It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.
- Psalm 118:8
We all have a desire to make friends and deeper connections, but we sometimes catch ourselves wearing different masks with different people. It is not bad to want to make friends and belong; in fact, God created us with an innate desire for community. However, it is when we begin to concern ourselves with what others think, rather than staying rooted on who God says we are, that we begin to people-please and make idols out of friends.
I remember when I was in my undergraduate career at the University of Kentucky, and I was excited at the possibility of joining so many campus organizations and making lots of new friends. Many incoming freshmen viewed this new chapter as a time to reset or start over and make a new name for themselves. I got caught up in the idea, as I had been known as shy and quiet throughout school and was ready to be seen as fun, outgoing, and interesting.
I made lots of new friends at UK and I was able to come out of my shell and tune in to the part of me that got excited and talkative in meeting new people. However, I found myself constantly seeking validation from all of these new friends. I felt like I was always performing, trying to conform to every friend group and their interests and personalities. It was exhausting and difficult to keep up with the high expectations I believed these friends had of me.
For a long time, I did not realize I was a people-pleaser. I made friends easily and people liked me. In fact, I am glad that I am no longer shy and that I can be more open with people. Part of where people-pleasing comes from is feelings of inadequacy. We feel like we aren’t enough and so we seek others’ acceptance of us in order to make us feel whole. This is a lie from Satan. Colossians 2:10 says: “you are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” This verse tells us that God makes us whole through Christ and it is because of Him that we no longer have to seek validation from others.
Currently, I would label myself as a recovering people-pleaser. I believe God is still teaching me to trust in Him more than people, and more importantly, that I am fully known and loved by Him. He is the One that knows me the best and the most and it is ok if different people see different parts of my personality. I know that I no longer have to be a slave to pleasing people, but be joyful in knowing that the King of the heavens and earth delights in me all the time and I can be who He made me to be.
1. Are there people in your life you are seeking validation from? Why those specific people?
2. In what ways has God showed you that He fully knows and loves you?
3. How can you live differently knowing that God has already accepted you the way you are?
Father, thank You for loving me fully, knowing the parts of myself I want to hide. Help me to believe that I am enough because You created me whole. Thank You for providing me with relationships, friendships, and family who love me and want to know me. I want to live knowing I am already fully accepted by You and that I don’t have to seek validation from anywhere or anyone else. Thank You for teaching me to trust You more and choosing me to be Your child. I love You. Amen.
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