We place a lot of emphasis on appearances as a culture and society. It many ways, regardless of era, this has always been the case. Some of it stems from our own narcissism. Some of it from our own feelings of inadequacy. Perhaps it can be attributed to the influence of evil in the world. But in large degree it comes from a desire to be accepted. To be loved. And to be thought well of.
If we are not careful we can easily get caught up in the web of people pleasing. Saying and doing things primarily for the purpose of pleasing other people. Why? So that we ourselves can be affirmed. Validated. Looking a certain way. Dressing a certain way. Wearing the right clothes. Weighing the right weight. Being associated with the right people. Driving the right car. Living in the right neighborhood. We’re only fooling ourselves if we think that this sort of thing ends after high school. How many are so very caught up in pleasing others that they loose their sense of self? None of us are immune to the pressures. But what we do with them is what’s important.
Some are masters of disguise and at keeping up appearances. Somehow life behind closed doors can be accepted as a shambles, as long as no one on the outside knows. As long as it appears to others that we have it all together, somehow we can con ourselves into believing that our created fantasy is our reality, even though our true reality is nothing like it should be. When you really think about it, what kind of sense does that make? That those who are closest to me, those to whom I am most responsible, the family that I have a God-ordained connection to – can be falling apart and disintegrating, but, as long as those who I do not know well, those I am not responsible to, those who in many ways are relative strangers – somehow what they think of me is more important than those who are closest?
And in the process of it all, not only do we lose those with whom we are closest, we lose ourselves. A lostness of identity. A lostness of our sense of self. When this is the case, how can we possibly think that we are emotionally or spiritually healthy people?
Satan preys upon our sense of inadequacy. Upon our desire to be accepted. To be loved. To be thought well of. When we begin to seek these affirmations outside of Christ, Satan is there waiting to trap us. To trap us in the web of people pleasing. Ultimately, his goal is to trap us into finding our worth and value outside of Christ.
In the familiar passage of Romans 12 the Apostle calls for our “offering ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” Most often our emphasis is upon the call to discipleship and fidelity in our journey of faith. But there is a profound and innate need that is met when living a life of faithfulness before the Father. We are pleasing to Him. Pleasing to God. People pleasing only leads to frustration and a false sense of self. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of God and seeking to please Him in every aspect of life is the only true way to have peace and confidence within. Only in Him do we find our sense of self and sense of value. Everything else pales in comparison and leaves us searching for who we are.
Glory to God!