Emotional health, Main, Spiritual Life, Women
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The difference between giving and pleasing


Recently, a group of women met in my home for a time of fellowship and  the topic of our conversation was about the difference between giving and pleasing.

I started out by asking this question: Is there a difference between giving and pleasing? Some thought there was a difference, while others looked puzzled.

In my life, I did not understand that there was a difference between the two, because they both look the same on the outside.

But there is big difference as they each come from a different motivation of the heart and knowing the difference will help us put in place the proper boundaries that we need to stay on track with our priorities and what is really important to us. 

I remember years ago, when my kids were still in high school, receiving a vision or mental picture of my life.

I was holding a basket of flowers in my hand as I was walking on a beach covered in small to medium-sized stones.  As I walked down this beach I was giving flowers from my basket to everyone on my path and my basket was empty in no time at all.

Of course everyone was so happy to receive a flower, and I was so distracted by their enthusiasm, I ended up tripping over a stone, losing my balance and falling.

This vision stopped me in my tracks, because I believed it was my life goal to give to everyone in my path, but the problem was motivation. I was giving out of my deep need to receive the approval of others and ended up being a people-pleaser instead of a genuine giver.

And, although giving and pleasing look the same on the outside they differ in this one key area.

Giving comes from a positive space of optimism, hopefulness, passion and gratitude. People-pleasing comes from a negative space of insecurity, doubt, worry, jealousy and not feeling accepted or approved by the people we so desperately need approval from.

When we are giving from a place of insecurity and a need for approval, we are doing it for the wrong reasons. People-pleasing drains us emotionally and distracts us from what is really important in our lives. People-pleasing disconnects us from your sense of purpose. We just blindly give and don’t watch where we are going and end up falling on our face and burning out.

We can’t give to everyone, because we will be quickly drained of our resources. We need to take care of ourselves, prioritize what is truly important to our well-being and stay on track with the unique mission and purpose that God has for each one of us.

People-pleasing pulls us out of alignment with God’s purposes for our lives: 

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Galatians 1:10

I read a post the other day from the Center of Mental Health in Great Falls, Montana about burnout that grabbed my attention. It shared the main causes for burnout and below are a few that they listed:

  1. Not knowing when to say no
  2. Not knowing how to say no 
  3. Prioritizing others over yourself
  4. People pleasing
  5. Superhero syndrome ( I can do it all)
  6. Having little control over what you do

I believe that people-pleasing  is a distraction that pulls us away from the things that are important to us and to God.

Giving from the right motivation of the heart will keep us on course and enable us to stay aligned with our unique gifting and purpose in the kingdom of God.

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