Sammy Rhodes has written a post that is good medicine for people like me: chronic (and often unsuccessful) people pleasers: Six ways to fight your approval idol.
It’s fantastic stuff. Items 2 and 5 particularly sing:
2. The pursuit of coolness and the practice of kindness are mutually exclusive.
Being a people pleaser means even when I’m doing something nice for you it’s really about me. Which is shorthand for saying, “I want you to like me and think I’m cool.” The way out of this is dying to what you think of me so I can begin to be kind to you in the ways Jesus has been kind to me. In the words of Mark Driscoll, “You’re not cool you’re a Christian.” Because Christians have died with Christ to being cool, we’re free in him to begin to be kind. The pursuit of coolnees feeds our idolatry but the practice of kindness starves it.
Emphasis mine. It hurts to read that first sentence, because truth hurts.
5. Live FROM your identity, not FOR it.
Maybe it’s better to make the distinction between identity and image. Identity is something given, fundamental to the way you see yourself. Image, on the other hand, is something you create, and is fundamentally about the way you want others to see you. The sin of our age is to live for our image instead of from our identity. Which is why Vaughan Roberts wisely warns us that“wholehearted commitment to Christ will not be good for our image.” But we have something better than an image. We have an identity in Christ that nothing and no one can touch. It includes words like “sons,” “daughters,” “servants,” and “heirs.” In the words of Aslan,“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve…And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.” You don’t have to be someone when you are someone.
Read the whole thing. Especially if you, like me, wake up to the monstrous idol of Approval every morning. Praying for 1 Samuel 5:4.