One of my guilty pleasures is taking online personality quizzes and reading articles about personality types and the theories about what motivates people in each category. I’ve taken countless quizzes, but one common theme in all of them is that I have a deep desire to feel loved and appreciated by others. This quality, both in myself and in other people, often has a tendency to cause a pattern of people-pleasing. In best-case scenarios, the craving for love can lead to sincere empathy for others. But unfortunately it can also lead to behaviors that don’t always line up with Jesus’ teachings.
I’ve found comfort in discovering I am not alone in my people-pleasing ways. For those of you who fall into this category, here is what I’ve learned about how to counter the negative effects of the desire to be loved by other people.
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1. Stop putting your value in the approval of others. Instead, seek God’s approval
The story of two sisters named Mary and Martha in the book of Luke perfectly demonstrates how twisted our priorities are on earth compared to the Kingdom of Heaven. Martha was frantically trying to entertain guests while her sister simply sat at the feet of Jesus, soaking up His presence. When Martha told Jesus to rebuke her sister for not helping her host, Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
It’s important to remember that while we might not always be praised here on earth for our devotion to Christ, Jesus is watching us and we will be rewarded in Heaven for seeking His approval rather than the world’s. In order to value God’s approval above others, we must: