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By Lysa TerKeurst

Read Galatians 1:10

Hello, my name is Lysa and I want people to like me. So, I will sometimes say yes when I really want to say no. And when I do say no, I sometimes worry about how much I’m disappointing that person.

I would much rather write this blog in past tense. Like, “I used to struggle with this but I’ve really matured past it all. So, let me share how I bravely say no and never fret over that decision.”

But this isn’t a past tense issue in my life.

Though I have gotten better, I still have quite a ways to go. When I wrote Unglued, I confessed how hard it is for me to be honest with some people. My tendency to just stuff and smile has at it’s root, this desire to be liked.

No matter how I want to spin what this is, I have to call it people-pleasing.

It’s part of my DNA to love others. Love them and not disappoint them. But I have to realize, real love is honest. Real love cares enough about other people to say no when saying yes would build up a barrier in the relationship. Real love pursues authenticity rather than chasing acceptance.

So here’s how I’m challenging myself to break free from people-pleasing…I have to make peace with these realities:

* I am going to disappoint someone.

Every “yes” will cost me something. Every “no” carries with it the potential for disappointment.

Either, I will disappoint this person by not meeting the full extent of their expectations, or I will disappoint my family by taking too much time from them. Do I wish I could say yes to everything and still keep my sanity? Yes! But I can’t. So here’s how I will say no:

“Thank you for asking me. My heart says yes, yes, yes-but the reality of my time says no.”

A good verse for this is Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

* I must pause before giving immediate answers.

Sometimes it might be realistic for me to say yes, but I’ve learned to let my “yes” sit for a spell. Pausing allows me to assess how much stress this will add into my life. The person asking me for this favor probably won’t be on the receiving end of my stress. It’s the people I love the most that will start getting my worst when I say yes to too many people.

So, here’s how I will give myself time to make an honest assessment:

“Thank you for asking me. Let me check in with my family. If you haven’t heard back from me by the end of the week, please connect with me again.”

A good verse for this is found in Proverbs 31. Tucked between all the responsibilities she has is a verse that reveals her attitude. Proverbs 31:25 says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” What this says to me is she doesn’t set her heart up to dread what lies ahead.

* Make peace with the fact some people won’t like me. In an effort to keep my life balanced, I will have to say no to many things. If someone stops liking me for saying no they’ll eventually stop liking me even if I say yes right now.

There are some people I won’t please no matter how much I give. And some people won’t stop liking me no matter how many no’s I give. My true friends are in that second group and I love them for that.

Here’s a great verse for this: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ,” (Galatians 1:10).

Now, I want to hear from you. Do you have some people-pleasing tendencies you know you need to work on? Or, have you discovered some things you’d like to share to help those still working through this?

I’d love to hear from you on this topic today. Let’s chat it up in the comments below.

And if you happen to live in city where there’s a K-LOVE radio station, I’ll be on the morning show today from 9-11 am EST and tomorrow from 7-9am EST. We’ll be discussing Unglued and taking callers. I’d love to hear your sweet voice.

But if you need to say no to me, I’m all about that. I will clap my hands and be so proud of you. See? We’re making progress on this people-pleasing thing together.



Comments
Posted by Elizabeth 9/4/2012 10:57:00 PM
At this moment,I thank God this is the deepest thing that cuts through the reality of my life right now. I've gotten to the point of saying no sometimes, but it is with anger because I feel guilty, which makes the other person just attack me with statements about how much more tired they are. For example, I was just asked to do something and I was so tired I wanted to pass out. Even though I said, I was about to pass out, I continued to say forget it, I'll just do it. It is this fear that keeps me saying yes when I mean no. And truly at the receiving end of suffering burn out is not just me, but my kids who have this grumpy bitter angry mom. I became a stay at home mom with the vision of loving them to maturity as a Proverbs 31 women. What has gotten in the way is that I have too much obligations, esp. from neighbors and family, which feels worse to say no to relatives b/c of the verse in the bible. This is real problem for me although I've grown in this area. I am printing your article as a reminder for helpful tools on how to say no and not feel guilty.
Posted by Mark 9/5/2012 3:47:00 PM
Great article I need to memorize this one. Thanks
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