Today’s Special- Pleasing God

The din of Food Network often fills our living room. From an early age, my kids could identify all the celebrity chefs and often described food placed in front of them with adjectives such as “sublime”, “acidic”, “earthy”, and “balanced”.

This legacy of cooking is my fault.  When I was a child, I wanted to be a chef.  In kindergarten, I knew my time to shine was upon me; my teacher compiled a list of “recipes” from the kids in class.  They ranged in scope from peanut butter and banana sandwiches to mac and cheese, to fruit salad.   We were to recite a recipe from memory, and with a group of five-year-olds, I am confident that the recipes were nothing short of hilarious.

I wanted to sound learned.  I tried to impress my teacher and peers alike.  So I married culinary terms I thought sounded impressive for my recipe.  My mental concoction?  Chicken à la mode.

Of course, I was thinking of a la king, but a la mode is what is on the recipe books of every child in my class.

In the Style of…

As all chefs know, à la is a phrase that appears on French menus. Literally, it means “in the style of.”  Dishes served à la king come in a thick, creamy sauce with pepper and mushrooms. Although it sounds like something from a European castle, according to culinary history, chicken à la king didn’t originate in a palace, nor in Europe. Many believe the king in question was Philadelphia chef William King.  The chef was asked to invent a recipe for a persnickety customer and the rest, it seems, is history.

On the other hand,  à la mode literally means “in fashion or up to date”.  It is also often used to describe the art of putting ice cream on a pie.

So, my recipe debut included chicken and ice cream.  My mother brings this up every time I cook for her.  Despite the fact that I have made 50,000 successful meals over the course of my life, it is the fowl and dairy fiasco of 1974 that she most remembers.

Sadly, my desire to impress is not just limited to recipe books.   People-pleasing is a horrible habit to get into.   It has behooved me to do a lot of things of which I am not proud. Listening to the crowd over the voice of Jesus has led to some unfortunate choices in my life.  The effects of people-pleasing (to the casual observer) can seem virtuous: outgoing, ambitious, proactive, winning, and high achieving. However, the drawbacks are downright exhausting.

Can you relate When it comes to god?

I often remind my kids of Scripture when I see people-pleasing creep into their behaviors.   There is nothing like Scripture to remind us who we are and WHOSE we are. Even if our memory is impeccable, believers can forget who we are – beloved and redeemed children of God. These ten verses are some of my favorite reminders to combat people-pleasing. It reminds me of who I am, and refocuses me on pleasing God only.

  • Children – John 1:12 ~ ”Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
  • Called – Romans 8:28~ “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.“
  • Covered – Ephesians 1:7 ~ “ In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.“
  • Changed – Romans 6:6~ “ For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
  • Cared for – Jeremiah 1:5 ~“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
  • Chosen – 1 Peter 2:9 ~ “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.“
  • Complete – Galatians 2:20~ “ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
  • Citizens – Philippians 3:20~ “ But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”
  • Comprehensive – Ephesians 2:10~ “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
  • Courageous – Romans 8:37~ “ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.“

If I would focus more on these words of God than those on my employee evaluation, the scale, the number of Instagram followers I have, and/ or the number of people in the audience where I go to speak, I would save myself and the people around me a lot of heartaches.

Such a people-pleasing habit is a recipe for disaster – even worse than the idea of Chicken à la mode!


Amberly Neese is a popular speaker/teacher, comedian, author, and all-around encourager dedicated to helping you become the joyful person you were created to be.

She helps people like you experience the freedom found in meaningful relationships with God and others. Her bible studies, “The Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive”  and “Common Ground: Loving Others Despite Our Differences” are being enjoyed by women’s groups all over the country.  Her devotional “The Friendship Initiative: 31 Days of Loving and Connecting Like Jesus”  was released in May 2021.

Amberly is a popular women’s retreat speaker, featured communicator for the Aspire Women’s Events, and the main host and female comedian for Marriage Date Night.  Join her newsletter list at and get her ebook “50 Ways to Initiate Great Connections with Others” and the chance to win three Zoom coaching sessions with her.“50 Ways to Initiate Great Connections with Others”.

She and her husband have two adult children and live in Prescott, Arizona, where they enjoy the great outdoors, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars.

Amberly Neese

Author of “the Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive”, “Common Ground: Loving Others despite Our Differences”  and “The Friendship Initiative: 31 Days of Loving and Connecting Like Jesus” 

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