I’m part of a Mom Bible study group this fall, and we are studying Kelly Minter’s No Other Gods study about the false gods in our life. I’m right in the middle of the study, but man, is it convicting.
Of course, most of us don’t have actual idols in our houses, like the ones that the Israelites had in their homes in the Old Testament. But we definitely still have false gods that we turn to for the security, value and identity we are supposed to be seeking for in God. The big one that I’ve heard about before was money, how we will do anything for the security that money supposedly provides, but she also touches on good things in our life that can turn into gods.
Which is where I felt the sting of conviction.
Because you see, I like to make people happy. I like to encourage them, support them, make them smile. I like to please them.
Pleasing people sounds good. What is wrong with wanting people to like you? With being kind to people? With serving other people sacrificially? Aren’t we suppose to think of others as better than ourselves?
But being a people-pleaser, to me, means being held captive by other people’s opinions. I’m not just sacrificing myself, but other relationships, especially the ultimate relationship in my life, the relationship with God. I placed the opinion of people above everything else and allow it to affect my decisions, choose my paths, and define who I am.
It has become so ingrained in my life, that when I started to see it for the idol that it was, I realized I don’t actually have that strong of an identity on my own. My confidence has been eaten away. My sense of worth is low. Frankly, I don’t have a high opinion of who I am. I’ve been relying on the opinion of others for that.
I also realized that being a people-pleaser is not just a victim mentality, but it is also quite self-centered. Other people’s actions and reactions are taken personally. I would look inward at ways I could improve or change, thinking it was to better myself as a person, but really it was to appease someone’s opinion of me.
I couldn’t look outward to helping other people because I was so dependent on their opinion. I couldn’t look inward to work on the very low self-esteem because it had been so long dependent on other people I simply couldn’t do it myself. I needed to go up.
God, the creator of the universe. The Heavenly Father who sent his son to die for a world that was deep in their own sin. I can only imagine how long he has been watching me suffer in this captivity, waiting for me to simply look up.
I need to go to him for my worth, identity, and security. He is the solid ground that I crave. As I’ve been reading through the Bible this year, I have seen a God who is desperate for his people to love him, not because he needs it but that he desires us. He created us, and he knows what we need, and he actually wants to give it to us.
We don’t need the opinion of others to drive us. But, friends, this is really hard. I’ve been doing it for so long in one way or another. I’m not sure how else to be. But I rest in the fact that God knows the way out. He separated the Red Sea for the Israelites, surely he can rescue me.
I don’t know how this will play out, what tests and trials are ahead. I’m afraid I will fail and turn back to the false gods with their false promises. Working through this study is helping, but ultimately, I know that I need to just keep trusting God, knowing that he will reveal my identity, worth, and purpose, all in his good and perfect timing.