The deepest truth of this verse finally sunk in this past summer. You cannot fulfill God's purpose in your life and become the person He created you to truly be when you're navigating your relationships as a "people pleaser."
Survivors of abuse subconscious minds are conditioned to constantly scan for even the slightest signals someone may be annoyed or upset, which in the past have been an indicator danger may be on the way.
So our flesh creates biological and mental responses to head off potential danger by immediately trying to please that person, thus ensuring safety.
These defense mechanisms become ingrained in our behaviors, present even in the most innocuous situations. (Which can make for some awkward interactions!)
When this happens, with the help of the Lord, we can use the opportunity to rewire our minds by taking our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).
First, we need to recognize our behavior for what it is, a conditioned response not likely based on a real threat. Take pause, breathe deeply to slow down the hormones and chemicals your body is releasing.
Then, redirect your mind by calling into remembrance whose child you are and imagine yourself safely nestled under His mighty wings.
Last, go on the offensive. Recite Philippians 4:8 in your mind. Tell yourself to think on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you”.
This verse will take on new meaning, as it directs your subconscious self to examine its motives. Is our reaction here aimed at pleasing this person - or pleasing God?
Training ourselves to interact in our relationships intentionally and purposefully to please God rather than people will foster healthy behaviors that result in healthier relationships and leave us in a much better condition to allow God's miraculous work to happen in us and through us.
I hope this encourages fellow people pleasers to challenge our own behaviors, and inspires everyone else to examine your own behaviors, asking, "Do I live to please people or God"? ... 💚
~ Jenny Russell