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  • Slavic Christians and people pleasing

    Dear Slavic Christian, when you seek man’s approval instead of God’s, you become someone you’re not. People pleasing binds you to an imperfect human, leaving you feeling stuck, afraid to disappoint, and confused because you never know what’s required of you to receive approval. 

    On the contrary, Christ uniquely created you for one thing: to love and be loved by Him just as you are…

    One idol of modern “religion,” evident in my Slavic Christian community is people pleasing. When we fear man instead of God, we replace the second with the first.

    The outcome?

    Misery, fear, shame, loneliness, resentment, bitterness, insecurity, despair, doubt, disappointment, low self-worth, a sense of rejection, even potential abandonment because the person we try to please may never accept us, etc.

    What is the cost of this behavior?

    Feeling like one is never enough. 

    This leads us to a lost relationship with our Creator. We took our eyes off Him and put them on one who was never supposed to take His place. Man did not die for you to live for him. Man did not create you for you to esteem him in such high regard. Man will seek to please himself before he pleases you, even if you feel this is not the case for the one you adore most. 

    This is a very tough pill to swallow but must be spoken about because too many people I serve in my therapy practice chase human approval at the expense of a lost sense of self. They lose and reject parts of themselves that were created to stand out uniquely and to bring their Creator praise. 

    Dear one, what have you lost in trying to please another?

    What have you gained?

    Was it worth the tradeoff?

    You may now be thinking, “What can be done if I have lived this way up to this point?”

    The answer is simple, yet it will require all of you. 

    Turn back to God and worship Him as He was meant to be: in an intimate, vulnerable, transparent relationship.

    What does this look like practically?

    Seek to please Him more than you please your spouse, your parent, your child, your friend, your pastor, those on your social media. 

    You may still be saying, “But how, Ilona?”

    By spending time in His Word, getting to know His heart and His plans for you in worship and in prayer in the secret place. By investing time with Him before investing it with those you love. 

    There is no perfect formula, He just wants to know if you’re willing to invest time and effort with Him the way you do with others you care about. 

    One more practical tip He taught me is to see man as my equal, not greater or less than me. I’m no better or worse than my neighbor; we both need Him equally. When we seek each other as such, we can serve Him together instead of competing against one another or feeling like “I can’t be as good as them because they are better Christians.”

    When we put things in order, security and healing in our self-worth can take place.