Faithfulness

From People Pleaser to God Pleaser!

People Pleaser: n. a person who spends a lot of energy pleasing others.

“I’m hungry could you get me something to eat?” YES… “I’m tired will go to the store for me?” YES… “It’s late but I really want to see you, will you come over?” YES… “Will you go shopping for me?” YES… “I have a bill due could you pay it for me?” YES

Hello my name is ______________ and I’m a people pleaser.  For me, this is beyond familiar. If I tell someone NO, it is like disowning him or her.  It seems that far-fetched to me.  I say YES before I stop and evaluate my own needs or schedule.  I may not feel passionate about the request, but I comply, mostly because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make someone mad.

To be truthful, I seek validations of self-worth or value from others.  But WHY?  I say I am a Christian and I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, but why do I/we choose people over our Father in Heaven? For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 ESV)

So much time and energy is put into meeting the needs of others that I find myself losing touch with my own life, and my relationship with God suffers.  We give man (men and women) too much credit, and we fear them instead of God.  Proverbs 29.25 states that the fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord is safe.  Isaiah 51:7 speaks truth when it says, “Listen to me, you who know righteousness the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their reveilings.” (ESV)

I discovered myself having a people pleasing personality a very long time ago.  I pray to God for understanding on why I feel this way and through my prayers God is giving me daily knowledge and understanding that not everyone deserves my YES.  Hold on and understand that whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

I have let You down.  I have looked for man’s validation over my life, but only Yours matters.  Forgive me, God, for not pleasing You and going after Your heart.  Thank You for the understanding to know that saying YES to man is not wrong, but pleasing man and putting man above You is wrong.  I love You, Lord, for loving me as much as You do.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to choose wisely who gets a YES from you. “Will you mediate on my word more?” YES…”Will you forgive your brothers and sisters who have forsaken you?” YES…”Will you go out into the world and tell people all about me?” YES…”Do you love me?” YESSSSSS!  Hello my name is ________________ and I’m a God Pleaser!

Have you overcome “people pleasing?” Tell us what it took for you to make that transformation.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: I Am Free: The Ultimate People Pleaser

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Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.” She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry. Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service. She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden. Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation. Her favorite scripture is Hebrews 11:6: “And without Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to Him must BELIEVE that He exists and that He REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him.”

Faithfulness, Heaven, Righteousness

Made For Heaven

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” (Hebrews 11:13-14 KJV)

Many already know that Abraham and his family (Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob) were a part of the group who died in faith. God promised them all the land flowing with milk and honey, but they never received it while living; they only received by faith. Looking to Abraham and others, what can we learn from their testimony? What can we see God doing?  While reading the above scripture, the Holy Spirit was highlighting the words ‘strangers’ and ‘pilgrims’. A stranger is one who does not belong to the given locale. A pilgrim is one who is moving toward a given destination. (http://www.definitions.net) After reading this scripture, I received this revelation from the Holy Spirit: “The Lord wants you to set your daily course toward heaven, rejecting earthly cravings that diminish your spiritual vitality.” Yes, Abraham lived a life of faith, and faith is important, but he knew that this earth was not his home and that Heaven was where the promise was.

Abraham and his family did not personally possess the Promised Land. Yet, they lived with an attitude of guaranty that Father God would fulfill His promises. They wholeheartedly accepted the certainty that the Lord would some day give that land to their seed. Meanwhile, they confessed that they were content to live as strangers concerning this world and as pilgrims anticipating the world to come: “and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” That was powerful! Even though they never saw the promise, they lived as if it happened. Have I lived as though God has already delivered on His promises? Has Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall been living like the great cloud of witnesses?

There are many things that I personally can list that I do or have done, that can make me appear that I’m not a “pilgrim or a stranger to this world”. So my question to God was how do I get there? I was led to 1 Peter 2:11. “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” As I continue to live, just as Abraham, I will now focus my heart on yearning for a true, lasting, eternal homeland. A place where I don’t have to pray for healing; a place where I don’t feel unloved; a place where I will never be separated from the presence of God; the place my Father says is my home.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for being a gracious and loving Father to us. We confess that we have forgotten that You have called us to be strangers to this world. We confess that we have forsaken the path of pilgrimage and went down other paths. Father, give us grace on this day to turn back because we want to make it home to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to let the Holy Spirit cause your heart to yearn for that which heaven alone can provide. Press on as a pilgrim in this world and a stranger to its ways, bound for your homeland above.

 How do you stay on course in life or do you need us to pray and agree for you to make it home?

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Mrs. Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall is happily married to the wonderful and inspiring Antoine L. Marshall. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls. Her voice is one of the leading and authentic voices for breast-feeding, especially for the African-American community and Generation Y. She currently works inside of her home and plans to become a professional licensed lactation consultant in 2014. She and her family are members at Spirit of Liberty Church located in Markham, IL. Embracing the love that God has for her, Lisa labors to live an acceptable and pure life through the leading and keeping of the Holy Spirit so that her attitude, words, and actions attract the glory of God. In her free time she loves receiving manis and pedis. Her favorite promises that she find comfort and reassurance in are: Psalm 34:19: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” and Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Faith, Faithfulness, Favor, Freedom, God's Mercy, God's Protection, Restoration, Throwback Thursdays, Trusting God

Throwback Thursday: The Face of Faith

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on April 29, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take my students on a field trip. We were given a guided tour of one of the most meaningful museums I have ever been to, The National Holocaust Remembrance Museum. If you’re familiar with the story then you know how the Jews suffered a horrible tragedy at the hands of a mad-man. More than six million people were slaughtered in some manner in what was known as the “Final Solution”. As we walked through the museum I couldn’t help but to feel the pain and suffering of their people. Many of my students were overcome with emotion because of the pictures and stories told by our tour guide. To conclude, we were given the honor of meeting an actual survivor named Regina. Before me stood this small, frail, 84 year-old woman who saw things one could only imagine. Overcome with emotion one of my students began to cry saying “I touched her.” I wanted to ask her a million questions as she was on her way out the door. The only question I could muster up to the strength to ask was, “How did you do it?” She replied in a very quiet, yet firm tone, “I had faith.”

When the other disciples told him [Thomas] that they had seen the Lord, he declared, “… I will not believe it.” A week later… Jesus… said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:25-28 NIV)

Have you ever gotten to the point where you doubted God and started wondering whether or not He would bring you out of your situation? We all get caught in these type situations, whether they are self-inflicted or brought on by something or someone else. We find ourselves in a personal “Death Camp” in which we feel all is hope is lost. The light at the end of the tunnel gets dimmer and dimmer and we question, “Why me Lord?” We only see darkness and never take into account that the daylight will come soon. As Regina held up her arm to show me the number that the Nazis branded her with, I realized that even though she had been marked for death she refused to die. Her faith allowed her to survive what the enemy had on her life.

Dear Daddy,

I ask that You continue to increase my faith. Allow me to see that after every night is a morning. Allow me to trust in You no matter what. In my times of weakness allow me to continue to trust and believe that You will bring me out of my situation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today EMPOWER your FAITH. Never forget Regina and how her FAITH sustained her even when it looked like death was knocking at her door. KNOW that no matter what you’re going through GOD will bring you out.

Shawna Dix is a mother, educator, and all around child of God. She is passionate about God, her son Jalen, family, friends, and her students. She loves teaching because it allows her to shower our youth with love and guidance. She resides in Pentagon City, Virginia and works hard educating inner city youth in Washington DC. She prides herself in being a realist. She exclaims that she is in no way, shape, form, or fashion perfect but she has accepted that she serves a perfect God who is able to do ALL things!

Faithfulness, Submission/Surrendering

Lose Control!

My post for this week was a bit of a struggle. I have been wrestling through a lot of things and had ideas for a few different things I wanted to share, but every time I started to type, I would be compelled to stop and start again. I even considered recycling a post I wrote for another blog and just as I put the finishing touches on it, I realized it wasn’t what God wanted me to share either. So I sat still and had a little conversation with God.

Then the post began to flow without issue.

The experience that I had with writing this post is one that has been recurring in my life. You see for me, the first half of 2012 had been going well. I set some goals for weight loss and my finances and I was on point to reach them much sooner than I expected. I had been praying for a new opportunity and recently got a new job with a nice pay increase and shorter commute. While all this was going on, I was diligently and consciously working on building my relationship with God and putting Him first in all things, allowing Him to have TOTAL control. I had peace and I was happy, but in the back of my mind, I felt like I was missing something.

Then I decided to take some of the control back and things took a turn for the worst.

My diet and exercise regimen began to suffer and I could not make sense of my finances. I got weak when tragedy hit my family and started drinking when I should have been praying. My boys were away so my house was peaceful—but I had no peace of mind. And I was starting to run. I was starting to feel like I had gotten so far away from God in such a short period of time that I might as well continue to run from Him to save myself the embarrassment of walking back to Him with my head hung low. I had let the enemy creep back into my thoughts.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of Godthat is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39 NIV)

In a little over a month, I almost allowed myself to forfeit all of the work that I have done and progress that I have made in every area of my life–physical, mental, financial, spiritual–simply because I thought I needed to be in control. I thought, “I’m doing all of this ‘work,’ and not really getting to ‘play’ because God is in control.” No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11 NIV)

I am reminded that allowing God to have control over my life is the only way that I will be at my best.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for reminding that Your way is best no matter what. Please continue to conform me and my need to constantly be in control. Help me lose control to You a little more each and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to LOSE CONTROL to God! Embrace Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” and take your hands off the steering wheel.

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Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Blessings, Career, Contentment, Employment, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Goals & Dreams, God's Grace, Miscellaneous, Patience, Patience, Persistance, Preparation, Restoration, Spiritual Therapy, Strength, Transitions Series, Trials, Trusting God

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

The past few years of my life have been ones of transition, endless waiting and sometimes disappointment. I’ve alluded to and written about it many times. Long story short, I left my job in Texas to start my own business and moved to Atlanta for a three-month transition. In my mind that is all it would take before the business was up and running and I could move to my real destination, Washington, DC (because this is where the business was based). That three months has turned into over two years and I reached a point where I was tired of telling people that I was moving anywhere because I just didn’t know when/if it would happen. As a matter of fact, I actually told people I was moving to Washington, DC nearly two years before I left Texas so in total this has now been a four year wait. If you have had any experience with God you know that many times your best made plans aren’t a part of His plan.

But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Micah 4:12 KJV From my brief study, I found that sheaves are stalks of grain and they were gathered on the threshing floor during harvest time for a two-step process. First the actual grain was separated from the chaff. To do this, oxen would pull a metal spiked sledge that would break the heads of the grain from the stalk or they would just trample them. Next the broken stalks were tossed into the air and the wind would blow the lighter chaff away while the heavier grain would fall back on the floor where it could then be gathered for use.

My time of transition has been like the sheaves on the threshing floor. I went from making a very lucrative salary to making zero, zilch, nada. Months would go by and I had nothing but what I could borrow or get from someone else. My mini-vacations that I would frequently take turned into staycations in my room. I found myself in an “asking” position when I was usually the giver. Shopping excursions were non-existent as my belly became wider, clothes became tattered and shoes wobbled to the side. When I could no longer afford my health insurance, the aches and pains started. I went from being a mover and shaker, featured in Ebony Magazine to feeling insignificant. Finally my car called it quits. Although I grew up poor, THIS was a very unfamiliar position. Throughout this process I have felt a gamut of emotions: happiness, depression, bitterness, envy, contentment and disappointment. I had good days and many bad ones. During the process, I felt beat down and trampled but it was only to extract the good grain. Without the threshing floor, the harvest would be incomplete.

I had to learn more about myself and have many things extracted and tossed so that in the finishing process only the good grain was left in me. Sometimes God humbles you by removing the frills and unnecessary things to get you to the place He has ordained for you. A place where you are truly dependent on Him and can recognize that it is His goodness, and not your own doing, that gets you your blessings.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV Admittedly during this process, my faith wavered; yet, God remained faithful. Did I get everything that I wanted when I wanted? No! However, He absolutely never failed to supply my needs. This month (July) represents a turning point in my life. After a little over two years in business, I received my first paycheck from my business one that will come consistently versus “some” money at any random month. From my time in the threshing process, I know how to use my money wiser so that when God grants me the increase that I need and desire, I will make sound investments versus temporary gratification. My “giving” strategy will be a lot different because when I couldn’t give I realized that people would always find a way without me. It made me realize that I was a resource and not their “source.” I learned that lesson for myself as well. As I sit in a hotel room now after a second trip of apartment hunting in Washington, DC, I have ultimately learned that if we can only learn to trust God and His timing He will prepare us for our harvest.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my time in the threshing process as You prepared me for the harvest. I ask that You continue to let those traits, people and other characteristics that are not useful blow off of me into the wind. Help me to be anxious for nothing because You have told me that in due season I will reap a harvest. You have been faithful to Your Word even in the midst of my doubt. God, I ask that You continue to build my faith as I move into the next phase that You have prepared for me. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust Him in the process. Although it’s hard because what you see what’s happening in other people’s lives (marriages, babies, career advancements, notoriety, goal accomplishments, financial prosperity) may seem foreign for your own. Know that He is preparing you for your harvest by extracting those things that aren’t useful for that next phase in your life. Trust that He is faithful to you because it is who He is and who He has always been.

Are you waiting on God and feel as if it is not going to happen? If you examine yourself, is it that God has you on the threshing floor? Share your story with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Commitment, Faithfulness, Honesty/Truth, Praise/Worship

What Are You Really In This For?

I attended a Christian poetry set recently.  One of the poems recited basically asked the question, “What if you got to heaven and you found everything you ever wanted and saw everyone you wanted to see there…except God?  Would you still want to be there?”

It took me back and made me really ponder the question, “Katrina, what are you REALLY in this for?”  There’s a popular song that says, “If the Lord never does anything else for me, he’s done enough!”  When we really think about that statement, do our hearts really feel that way? 

I had to admit that at times, I have had the wrong idea of what my life is all about.  Many times I have emphasized being saved so I can go to heaven, when my real purpose is to glorify God.  We were created for worship…PERIOD.

I had to repent for my selfish way of thinking.  “…and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me, whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10: 38-39 NIV) I was so focused on getting to heaven and getting what I want God to bless me with, that I was missing the mark.  If I continued like this, I would never gain what I desire because at its root, my heart was self-serving.  My primary goal, instead, should have been and IS now, working to give glory to God and build His kingdom.  “…Seek ye first [wholeheartedly] the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you…” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

I love You so much!  I thank You for who You are in my life and how much You love me!  I cannot thank You enough for how You take care of me.  I deeply appreciate how You hold me and never let me go in spite of all my issues.  Lord, forgive me for the times I took on a selfish spirit in which my relationship with You became more about what You were doing for me.  Lord, I ask that You give me a Job anointing. No matter what, I never want to stop loving and serving You.  I want to continue to draw closer to You. Lord, help me to increase my love more and more every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you reflect on the following questions: “What if you knew that regardless of how much you praised, worshipped, and served God in your life, you were still going to receive your due payment for the sins you have committed? (meaning you would still go to hell)  Would you still follow Christ?”

Feel free to answer the questions in our comment section below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: When “Church” Wears Off

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 Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Commitment, Completion, Faithfulness, Focus, Growth/Maturity, Motivation, Persistance

Commitment Issues

My cousin and I had a conversation last week about the many reasons I may still be single.  However, the one that stuck out to me the most was my failure to commit. It is not as though I have never been able to commit because for many years I was in committed relationships.  Somewhere along the way I developed an anxiety about the thought of committing myself completely to anything.

Ironically, this week my church has challenged us to a 40 day turn around, and the first area that we must focus on is greater commitment.  I have realized in doing this that my failure to commit extends past physical relationships and has transcended into spiritual ones as well.  I have been cheating on God! I say that I am committed to our relationship, but I am constantly looking outside our relationship for affirmation and confirmation that only He can give me. “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth.” (Psalm 31:5 KJV)

I struggled with whether or not I should use that scripture because it was given to us to use as a part of our fast.  However, God placed that scripture in my heart during my prayer time before I even knew it was on the paper.  That was amazing to me that God was revealing things to me in a variety of ways. God wants my greater commitment to be with Him!  We all have some areas of our life that can use more work in the area of commitment.

In my situation I realized that I can not commit myself to a relationship in the flesh until I commit to Him in my spirit.  I say I am vested in the relationship I have with my Daddy, but I’m questioning His whereabouts all the time. And yet, He is the one who has proven Himself time and time again in my life.  “O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many baskets ye took up?” (Matthew 16:8-10 KJV)

God has proven to me that He is a faithful God.  I am the one who is cheating, but I put the blame on Him.  If I am going to be in a committed relationship with the Lord I must trust Him completely.  I can’t look at the things that other people have done to make me afraid of commitment. Jesus committed himself to me when He died on the cross.  It is my turn to show my commitment to Him.  Am I willing to close my eyes, and go to sleep because I trust Him that much?  Am I willing to communicate with Him first before going to others outside our relationship? Am I willing to spend more time with Him so that our relationship can continue to grow?

Dear Daddy,

I come before You today asking for Your forgiveness for all the acts of cheating I have been involved in throughout our relationship.  I pray for forgiveness, as well as continued strength in regards to our relationship.  I need to understand that You are always here with me even if I cannot see You.  I need to realize that being committed to You is the first step and all things will work out how You see fit.  Thank You, Daddy, for sticking by me and staying committed, even when I was unfaithful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to show the Lord that you are trustworthy.  If God cannot trust us in a relationship with Him, then how can He trust us in the next dimension? I challenge you to commit yourself to whatever it is God has called you to do, whether it’s to become a better mother, daughter, employee, servant, or lover of the Lord.  Whatever area you need to commit to, like Nike JUST DO IT!

What are you willing to do in order to show God your commitment? Tell us about it in the comment box.

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Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”