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Living For an Audience of One (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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September 30, 2022 6:00 am

Living For an Audience of One (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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September 30, 2022 6:00 am

Karen Ehman’s journey as a recovering people-pleaser began when she realized she was seeking others’ approval more than God’s. In this conversation, Karen shares practical guidance on healthy boundaries and encourages you to serve God intentionally in the areas he’s called you to serve. (Part 2 of 2)


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One time when I was in my busiest season are people pleasing is running around and doing everything I was exhausted anything is often like to live. I was processing went with her and can venting and she said you know this is gonna sound trite but Karen, we are human beings, not human doings, and I think you You are equating your work by how much are doing what you're helping people. She joins us again today on Focus on the Family for an ongoing conversation about the topic of people. Thanks for them with us today on John Fuller and hostess for president.

John is or is there appreciate I'm good at the moment we last time we talked about how his to fall into those patterns of people pleasing.

We think it's God honoring 2 and then we move in that direction of the guilty were doing what we need to do as Christians, but some of this is unhealthy got to know those boundaries and set those boundaries, and believe me there are people around you in your life that will take as much pleasing as you give them and today we want to equip you to just manage that a bit better and be healthier in those relationships. In the book of Galatians, Paul writes in mind now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God's good starting place to ask yourself when you're in a situation like that, people pleasing affects all of us in some aspect of life and I'm looking forward to covering those practical insights today with Karen and that I just want to get right to it's okay what will be brief you.

She's a speaker with Proverbs 31 ministries in a best-selling author and a Karen even has a book about this topic. It's called when making others happy is making you miserable. How to break the pattern of people pleasing and confidently with your life. Get a copy from Focus on the Family when you call 800 the letter a in the word family or click the link in the program notes Karen, welcome back. Thanks so much family. I'm laughing because I'm turning the words on your on your title and I think it it is instructive.

Either way, yours is when making others happy is making you miserable. I'm probably the type God says when making others miserable is making I get a little gradually out of that. What's my problem there carry forward. Sounds good, let's jump into this idea when making others happy is making you miserable digital boundaries.

You have a chapter in their own digital boundaries. What that means.

I try to deploy digital boundaries for my teenagers but tell me more about how we knew need to plan for ourselves people pleasing is hard enough in the days before we had cell phones now just think of the many ways people can contact you and put something on your plate back in the day if I called you a landline. You can pick up the burden was on me to keep trying to call you until I got you everything's reverse now people can send you a text message they can send you a private message on social media. Leave your voicemail saying hey get me this link. Do this for me and it's like I feel that I'm sitting down making my to do list the old-fashioned way is a Tyco kind around a number two pencil and a legal pad like on the road and it's like someone comes up in the grab my hand and they're putting things on my to do list. I never asked for never gave approval for all because it's coming through my phone. That's interesting. Do I have a problem because what frustrates me is when I call somebody cell phone and says there voicemail boxes and set up yet. Who hasn't done that.

Or so I can leave a message so they can respond to a smart person. I would've thought of it does leave the ball back and you're going to the request and makes me want to take out my outgoing message that really good. You can leave a message.

That's good. Your friend taught you that it's possible to have a thriving friendship even with consistent boundaries.

I guess one question there is. Why do we think you can't have a thriving friendship with boundaries. Boundaries are healthy with fences around her house right right right is make good neighbors that I've heard that several times affordably somehow don't translate that into our relationships and we just think we need to be at their beck and call in say yes all the time and do everything in it. It's not healthy. The incident you're talking about my friends house once in her cell phone went off and I thought it was very strange that she didn't at least touch it and look at it. If not, answer it, but she just let it roll over to voicemail and she and I were visiting anything super important.

You just visiting him cup coffee and I said about you can get in and is fine.

We were to sit near him, she said she sent out his automotive a world of voicemail. She said I'm I returned my calls after dinner one like it never occurred to me I always felt like when that phone buys and beeped. I had to touch it and I had to respond to that person.

I've gotten so much better now that that actually now I look at people that are always tethered to their phone and you don't have to like you can't wait and return your calls and there's a frenetic activity. It's very Pavlovian.

There's something there to respond to them is really good to step back and say no to boundary scripts you had an incident I think it was online and digital context were a stranger was pinging you to get a recipe you or something. So what what was out are you talking about corn chowder. I love you give me the recipe down to it I do that now is so I guess it's an unwritten rule I didn't understand fully when social media became a part of my life that if you never post anything that you've made you have to give the recipe. I didn't know that it's not really a role that people think it is. And so one day I was making corn chowder for the football team and I don't know I just posted a picture them out around Eatonton Santa Ana Cairns corn chowder once again hits the spot something like that and I thought that was the end of it and then when I went to do something else.

My computer you get distracted because you see, oh there's so many messages on Facebook or whatever I need to respond to site like Facebook and someone had left a comment saying please don't you know he's mentioned to Jeff to recipe Nordic busy day. I didn't have time to sit down type arrestee 45 minutes later they messaged again two hours later they messaged again but this time, privately I've left a comment on your post already two times I need that recipe I like to make up for my husband like this person's private message telling me get it. But the problem only gets better. I was blurting out his people pleasing.

Unlike I'm getting nowhere and just walk away couple days. Maybe I'll answer. And then her husband sent me a private message and said this is Eamon. My wife has kindly asked for this recipe three times today.

Would you please give it to her. I was steaming mad. I was like I would never do that to someone. So I waited about a week and I answered both of them and decide hey guys, so thankfully, my mind has been very honored that it was came as the day didn't have time to actually get to do something on my blog this fall. My favorite top five recipes it's in there.

So watch for that. Never heard from them again thereby ticked off because every email and you help me, that actually is a good that's a good example of my forthcoming book, making others miserable is that's exactly the example I later see a bunch of Jim Daly recipes I'm not answering that at all is you guys allusion people think that you are constantly sitting in your device waiting to respond.

Maybe they are someone you constantly tethered to their phone and they think you are to and when you don't respond right away. They get ticked off, but we've gotten this aura about us that we are always accessible and every time because we have self okay, so how do we loosen that addiction with our phones person listening or viewing right now goes on, like that woman that was email okay that's first. It's great acknowledgment of weakness. But secondly, what do they do right while someone said to me once this phrase it's not unique to the person that sent it to me, but I've heard it many places and it's this that you teach people how did treat you and you do with your phone like. Think of right now I said I was getting give you 100 bucks if you could pick up your phone and text someone you know immediately. They will text you back like within 90 seconds of the hundred bucks you both can think of who you text immediately that person has has taught you how to treat them you want to do this site.

I said okay. Now think of somebody that if you text now you might not hear back for two or three days. You know those both of those people. They have taught you how to treat them, while interesting, that is good and so if you're someone that feels like you're really too tethered to your phone. You know you need to realize that your teaching other people you're sending out a digital resume showing people what to expect from you and maybe need out in terms of boundaries themselves because a lot of this is boundaries is that important. What about the person with no boundaries for what you talking about speak to the no boundary person land are probably overwhelmed. I would think probably are and also not only do they get overwhelmed because they have no boundaries but experts say it's it's rewiring our brains like we can't sit and focus were always toddling and bouncing back and forth from our phone to this message. To scroll scared and were just it's worth living in that constant frenzy of like a slot machine.

Where's the next thing. Where's the next thing. Maybe the next thing will be guide the next message the next, whatever. Sometimes we just need to shut our phones off like for an entire weekend. I know that sounds really drastic, but fun to do it. I have not done that I have done and I told people if it's an emergency, you know where I live or my husband is gone for the weekend.

He doesn't have his phone off you know or I will put it on do not disturb. Now say the only calls and allowing us for my husband, so if there's an emergency get hold him. It's free, it makes me feel like I have my life back. You know, because you're not just constantly checking checking checking you were walking with multiple friends as they went through difficult divorces. When did you realize that your help was actually hurting them. This is really interesting. It's kind of an inverted observation that you made, which I really appreciate you. I have some friends that were going through some really tough times.

I have divorce in my background being the child of divorce and hard touch with them and for their children, and I wanted to be helpful and I wanted to be encouraging and point them to the Lord, but unfortunately I didn't have any boundaries in place when it came to my phone and I was constantly getting phone calls and messages sent from them around the clock.

There were three different people that were going through these terrible unwanted divorces and I felt like the right and good in Christian thing to do would be to pick up the phone and let them vent and let them process of me than latest development. Three different from three different friends and a lot of venting. Yes, and I finally realized that it was detrimental to me because you know I was homeschool my kids at the time in there so many times I would just leave them to do their thing to say to go get the phone and that wasn't good for my family to not have any boundaries in place and I also realize later that because I was allowing them I had taught them how to treat me and I was allowing them to just run to me. Every time that there was something new that happened that had upset them.

I was preventing them from running to God that in that context, I need to say Jean would say you do that to there's a certain I think so forth that might come from that for the people pleaser that they need me and all you people please really need to be needed yeah and I think you know it's true. I mean she's got such a great heart. She's the best friend I've ever seen.

For these people.

But how do you recognize that and get off of that addiction of being needed. While what I found worked for me with all three of those friends I finally had to say to them. I'm so sorry for going through. I know it's a constant blow-by-blow there's you developed all the time and you are in crisis mode and you just trying to survive and I'm so sorry about that. I want you know that I'm here for you, but I can't be here for you continually, so can we grab coffee.

One Saturday a month, three hours, I have to while or whatever it takes but I can't do this little snippets all day long and I just feel like sometimes I'm letting you run to me rather than to God and God's, the place where you should be headed there in that example.

What caught me in the book to your kids actually verbalized what they say to you that my heart broke when messages went dagger right through your say about all the phone calls to subtly know what came on.

I found eyes and found them likely don't Mrs. so-and-so needs me right now there like you have a week. I need you to while that's right, what's the curse of capability. It kinda fits in the spot. I think not just women have this that I find for me a lot of times it's women especially stay-at-home mom. Sometimes we feel like you know they're able to take on so many things and have all this time in their schedule, and I was one for many years but it doesn't just apply to women who are state, I see that the most with them, but it's this this curse that we appear so capable and so competent and so able to juggle so many things that it becomes a curse because people just come to us with their problems and with their things they need help with because they just know were so capable and we can actually take something off of our plate when were asked to put a new responsibility on because we're just so sure were so clever that if we just rearrange everything somehow make it all for you. I'm pretty sure could do this to go to daughter just packs it all in.

And it's exhausting sometimes watch that all this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest today is Karen Eamon and were talking about people pleasing and Karen has written a terrific book when making others happy is making you miserable.

How to break the pattern of people pleasing and confidently with your life.

Get a copy of the book from us here when you call 800 K in the word family or stop by the program notes will have a link right there for you and Karen describe some practical tips to help people so I know why have these little one sentence sermons I preached myself sometimes when I'm kinda feeling like I'm headed down that people pleasing trail again and one of them is I need to remind myself that every need is not necessarily my call like somebody's called to say yes to that need to say yes to that responsibility. But it might not always be so.

I have to realize not every need is not necessarily make necessarily my, I'm not Savior. Everything can be them. Also, I I have preached to myself, this often I just did this last week that I can say yes to a friendship, but still say no to that friend like I was just a note or I used to think like I had to say yes to every request that a friend gave me. I wasn't saying yes to the friendship, but I can still say yes to their friendship with saying no to a request from a friend. Our friendship can stay intact if I'm just honest with them.

I don't have to always say yes self-care K we are but it talks about the culture. Probably some people Google about self-care really. We need that liquid look at the demands when I have time for self-care, but you do say self-care is important.

Why I think it's important for us to define what that is because they self-care some people. They think that means a spa day. I need to go to the spa.

I mean I'm not against going back to Stockard for being on the program say no to it. But that's not what I'm talking.

I'm not talking about you know your nails painted our get a massage or whatever.

In those those things can be great. It's caring for your soul is like pulling away from all those responsibilities. All those demands.

Letting your body rest. Letting your mind rest.

Letting your soul just rest and just spending time with God or just resting like hello take a nap.

You need that's the most spiritual thing you could do today is taken. Could you run yourself ragged.

We have to care for ourselves. Just like that and I know it's an overused example. But on the airlines and airplanes when it says if the oxygen mask drops.

Secure your mass first before assisting others sometimes are no good for other people because were not securing our own wife because it happened to me on the flight one time computer that lost the oxygen that there was no error in the cabin so the buzzer went off the masks came down I put it on and I was traveling with college and I said bags not filling up and he does remember the bad will not inflict bags not filling up. We were all good and we landed safely to I thought what an idiot every time the fire so it's fun to remind yourselves of the right things right.

And remember that you found helpful exercise to align your priorities in your daily habits. I think it was in kinda monitoring her writing down what those habits were that right yeah yeah so sometimes we are asked what are priorities are and we might list them often say all its God and then it's my spouse and that's my kids and family and then it's my job, and other things outside of my job. Given these numbers in our brain but is challenged by somebody to really watch my life for three weeks and to write down how I spent my time now.

I wanted to like that my schedule that I'd written that I was shooting for. But how it actually went down and it was so eye-opening to me when I looked back over those three weeks and I saw that there were so many times I was letting something that was a lower number on that and the priority yeah like I would say all my close friends are like number seven or whatever and in my my spouse's number two whatever and I was spending so much time doing the number seven things I was picking up the phone all the time connecting with people helping them out, meet their needs put out the fires given him the link that they asked for whatever lag you always get asked for links to stuff that people are like, well, you can wish the teapot from trying to make dinner but I I really saw that although I said my priorities lined up a certain way. The reality of my schedule was showing something different. There are seasons though securing a meaning for us as we have six kids. It seems like one of them is the role adults right now but one of them from time to time need some extra special attention and they float up that becomes a priority over anybody else.

So give us permission somehow to think in terms of seasons.

So what is so crucial. I'm so glad you brought that is yet we don't want it to be this cut and dried back in my kind of thing but it's crucial to be walking with the Lord and having him tap you on the heart when there's somebody that needs some extra time there somebody even you know, sometimes those those parties flip.

There are times that maybe I'm spending time with my kids but a neighbor has a tragedy just happened and I need like it's on hold and go tend to the neighbor and they need to see that they need to see that there are times that there are interruptions in our day that are sent our way by God.

But what I'm talking about with this whole exercise is just in general are we letting our people pleasing ways put people outside of our family and trivial things at the top of our list when really were not really tending to the top of the list. Let me ask you just going back to the other response when your spouse is that people pleaser and you have these can be delicate conversations because what they're into is very good there helping a family member or a friend through circumstance with three friends through divorces in your example earlier. How does the spouse of the people pleaser so the seeds of maybe we need to look at the skills that can be very dangerous yes. So I think the thing that's the most helpful is in your messaging to them in the way that you describe it is to not make it a negative thing like you are such a people pleaser need to stop it.

Okay, that would not go over well, but instead to kind of describe it this way you have this amazing strength of being available for people of being empathetic and being helpful and encouraging, but sometimes that strength gets carried to an extreme as people they can maximize on the strength and now it's what we don't say in our house a weakness now become an on strength and I just see that this strength gets taken advantage of. Sometimes, so I'm just, you know, wanting to help you in that way. If I cannot say this to me like he knows when I'm taken on too much and I'll hang up the phone. Hello really you really just said yes to that life really. I know you're really good at it Karen but you have to do it all the time so I think kind of describing it in the language that it's it's a great thing about you but you you love it so much and you're so good at. You don't seem to get out of out of check. What are the specific rules and boundaries you stick to when you're trying to juggle all those responsibilities when your husband is that observation got too much going on. How do you pull it back in when it comes to the home work, church, good things you can laugh at me. My answer many of you ready to laugh.

I can tell when I my life is out of balance.

I've taken on too much because my purse starts to get messy metric yes hang with when I am so busy I can't read. I'm doing so much my purse gets messy.

So there. Sometimes I look at my purse and it's a mess and I like you had time to put things back in my purse in the right spot doing too much. Maybe I need to suffer other people. It's the car targets will messy other people at something else. But I can tell when my life is so overscheduled and overcommitted that I can't even tend to something simple that it's time that I needed step back, look at everything on my plate assessment asked the Lord in my still saucy doing this. Is this something I should continue this something I should bow out of. Is this something I should say I'm in a finish it and I'm bowing out in six months, but constantly take that to full plate to the Lord and hold it up to him and say I want only on this plate. The things you want me to put that's really good.

I think my car is a dirty car. Things get cluttered and there are good hats and extra T-shirts. The washing machine and what to do with all discount that one. Let me ask you speak to the woman's heart who struggles with guilt and feeling like they can never do enough and are so many women have such a capacity to look at their own hearts. First, I see this with Jean.

I made it guys were so egotistical a minute worth looking at the other guys that I was his fault, but women they do they look at their own life first and say what have I done and speak to that woman that does that. Maybe too much so because she's not recognizing the pusher and the manipulator in the maximizer. What can she do to wake up to that you know I had someone say to me one time when I was in my busiest season of people pleasing and is running around and doing everything I was exhausted.

It's an exhausting way to live. I was processing went with her and kind of venting and she said you know this is gonna sound trite but Karen, we are human beings, not human doings, and I think you got that mixed up.

You are equating your worth by how much are doing the how much are helping people and for me I know is that I'm trying to go back in my past and and fix things in my past. You know like knives love to help people that are going through divorces because I was a child of divorce. I know what their kids are going so sometimes they can just get to a point where were doing too much were doing doing doing anything that in doing. It equates I'm serving him and I'm being a good Christian. We need to realize God loves us just like we are viewing we don't do a certain single thing even when I do a single thing we need to rest in him alone find our worth in him alone and know that we can have a connection with him that is is genuine and earnest in that we are saying, Lord, I want used. I want to serve, but you please show me where I am and where I am not to serve as my tendency is the minute I hear something.

I think it's my you know my response is my response ability to to meet that need.

I know it's not. There's other people out there that you can use and if I say yes to a responsibility I'm not meant to take on.

I'm taking the blessing away from the person you didn't want to do it so it's that connection with God having him know your heart that your heart is bent toward service and loving other people you need to know when it's not your call as well as when it is you know that so good.

It reminds me of that the window right around one that series with him. Jim and I were able to go to Israel with the group with him in the main teaching coming out of that was when sin entered the world chaos entered the world with it.

And there's chaos in this world. Jesus came so that we might have shalom God's peace and that really is kind of the spiritual overtone of what you're talking about. If your life is in chaos because you're saying yes to everybody. You need to step back and and find God's shalom, and that may require you to say no more often. And what a great reminder. Karen, this is been so good.

The time is flown by. I wasn't sure you know how this was going to go but I think everyone men, women, everyone can connect to this idea when making others happy is making you miserable and don't let it masquerade as a spiritual thing.

It's not healthy and I hope this is truck struck a chord in your heart you would get a hold of us. We got Karen Christian counselors. You can talk with you. Certainly we have resources. Karen's book being one in others that I think will begin to help you out of the people pleasing modality and would love to make this book available to you.

If you can make a gift of any amount maybe a monthly commitment which is what the doing of being in John as well to the ministry that really helps us but a one-time gift is good as well send it and make the commitment and will send you Karen's book is our way of saying thank you for the part you donated but it's been a while never join the support team contribute to numbers 800 K word family 800-232-6459 or stop by the program notes you see all the details right. Again, thanks so much as good. I've really enjoyed I had to think so much for having thank you for listening long. On behalf of Jim Daly, and the entire team here on John Fuller and putting you back next time. As we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ as Christians we are called to bring light to the world and its Christian parents when our kids to answer the call to bring your Bible to school day right way to do that for your kids to grow their faith evangelize and be a light in their schools feel like giving home is important to you join bring your Bible school day on Thursday, October 6. Register now bring your Bible.org


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