Should I say yes or no? Overcoming People Pleasing

Faith, Relationships

This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am glad to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers.  To learn more and join us, click here.


ripcurrentofpeoplepleasing

“You know you’re caught in the rip current of people pleasing when you dread saying yes, but feel powerless to say no.” -The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst

Hi, my name is Theresa and I am a people pleaser. The hardest thing for me to do is say “no” to a friend, to a family member, to a leader, to anyone. I will beat around the bush as long as I can to avoid saying no. I’m not sure where this bad habit came from, but I have learned that it doesn’t make me a nicer person compared to the person who can say no, it makes me a stressed out crazy woman!

People pleasing, I believe, comes from a place of wanting to be liked and accepted. Desiring to please people at any cost can leave us empty very quickly. There have been many times when I knew I should’ve said no but felt like I couldn’t. The anxiety that settles in my heart knowing I might have disappointed a friend is something I struggle with to this day.

I would be lying if I said that I’ve completely overcome my need to please, but I am working on getting better at it. Living a life surrendered to God was difficult for me growing up, because I felt I had to be accepted by people and many of the people I decided to hang with were doing the opposite of what a God-fearing person should be doing. That led me to make decisions that ultimately drew me away from God. Experience has taught me that being accepted, people pleasing at any cost, wasn’t worth jeopardizing my relationship with God. He was the only One I had to please, and I was already accepted and loved by Him, no matter what I did or didn’t do.

Believing that you’ll be more loved, more favored, more welcomed because you say yes to someone’s request or someone’s party, is an unhealthy and erroneous way to live. If your friend or relative will love you less because you declined a request or invitation, then they’re not a good friend anyway. Over the past couple of years, I have learned that saying yes to the right things will set me up to have a more fulfilling relationship with God and with people. If I say yes to every project, every meeting, every outing, every opportunity, I won’t have time to hear God and do what He is calling me to do.

Oh and not to mention, I’ll drive my husband crazy with my long list of to do’s because I wasn’t able to say no. (Side note: it’s funny how we want to blame our husbands for not being able to keep up with us, yet we’re the ones exhausting ourselves and going crazy with our extensive list of tasks. They weren’t asking for this; we did this to ourselves, ladies.) At the end of the day we must learn to distinguish what our motives and intentions are when we say yes. Is it to impress others or to impress God? Is it to get accolade or to serve God and others? Also, are we prioritizing the things God has called us to make first? Like our spouses, our family, and our alone time with God. We should ask ourselves, “Is this ‘The Best Yes’ I can give my friend, is this answer a genuine ‘yes’, or am I overcommitting and giving them a yes disguised as a no?”

By declaring God’s truth that says, “I am accepted, I am loved, I am enough”, I am overcoming the need to please people. Discovering what God says in His word about me and what He has called me to do as His follower, helps me keep my motives and true intentions in check. Also, by implementing practical steps like giving myself time to think of my response (yes or no), having a max amount of projects I allow myself to take on, or asking my husband for his opinion before making a decision, I am overcoming my need to please.

How are you learning to overcome people pleasing?


New York Times Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst has written a new book about finding your Best Yes. Many call this book “inspiring” and “fabulous.”  I call it a game-changer.  You can grab a copy at http://goo.gl/ZFUZbD

My Declaration

Faith

MyDeclaration
I am accepted
Even when I feel left out, even when I’m excluded, even when I feel rejected, I am accepted because God has already accepted and redeemed me. I belong to Him and I belong in His Kingdom.

I am loved
Even when I feel unwanted, even when I feel alone, I am loved with a crazy and unconditional love by God Himself. His love for me is deeper and wider than any love I desire here on earth.

I am forgiven
Even when I’m reminded of the past, even when the enemy tries to bring up my mistakes, I am forgiven by God and when He forgives, He also forgets.

I am enough
Even when I feel less than, even when I feel intimidated, even when I feel like I’m not skinny enough, even when I don’t feel pretty, God broke the mold when He made me. I am made in His image and He says I am wonderfully and fearfully made.

I will sleep in peace
Even when my anxious thoughts start to race, even when I’m afraid, even when I’ve had nightmares, even when I’m worried of tomorrow, My Lord gives me rest and His peace that surpasses all understanding will fill me with comfort.

I am not afraid
Even when I try to shrink down, even when I’m tempted to back down, even when I’m tempted to say no to an opportunity, even when I feel like I can’t take on a new endeavor, even when I feel my dreams are too crazy to believe, God has not given me a spirit of fear. He calls me to be bold and to be a light in the darkness. He calls me to speak of Him and spread His good news to the world.

My dreams will come to pass
Even when it seems like I failed, even when I don’t see any progress, even when people say negative things, even when it seems out of reach, The Lord says He gives me the desires of my heart. God says he made me with a purpose and has called me to do what only I can do.

What are you clinging to and declaring over your life?

The Key to Finding Peace

Faith

thekeytofindingpeace_artwork

This past month I’ve been learning more in depth about prayer. I have the privilege of leading a small group of young women during the mid-week service at the church I attend and in this group we have discussed and shared about praying to God.

Talking about praying and actually praying are two completely different things. I don’t think we really know how vital prayer is in our lives, until there is nothing left to do but pray.

More than anything I’ve learned that there’s a certain posture you must take when it comes to prayer. It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

You must be humble yet bold. You must come with an open heart yet stand firm on what you’re believing for. Prayer, while it can be intimate and sacred, should be a time when you fight for what you believe.

One of my biggest struggles is trying to find peace. I get so caught up in the demands of life and on my own plans, that I leave no room to find peace and quiet. In times when I should be diligent to seek God in prayer, when I feel like peace has run out, I try to sweep my anxiousness under the rug.

Isn’t that exactly what the enemy would want us to do? Let our worries and anxieties get the best of us, so that we stop connecting with God.

I’ve discovered that the longer I wait to pray, the more difficult it becomes to verbalize and admit what’s going on in my heart. The longer I wait to let God in, the harder it is for me to open up.

Why must we wait to be exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually to ask for peace? I believe deep down inside we know we play a part in finding peace. We must turn towards God and quit trying to do it on our own. When we pray we remind ourselves of who God is. Prayer is a tool God has given us to discover and enjoy His peace.

Are you out of fuel? Do you feel empty and in need of refreshment? Going to a spa will help, eating some chocolate will ease the anxiousness and talking to a friend might help at the moment. But nothing can calm our hearts like praying, “God you are my refuge, you are my fortress and I can hide under the shadow of your wing”.

My newly discovered recipe for peace is to pray fervently. To me, fervently means to pray without fear. Praying with fervor means to come before God unashamed and ready to fight against the opposition with His word. The posture I’ve decided to take is that of a humble warrior. I surrender to my King, and only to Him. I won’t surrender to anxiety, worry, chaos or any other dart of the enemy. I’ll fight humbly through prayer.


“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,” Psalm 17:8

Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2


How has prayer changed a challenging situation in your life for the better?

Has prayer helped you feel reenergized and refreshed? How?

What “posture” do you take when you are in time of prayer? How has it helped you connect with God?

Meaningful Relationships and Messy Homes

Faith, Friendship, Relationships

MeaningfulRelationships_Artwork_Insta

“A friend is someone with whom you dare to be yourself”. -Frank Crane

It’s interesting to me that many of the young women I talk to say they desire to have closer and more meaningful friendships. I can relate to that on many levels because it hasn’t always been easy for me to get close to my girlfriends. It definitely has taken me time and many failed attempts, to understand how to have meaningful relationships. What is it that stops us from making genuine connections with others? Is it our social media crazy society? Are we isolating ourselves more than we think? Or is it a lack of understanding on the importance of having relationships that mold us and empower us? Maybe we fear being rejected or neglected?

Perhaps it’s a combination of all those things. What I do know is that in order to form meaningful friendships you must be willing to be honest and vulnerable. You can’t expect someone to trust you, when you can’t trust them to see you for who you are.

I grew up in a household that was meticulously clean. My mom is the most organized person I know. She is so organized, that she could see the wrinkles underneath the comforter if I had made my bed in a rush. I never really understood what the big deal was until I started living on my own. The way you present yourself, your home, your work, says a lot about your character and what is important to you as an individual. When there are guests over our home, I make sure my home is clean, organized and welcoming. It’s part of being a good hostess.

But the problem begins when we get so caught up in perfection, that we forget to be ourselves. We forget that as imperfect beings, it is fine to not have it all together. How else will we be able to relate to each other, if we can’t let others see us when our “home” is a little messy? I admire people who can be themselves around anyone. I have friends that have taught me, just by being themselves, that it’s okay to be a work in progress.

If we want stronger and more meaningful friendships, we must be willing to let people see the ugly, too. Being vulnerable with others, frees them to be themselves as well. It’s risky to do that, but the rewards are endless.

A couple years ago, I was struggling with letting people into my personal life. I was very close to my sisters and family, but lacked other meaningful friendships outside of my family unit. My husband, who I was dating at the time, had friends in his life that he’d known for a very long time. He grew up with them and still had them in his life. I understood the importance of having women in my life that could relate to me and understand me on a level that perhaps someone many years older than me couldn’t.

There was a time in my life that I had many close friends. Lack of wisdom put me in situations that I didn’t know how to handle. Instead of being honest with myself and my friends, I isolated myself and lied to them about how I truly felt. Instead of breaking off a relationship, I stayed in it because I was too afraid to be honest and confront the truth. But how could I begin to let people into my life after being hurt and hurting others?

My sister told me something I will never forget: she said, “You just have to know who you can let into your home, who you can let onto your porch and who will simply walk on the sidewalk of your home”. She explained that the people you let into your home are people you can trust to see the good AND the bad. Those are people you know you can be vulnerable with and will not judge you or gossip about you. The people you let into your “home” are people who will tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. The people who you let onto your porch are people you are close to, but know you cannot share every part of your life with. For whatever reason, whether it’s for their sake or yours, you know it’s best to keep deep, personal matters from them. And the people on the sidewalk are people who you know will hurt and damage you. You will still love them and care for them, but they cannot have access to any of your personal matters. Those are people who are toxic and do not edify your life.

Slowly but surely, I have learned to be vulnerable and open up in my relationships. I’ve learned that being honest, as hard as it is, prevents you and others from being hurt. Being open also helps us determine who we can really trust as a confidant. Have there been times that I’ve been let down? Absolutely! But I get back up and keep being myself. Building meaningful relationships will force us to reveal our imperfections, our questions, our doubts and insecurities. We shouldn’t let the fear of being rejected or misunderstood, hinder us from nurturing the genuine relationships God intended us to have. The people God places in our lives, to make us better and mold us, will take the good and the bad. They will be willing to listen and speak in the appropriate times. We just have to be willing to open up our “homes” (hearts) to them, even when it’s a little messy inside.

So, what are some practical steps to take in order to having meaningful and genuine relationships?
1. Pray for wisdom to know who are the people in your life that you should be in your “home”, your “porch” and your “sidewalk.
2. Be willing to show your true friends who you are. Don’t hide the truth about what’s going on in your life. Allow them to BE a friend. Many times God uses the people around us to speak truth into our lives.
3. Schedule time to hang out with your friends. Reach out to them regularly and make sure they know you care about them and what’s going on in their lives.

“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” Proverbs 18:24 MSG

“A spoken reprimand is better than approval that’s never expressed. The wounds from a lover are worth it; kisses from an enemy do you in.” Proverbs 27:5-6 MSG

Have you ever experiences a time when you felt you needed meaningful relationships in your life? What are some practical steps you took to have them?

Confessions of a Newlywed

Faith, Marriage, Relationships

ConfessionsOfaNewlywed_1000

Marriage is like a mirror; it reveals who you really are.

Growing up as the youngest of four and having my parents to myself for most of my life, I have a tendency to be selfish and self-centered. For a really long time, it was all about me, my needs and my wants. God has been challenging me in this area through different situations and scenarios. I’ve cried, thrown tantrums and been mad at God for it.

God has tested me over and over to break that chain of selfishness in me, but I never imagined that marriage would be my turning point. Now that I am married, there’s no room for selfishness. I can’t be mad over stupid things anymore, I can’t think of myself first, and I can’t complain all the time when things don’t go my way.

I have to admit, the first couple of weeks after our honeymoon were rough. I had to get used to being the one serving and not the one being served. I had to get accustomed to sharing every space in our tiny condo. My bed wasn’t mine, it was ours. The bathroom wasn’t mine, it was ours. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I was tempted to be angry and lash out at my husband for the restless nights I had. Honestly, there were times that I was not a nice person to my husband. Edward was so patient, though. Thank God for a patient and loving husband. He knew I’d get out of my funk.

Seven months into marriage and I am starting to settle into my role as a wife and getting better at being selfless. Marriage isn’t just a paper you sign in order to dress like a princess for a day. It is a calling on your life that only God can anoint you for (1 Corinthians 7:7 MSG). I’m grateful that God chose for me to be a wife, because it has made me a better person. It has taught me that I don’t have to “stand up for my rights” as if they are being taken away from me (1 Cor. 7: 2-6 MSG). Serving others, specifically your spouse, is a high calling, not a degrading or lowly chore. Serving my husband has taught me that God desires us to serve Him and others, uninhibitedly.

“And because He knows where I need to be tested, challenged and stretched, He will not allow me to stay in my comfort zone.” -Chrystal Evans Hurst

My comfort zone is to be selfish. My comfort zone is for me to have the last word. But that’s not how God operates. He wouldn’t be a loving Father if He didn’t test us and challenge us to be the people He designed us to be. He knew I needed to humble myself in order to reach a higher level in Him. He knew what had to be broken in order for me to flourish.

Now I realize why marriage is a mirror of the relationship between Christ and the church. It reveals the heart of God and what Christ came to do on earth, and that was to serve and rescue others (Matthew 20: 28). We may not be able to rescue our spouses or those that we give to, but we can serve them and give of ourselves liberally. That’s the kind of person I want to see, when I look in the mirror.

What situation or life change, has God allowed in your life, in order to reveal areas in your life that need to be adjusted or dismantled?

How have the tests and challenges helped you grow spiritually?