1. I admit I am powerless over my addiction—that my life has become unmanageable.
2. I came to believe that God could restore me to sanity.
3. I made a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God my Father.
4. I made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.
5. I admitted to God, to myself, and to others the exact nature of my addiction.
6. I am entirely ready to have God remove this from my life.
7. I humbly asked Him to remove my addiction.
8. I made a list of all the people I harmed in my addiction, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. I made direct amends to these people wherever possible.
10. I continued to take personal inventory and when I am wrong I promptly admitted it.
11. I sought through prayer and meditation to improve my personal time with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, I try to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all areas of my life.
Are you an addict? Do you know an addict? Addiction comes in many forms not just drugs, sex and alcohol. I must have ______ or I’m unhappy, irritable, frustrated or just plain mad. Whatever fills that blank is something that has captured my affections and rules my responses to life. Who ought to rule our responses to life? That’s right, Jesus. So if he isn’t ruling an area, that area has become an idol. Oh my, did she really just accuse me of idol worship in the 21st Century? Yes, I did but not without first recognizing my own addiction, idol worship. John Calvin said, “Our hearts are idol factories.” My idol of choice is to please you. . While the outward actions of pleasing others looks good and kind, the truth of the matter is that my heart is sick, dark and against God when this idol has control of me. Idolatry is an addiction. Well, it’s called sin, but the insanity of sin causes us to behave like addicts. But…
Hope for the Insane
What is the definition of insanity?
Insanity is living as though a lie is the truth.
Take this little quiz. If these statements are true for you, then you just might be a people pleasing addict.
1. I can’t be happy if you aren’t happy with me.
2. I must do whatever you want so you’ll like me.
3. I must not tell you the truth, if it will upset you.
4. If you are upset, it must be my fault.
Romans 1:21-23 says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
How does people pleasing exchange the truth for a lie? Let’s look at the four points above.
1. & 4. God can control hearts, people can’t so if I think your happiness depends on me, I believe I have the same power as God.
2. What if you want me to do something wrong? My highest aim must be to please God. If not, I’m exchanging him for you.
3. Gently telling the truth is one of the most loving graces we can give each other. If I can’t do that for you because I want to keep you happy with me, then I’m loving myself more than you.
There is a Rescuer, Jesus, Who is Our Hope
When God showed me the darkness in my heart and how addicted I was to people pleasing all I could do was throw my hands up and say, “Forgive me Lord, for loving myself more than you, for suppressing the truth about you and loving the lie. Help me, Lord.” I didn’t know the 12 Steps of AA, but when I look at them now, I can see I went through many of them as I ran to Jesus, from my addiction, my sin, the idol of pleasing people.
Another thing that helped me was a book called, Love Walked Among Us, Learning to Love Like Jesus, by Paul Miller. Mr. Miller takes a look at Jesus that is different from any book I’ve ever read. He shows how Jesus is compassionate and strong and isn’t concerned about how people view him, nor is he concerned about what they think he ought to do. He is simply about his Father’s will. He’s direct and loving and he always acts on the behalf of those he is loving for their sake and the glory of God.
The book answers questions like these:
* How do you love someone when you get no love in return, only withdrawal or ingratitude?
* How do you love wihtout being trapped or used by another?
* How do you love when you have your own problems?
* When do you take care of yourself?
Mr. Miller shows us how Jesus answered these questions with his life and shows those of us who have exchanged the truth for a lie how to escape the darkness of our own hearts and love in the light of Jesus.
Maybe people pleasing isn’t your addiction and you probably don’t have little statues sitting on your mantle or a place in your courtyard to burn incense to your false god but is there anything you can’t live without?
Drugs? Alcohol? You spouses’s affection? Your spouses understanding and support? Your spouse’s faithfulness? Being rejected Me-Time? Respect from your children? Friendships?
These are hard questions, nevertheless they are questions we must ask ourselves if we want to live a sane life; a life in the light.
Living Outside the Lines is Redeemed from Insanity
Are you an addict? Recovering addict? How did you change?
Are you a people pleaser scared and alone, wishing you could change?