But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:4 ESV

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
— 2 Corinthians 5:9 ESV

“Are you happy at me?” This is a line from one of my favorite movies from a little girl who just wants to know her mom is happy with her. For as long as I can remember, that has been the cry of my heart. I want others to be happy, to be okay. I want to do anything within my own power to make that happen. This in and of itself doesn’t seem to be a problem. However, the desire to please others grew into a lifestyle of wanting to always do the right thing, make the right grades, say things that were always above reproach, be the best, try to keep people at peace, and above all else, never let others be disappointed in me, especially God. How stressful! How unrealistic! By the time I was in college, my perspective was totally out of whack, and when I received my first C in school, I truly thought I might have a nervous breakdown.

I remember calling my parents, crying and broken. Over the years, this “good” girl had placed herself on a pedestal that would inevitably crash. My freshman year of college was hard because of this unattainable goal of perfection and people pleasing, and at the time, a lifetime of always doing the “right” thing had become a god to me. I can see that now, but that realization came with lots of love, understanding, acceptance, tough talk, and the greatest epiphany of life in knowing that my calling has to be grounded in the truth that God alone is perfect. His ways are not my ways. He is always greater, and his unending, unconditional love isn’t dependent on my ability but on my humble broken heart that accepts his grace, love, mercy and forgiveness, because I am not meant to measure up. I’m meant to follow his lead.

My default is to be content and happy. That might seem like a weird way to describe a people pleaser and perfectionist continually in recovery, but I have always been someone who wants others to be at peace and to be happy. I guess that it is only natural that I am a problem solver by nature — a fixer, some might say. I think this is why I love to serve. I want more than anything to live a life that honors and glorifies God. In the words of Cody Carnes, “Nothing else, nothing else, nothing else will do – I just want you.”

It’s amazing the God perspective, love, peace and joy that overflow when we are doing the right things for the right reason. Acting and pursuing the passions of our hearts, walking into the steps God firmly plants for us, and seeking ways to look and live like Jesus allows that desire to please man to be transformed into purposefully living surrendered to worship and bringing glory to the Kings of Kings. In my heart of hearts, I know God has called me to make a difference, but that only comes from the difference he makes in me.

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
— Psalm 54:4 NIV

Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.
— Colossians 3:23 MSG