I’m a people pleaser. I’ve taken so many personality tests and on every single one, “people pleaser” never fails to make the list. I almost always play by the rules and I value doing the right thing. I am completely aware of the fact that I can never be perfect, but I’m one of those people who will try and get as close as I can. I hate messing up and making the wrong choice because I’m scared of having regrets. A lot of times, I wish life came with a set of step-by-step instructions so that I could make sure I make sure I’m not missing anything or making mistakes. Unfortunately for people like me, life is not like that. At. ALL. Instead of clear instructions, it comes with blurred lines and hard choices. It comes with many different paths that all look good enough to take.
Being a junior in college, I’m kind of starting to get to that point where I am questioning where God wants me in my life. I’m questioning if I’m in the right major, getting involved with the right activities, and making friends with the right people. And for me, being a people pleaser, my biggest fear at this point in my life is that somehow, I will disappoint God–that I won’t ever figure out his plan for my life and that because of that, I’ll miss it entirely.
This might seem silly, but it’s a real fear for me, and it’s a fear that was almost paralyzing to me, so much so that I was afraid to make any sort of choice at all for fear of making the wrong one. I knew that God never intended for me to feel like this because I know that my God is full of grace and love, but I was still afraid. But through the past few weeks of realizing and inviting God into this fear, I have learned a couple important things about pleasing God and following His plan.
1. Take it one day at a time.
I talked to a good friend and mentor about this fear that I had, and she offered me this piece of wisdom: “If you are looking and seeking Him out, then know you are on the right track.” This really opened my eyes to God’s heart for me. He isn’t looking for someone who knows their 5-year plan. He looks for the ones who show up and serve Him, love Him, and follow Him TODAY. You could be so focused on what you’re supposed to do for him a month from now that you miss His purpose for you today. So take it one day at a time. Work on knowing Him more each day. He’ll be pleased, I promise.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34
2. Don’t worry about messing up.
First of all, I want you to rest in this: God’s grace is undeserved and never ending. If we don’t deserve it, that means we don’t have to worry about pleasing Him to earn it. And because it’s never ending, we don’t have to worry about losing His grace because of our mistakes. There is never anything you could do that would take you out of the protection of God’s grace and love–remember that!!
Yes, God has a plan for our lives, but he also gives us free will, which means we have the freedom to make our own choices. This is where the worry about making the right choice comes in. But if we are taking life day by day with Him, we will know him better. It’s kind of like a friendship or a relationship–when you hang out with a person more, you get to know them more and more. Sometimes, you will even rub off on each other too. The same thing happens with God. When we take each day as an opportunity to know Him more, He starts to rub off on us, and then the choices we make start to line up with the plan He has for our life. So if you’re in a spot where you have to decide between a few things in life, know that if you’re after His heart, you’ll still be on the right track no matter what you choose. Isn’t that just so freeing?! I think so.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
3. Treat everything as a “yes” until God closes the door.
This doesn’t mean forget God and do whatever you want. What I mean by this is if you are taking it day by day with God, and you know that you have free will and are covered by His grace, then don’t be scared–be BOLD! That means if you can honor God through it, then make your choice boldly and run with it until God lets you know that it’s not a part of his plan! I think of my fear and of how many things I probably missed out on because I was afraid to make a choice. I think of all of the days I wasted worrying about what would happen years from now instead of living my purpose today! If you do make a decision that isn’t God’s best for you (and you will at some point), He’ll close that door. And when the door closes, don’t reopen it! Instead go back and make a new choice and run with it. He gives us confidence to be bold, so use it!
The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions. Proverbs 28:1
If you’re anything like me and you struggle with this fear too, or even just fear of the future or fear of disappointing others, I hope you will find comfort in these 3 helpful hints like I have. Know that the things youre feeling are normal and valid and that you’re not alone in them, but you don’t have to be stuck in them either. And most of all, I hope that you’ll live every day in freedom instead of fear. It’s way more fun that way 🙂