still working on overcoming fear but turning to God is where I find my strength. You know about my brave journey so facing fear is definitely part of that. Thank you for challenging us to look squarely at what holds us back.

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    1. You've been a light shining in the darkness, Mary. Thank you for sharing your journey along the way! Those of us who are fortunate to interact with you on a regular basis see how your faith is the source of your strength during change and transition.

      You're an inspiration, friend!

      I'm grateful you're in my world ...

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  27. Both have tripped me over the years. Fear was a big one when I decided to start writing for God. I feared rejection and almost gave up/in. "Is this Your will?" continued to grace my lips. His answer always solidly led, however. I simply had to recall it. Good post, Linda.

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    1. Wow, excellent point, Kristi. I hadn't thought of this in regard to writing, but it's true. Absolutely. Fear of rejection certainly has kept me from heading toward any kind of publishing route.

      You've enlightened me this evening ... and given me some food for thought.

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  28. "We get to choose how to respond to what's happening to us." - love this, Linda. This resonates with me. I struggled with fear for years and people pleasing somewhat too. I felt tormented and it was a long process of healing but it started with starting over; backing out of commitments so I could hear God right. From, there I was able to hear Him better and use wisdom with decisions that came my way thereafter.

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    1. Meg, for sure! We're so wise when we recognize that it's time to take a bit of a breather / a sabbatical / a time out, whatever we'd like to call it.

      It's during those times of silence and solitude that we are much more able to open ourselves up to hear God's tender voice, to experience His healing touch.

      I'm glad you've felt safe enough to share just a bit of your story, here. Thank you for taking that time ...

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda