Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22: FRUIT (I Didn't Think...I Was a People-Pleaser!)

Each day during The PURSE-onality Challenge: "A Holiday-Ready Heart" in October, Untangling Christmas by Karen Ehman and LeAnn Rice, will be our give-away prize!  

Enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of the blog post or click here to enter!

Day 14: TRUST (+ How Each PURSE-onality Can Get Day Overwhelmed)
Day 15: PATIENT (+ Practicing Now for Patience Then)
Day 16: NO RECORD (+ How to Have Grudge-Free Holidays)
Day 17: TRUTH (Each PURSE-onality's Take on Truth)
Day 18: PERSEVERE (+2 Cures for Procrastination)
Day 19: BLESS (Your Feelings Can Help You Choose)
Day 20: BUILDING (20+ Ways to Build with Words)
Day 21: HOLD (Hold Back, Let Go, and Step Up)

I thought I was “just” a recovering perfectionist.

Sure, when I launched the “Women Trying to Measure Up” survey in June, I included several other issues: performance-orientation, procrastination, and people-pleasing. 

But I knew they were other people’s problems, not mine.

So I was stunned to find that my readers' comments about people-pleasing (a “non-issue” for me, remember!)  centered on two words that totally describe me:  

resentful and bitter.

People-Pleaser: Who, Me?

I was baffled. 

My inner feelings fit the profile of a people-pleaser. 

But I did not see myself as a people-pleaser. 

At. All.

Oh, how I hated the idea of being a people-pleaser!

But I hated the idea of being a resentful bitter woman even more.

So I did a most dangerous thing. 

I prayed that risky prayer: “Lord, open my eyes. Help me to see what I’ve been unable (or unwilling) to see.”

The Loaned Thumb Drive

The very next day, God took me up on my offer.

It was Career Day at school, and my only task was to “monitor” the students who came in and out of my classroom to hear the two presenters. The kids were attentive; the realtor and architect were superb. 

I was under no stress. In fact, I was relaxed.

Then one of my students dashed into the room, gasping, “Mrs. G! My mom needs a thumb drive!”

Knowing his mother was presenting in another classroom, I reached into my purse, grabbed the first thumb drive my fingers touched, and tossed it across the room to him.

He thanked me.

I felt victorious. 

The entire exchange took less than 10 seconds.

The All-Important Thumb Drive

A few days later, I sat down at my laptop to grade my English II students’ Hero Presentation PowerPoints. 

I reached for the three thumb drives I knew were in my purse and froze when I only found two.

Oh yeah, I loaned one. 

Worry knotted one corner of my stomach.

No, I’m sure odds are in my favor. I still have two of the three thumb drives. The one I need is bound to be here.

Seconds later, I was reminded why I’m not a gambler.

I had two thumb drives all right, but my students’ Hero PowerPoints weren’t on either one.

So I texted my student.

Panic gripped my stomach, my back, and my neck when he responded, 

“I returned it the same day!”

The Lost Thumb Drive

I ransacked my purse. Five times.

No 3rd thumb drive.

Tore apart my desk at home. Searched the floors.

No 3rd thumb drive.

Did the same at school.

No 3rd thumb drive.

But I did find an un-named thumb drive that looked like mine; but it was 16 GB while mine were all 8 GB.

Oh yeah! I sold him a thumb drive just like this in August!

I texted to ask if he might have kept mine and given me his.

He promised to look again.

The next day, we confirmed that the un-named thumb drive was his.

But he had no idea where mine was.

“Sorry Mrs. G!”

Resentful & Bitter Me

"Sorry Mrs. G?"  

That’s it?  

Doesn’t he realize how important that thumb drive is to me?

I e-mailed his mother. Surely she, an educator, would understand!


From them.

But, oh, my inner dialogue was loud and outraged!
  • I can’t believe…
  • Of all the ungrateful…
  • I didn’t even think twice before I…

People-Pleaser: Yes, Me

Wait a minute.

I didn’t even think once.

When asked for a thumb drive, I didn’t even pause to think!

I reacted out of instinct to solve someone else’s problem without evaluating my own needs.

And now I’m mad at them?
  • Whose fault is it that I didn’t say, “Hang on -- let me check to see if there’s anything vital on here that I wouldn’t want to lose”? 
  • Whose fault is it that I didn't say, "If you can wait 5 minutes, I may be able to help you. If you need one faster, ask someone else"?
  • Whose fault is it that the fruit I’m currently reaping is a crop of resentment and bitterness?

Holiday Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is 
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, 
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 
Against such things there is no law. 
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

When I act on instinct -- 
  • without thinking
  • without praying
  • without listening for the Still Small Voice
--all I get is rotten fruit.

Resentment and bitterness are the counterfeit spoils of the fruit of the Spirit.

I want the sweet fruit of the Holy Spirit this holiday season not a rotten mess of people-pleasing.

Which means I need to practice now so that I'm ready then to pause, pray, perceive, and praise!

Your Turn:

  • When have you taken care of someone else's "need" without giving thought to your own legitimate needs?
  • How do you feel God calling you to please Him, not people, during the upcoming holidays?
  • Anything else on your heart!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wow! this really spoke to me. I KNOW I tend to be a people pleaser. And have a hard time deciphering if I am pleasing God or people. I think I was kind of "taught" in a way pleasing people is pleasing God.... If that makes any sense. Working on this in my life daily. Do not want to be bitter or resentful. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Amy -- Makes TOTAL sense! Many of us were taught that "pleasing" people is the same as LOVING people. Which is dangerous, because the flip side is that if people aren't pleased, does that mean we were unloving?

      But Jesus didn't say "please one another." He said, "LOVE one another." Sometimes they happen together. Sometimes, they do not.

  2. Ouch! I do know that I have a tendency to be a people pleaser although I am getting better about it or at least I thought I was until I read your post this morning. Very thought provoking.

    1. Lori -- Sorry for the ouch! Never intentional. It's not the pleasing that bothers me so much as the fact that I did not stop to think.

      A few days later, I loaned a thumb drive to a student and thought to myself, "I may not see it again," but I decided I could live with that. Good thing; she ended up withdrawing. I'm not kicking myself for that one because (a) there was no vital data on the thumb drive, and (b) I'd thought it thru and decided to do it anyhow. Was that the wisest choice? Perhaps not. But I HAD thought about it and chosen to loan. So I've let it go.

  3. I do that a lot too; I meet someone's "needs" and am bitter when it doesn't work out for me. After all, it "should" work out, right? Since I was doing something nice? I definitely need to work on my thought process.

    1. Okaasan --

      Indeed, it "should"!!! At least in peace-maker thinking, which I totally recognize! How dare others let us down when we're being NICE? Interestingly, I don't find Christ giving much instruction on being "nice." Loving, yes. "Nice"? Not so much...somehow, many women have gotten used to thinking that "being nice" is the same as loving others as Christ loved us, and it's not always true.

  4. I can't believe you are writing this and not me! I am so glad that I "found" you this weekend! I appreciate, word for word, everything you have said so far. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEED.

    Thank You! xo

  5. This is so me! I never thought I was a 'people pleaser' until you shared this with us. I am always trying to help others with no regard for how it will impact upon myself too. Bitter and resentful and taken for granted is what I feel lots of times.

    Holding onto the Word today and praying for God's help to think,pray and listen before I act. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Lisa Maria -- Glad I'm not the only "people pleaser? not me!" out here!

      So often, when I triage a situation that's gone bad, I discover that the whole thing was about reaction, my idea, my frustration...never even got close to finding out what God wanted me to do in the situation.

      Now it's tempting to be a self-protector, which isn't the goal either. Aiming to be a God-pleaser which means a lot of listening!

  6. Dear Cheri,
    I have fallen behind on the challenge, but I am trying to finish it up. I am a people pleaser. I have done things like you talk about and then been the loser in it all. It makes sense to think about it first, and not just jump right in.
    Thanks and God Bless,
    Kim in NC