Confession time—I’m a recovering people-pleaser. I want people to like me. I want to make people feel good and, I don’t want to upset anybody. That may sound like a good thing, but it’s not. Not when being a people-pleaser makes us afraid to be ourselves, afraid to express our true feelings and beliefs; beliefs that could make a difference in somebody’s life.
Sometimes it’s easier to not say anything than to tell someone that God loves them and that there is a better way, even when we know that we could save them a lot of pain. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there.
But if we truly believe that we have information that could help somebody and even save their eternal life, then why wouldn’t we share it? If we’re honest, the answer is simply fear. We don’t want to look like a “holier-than-thou” crazy person. Oh, sure we claim that we don’t want to offend people and we don’t want to push Billy Bob away. But isn’t a little offense better than a lot of pain?
I’m not proposing that we start accosting random people at the local Walmart with our rendition of Jesus Loves Me. I’m speaking more in terms of expressing our beliefs with those that we have earned the right to share our lives. For example, a close friend, relative, or even an acquaintance. I’m also not talking about shouting, “God loves you!” in the middle of a math exam. This is more about a one-on-one interaction with someone whom God has placed on our heart. And yes, it’s possible that God could be asking us to start a random Walmart shopper ministry. It could happen. But for now, let’s just work on making a difference one conversation at a time.
However, there are times when God wants us to be silent, because the timing might not be right. But before chocking off a conversation as wrong timing, we need to check our motivation. Do we feel at peace with keeping quiet? Do we feel that God is telling us that now is not the time? Then it’s probably best to wait.
But what if we feel afraid or nervous and find ourselves thinking things like, “I don’t want them to think that I’m ______” –fill in the blank: stupid, nosy, holier-than-thou? Then we should pray and ask for God’s help.
God’s direction to wait or to keep quiet comes with a sense of peace. But if we decide to keep quiet for the wrong reasons, it doesn’t come with a feeling of peace. We’ll know the difference at the time.
Believe me when I say that I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve been right there. I’ve had opportunities to uplift people with the truth of God’s love, yet because of fear, I kept my mouth shut. And the worst part is, I’ll probably do it again—put myself above another’s well-being. It’s a continual struggle. But I no longer sugarcoat it with excuses when I do mess up.
So how do we make a difference one conversation at a time?
First, be yourself. God made us special. We don’t have to change who we are to make others like us. And that means not hiding who we are in Christ—an imperfect, messed-up person saved by God’s love and mercy.
Second, ask for help. Don’t go it alone. God is there for us no matter what. So if we find ourselves wanting to say something to encourage a friend, but our mind is blank ,then send a silent prayer for help. Also, keeping a good, understanding friend just a text or phone call away will help keep us accountable.
Third, we are princesses. The King is our father. Most of the time we don’t speak up out of fear of what people would think of us. I don’t think a princess would ever be ashamed of being royalty and we shouldn’t either.
Fourth, re-train our minds to think of other’s first. Telling a friend how God has helped us could save them from a ton of sorrow. It might be hard at first, but a true friend would appreciate that we are thinking of their best interest. Even if they don’t take it well at first.
Every time we are with anybody, whether it’s a best friend or just an acquaintance, we should remember who we are (royalty) and feel free to express our beliefs, in a kind and humble manner, because we never know when those words could change a life forever.
Words are powerful. And we can’t be afraid to use them—one conversation at a time.
Have you ever seen a conversation change someone’s life? Or maybe just their mood for the day? What about being the person on the receiving end, where because someone spoke to you, your day just became brighter? We would love to hear your stories in the comments, or even some tips on conversation-starters that helped you! Thank you for reading!
Dana Romanin – Guest Writer
Dana Romanin has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl pretending to be Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables). She used to write under a forsythia bush, but now she writes in a messy office that she shares with her sewing obsessed daughter.
She lives in a small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with her wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, and a lot of persnickety pets.
You can find her blog and awkward videos on her website www.DanaRomanin.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@DanaRomanin) and her Facebook fan page (DanaRomaninAuthor)