A Matter of Opinion: Breaking the Chains of People-Pleasing

I looked ridiculous.

Standing on my deck in sopping wet clothes, barefoot with no makeup and my hair still not fully dry from my shower, I sprayed down a bunch of blankets and clothes with my garden hose.

Yes, I watered my laundry.015

I had a reason of course.

It was cleaning day (so unlike I Love Lucy, I was not dressed in pearls and heels), and sometime during my normal routine, I realized that one load of laundry had been shushing around in the washer all morning….as in, it was just cycling round and round endlessly without ever draining the water and spinning the clothes.

So, I pulled every last piece of laundry out and hauled it all to the deck.  Water pooled all over my floor, soaking my socks and shoes, and I stripped them off and plopped them by the back door.  After I had yanked out every blanket and sock, I bailed out the washing machine by hand, first in buckets and eventually with a tiny plastic cup.

I was pretty proud of myself for successfully launching ‘Operation Rescue Clothing’ until I realized that everything I had just placed out in the sun to dry had been hauled out of soapy detergent water.

So, clearly I needed to rinse it before it dried.

With the hose.


What else to do . . . drag it all back in the house, flooding every room in the process, so that I could rinse everything out in the shower only to haul it all back outside?

So, I improvised.

After a minute or two of standing there with the hose spraying water on my laundry, I realized I looked (and felt) like a sponge that could have been wrung out.

And it occurred to me how embarrassing it would be if someone saw me out there, looking ragged and wet and watering my laundry instead of my veggies and flowers.

But I shrugged it off because it didn’t really matter what anyone thought of me.  The fact was that I had done what needed to be done.

And isn’t that the important thing?  .

Unfortunately, not to me, not all the time.  It’s not so simple for me to shrug off the opinions of others.

Yes, I could be a charter member of People-Pleasers Anonymous, and this could be my own personal prison, the chains that keep me doing what is expected but not what God intends.

In the end, though, I know the truth that could set me free: God’s opinion about us is all that matters.

But it’s a realization that’s so hard to hold  onto.  I understand, I agree, I know it all in my head.

Yet, the truth doesn’t root itself deep enough in my heart to break those chains of people-pleasing and appeasement right off my hindered soul.

Here, though, I pause in my Bible reading to consider what God said about King Hezekiah:

“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…” (2 Kings 18:3 ESV). 

The Message says it this way, “In God’s opinion he was a good king… (2 Kings 18:3 MSG).

In God’s eyes….in His opinion….

It’s God’s opinion that counts, that helps us put one foot solidly down on the ground after another, moving in the confident assurance that we are pleasing to Him.

In What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa TerKeurst writes:

God is the only one we should be living for, and we need His grace to handle the successes and the failures, the applause and the criticism, and everything in-between.  Sometimes our efforts will be fruitful and other times fruitless,  but as long as we please God, it’s all for good (p. 59).

John Bunyan wrote:

If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.

In Song of Solomon, the bride endured her brothers’ ridicule as they sent her out to labor in the fields. She begs the king, her beloved:  “Do not gaze at me because I am dark” (Song of Solomon 1:6).

That’s what she’d been told, the insults and judgments about her worth and beauty that had tainted her heart and mind.

But the king declares with love:

“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you” (Song of Solomon 4:7).

Others pointed out the flaws and others could have applauded her beauty.  Either way, she could have spent her whole life captive to the accolades, the pats on the back, the criticism, the naysayers, the insults, and the apathy.

But the King saw through eyes of love and grace and set her free.

This is all that matters for me, too—the opinion of my God, who looks with eyes of grace on me.


Originally published as ‘A Matter of Opinion’, July 18, 2012

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

10 thoughts on “A Matter of Opinion: Breaking the Chains of People-Pleasing

  1. Beckey says:

    I love how God can use any every day situtation – even a laundry mishap – to teach us about us and our relationship with Him! This was a wonderful post!

  2. Michelle Miller says:

    I love your post! Sometimes it’s those crazy things that happen that make you realize God does have a sense of humor. 🙂

  3. janemacdonald says:

    I can so relate to the hosing down of clothes. That could just so easily be me. I too have also struggleld with pleasing man. Maybe it is one of those things that we journey through in life, growing but never arriving. One of my love languages is affirmation – so it i so encouraging to get praise, and so crushing when I seem to stand alone 😉 I have learned much in the past 11 years as I walked a lonely journey with my family and God: I love your humour by the way!!

    • Heather C. King says:

      Jane, words of affirmation are my love language, too. I never connected that up with my people-pleasing ways, but it makes so much sense that we would be more prone to struggle with this! Thanks for sharing that!

  4. Marlene ~~OBS small group leader says:

    I love this: “Yet, the truth doesn’t root itself deep enough in my heart to break those chains of people-pleasing and appeasement right off my hindered soul.” It is like you are inside my head. LOL Thank you for your post. It really spoke to me and was something I needed!

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