I was super encouraged this week. I was also confronted with a mountain about myself. By God…. derp. Who else? Last week in church I mentioned how my Paster, Bryce, spoke on makes our beliefs true in our heart and to act on them, not just to be some “oh, yeah, sure” push over that says what others want you to say.This week in church, he sorta continued off that note but he branched off to slap me in the face with a lil honesty. It was a good verbal slap. I appreciated it *thumbs up* He posted this list up for everyone to see. And he asked us to take a good long look at it and to be brutally honest with ourselves and asked us, “Do any of these statements relate to you. Even if it’s just one. Even if it’s not very often – only sometimes.” Mmmmmmm dang it…
Now I’ll be completely honest with you, I would consider myself to be a decently confident person. I mean, I’m no crazy feminist that’s all “Power to the woman!” I’m not some bully that needs to force my opinion on others and threaten to beat them up if they don’t agree because I think I’m 100% right about everything. Definitely not! But, I’m not distraught at the end of the day if someone doesn’t approve of what I did. You get what I’m trying to say? Anyways, I was pretty brutal with myself and I really pawned over every arrow. No, I don’t care about what other people think about me. No, I’d say I have a decent level of self esteem. Mmmmm I definitely get overwhelmed by saying yes to too much and over committing myself. Ohhhhh I know I’ve exaggerated stories and situations to make the story funnier to tell, to make myself look better or even, to make the other person look worse. I’ll confess to that. No, I don’t think I get jealous about other people’s success buuuuuuut I totally question the legitimacy of it. *So and So just got engaged* “I wonder how that marriage will be…” *You’re friend on Facebook just posted 32 new photos to their album “Travels”* “They’re only posting the best pictures, it couldn’t possibly have been that perfect the whole time…” Not gunna lie, I realized that I silently question and doubt a lot of things to myself and now that God’s opened my eyes to that, about myself I know I need to stop and improve in that area. I still continued looking at the list. No, I’m definitely not afraid of confrontation, in fact I gladly welcome it. No, I don’t look to the approval of others. My score: 4/7 = 57%. In my books that’s a fail. Like actually, in college, anything lower than a 60% is an F. Dang it. My pastor went on to talk about the list and where it came from, “The things on this list are based on what we think of how other people view us. The more you care about what other people think of you, most likely, the more things you will “suffer from” on this list.” That frustrated me about myself.
As my pastor went on to speak he got me thinking, why do I care about these things? Why do I always say yes instead of saying no? Why do I exaggerate a story for that brief moment I’m telling it? Why am I so critical about the good things that happen to those around me? Because I’m scared of what they might happen if I don’t. I’m afraid that if I say no so hanging out, that person will be disappointed with me as a friend. I’m afraid that if I share something that happened to me and keep it to the bare facts, people will think I’m boring. I’m afraid of other people experiencing these awesome things that I might never get to do, so I dumb it down to make myself believe that I’m not missing out. I know I’m not the only one that does these things, but still…
Good ol’ Message Bible translates Proverbs 29:25-26, “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. Everyone tries to get help from the leader, but only God can give you justice.”
The fear of other people hold you back. Yes. Yes. Yes. Pastor Bryce questioned us again,
I do not, want to be ruled by fear. Far from it! So then, what is my heart motivated by? If it currently is… was.. this fear of what other people thought of me, what should it be? Duh, my motivation should be for the Lord. My confidence should not be shaken by what other people are doing around me. My focus should be on Christ. That’s it. After opening our eyes to the distractions that so easily pull our attention from what matters, we read 2 Samuel 6:12-15. This is when the Ark of God is being brought back into Jerusalem and David is dancing and singing. There’s music blaring and it’s obviously a really big deal. We focused on the part of King David dancing. Now picture Queen Elizabeth dancing. No, no, not formal, boring dancing, I mean, hard core, pretty much just won the lottery dancing (By the way, congratulations Oiler fans, you actually have something to cheer for after what… nine years? Ha *wink* I don’t even watch hockey, but I’m happy for you) Anyways, I literally cannot picture Queen Elizabeth dancing like that, but King David, who was a bigger phenomenon in that time did. Who was David dancing for? Who was David’s focus? God. David did not care that he looked like a goof on the dance floor because in his mind, it was just him and his Maker celebrating. Why do we not live our lives that way? I want to live my life that way! I’m not kidding. Our approval should come from God, not from those around us. You should feel loved and accepted with who you are in your own skin cause that’s exactly how God intended for you to be! You should feel good about yourself and enjoy who you are as a person because before you were born, God knew you and He freakin loved you (Jeremiah 1:5) You should feel complete in yourself by not accepting every volunteer event that walks around the corner. You should feel good enough by spending time with just you and the Lord. You shouldn’t have to make a story bigger than it actually was in order to get a good reaction. God knows the real story and you can’t change it for Him. Keep the facts straight. You should be happy for the blessings that God gives other people not because you have to or feel guilty if you don’t but because Christ’s loves should be flowing in and through you, to actually have that genuine happiness for others. You shouldn’t be afraid of what other people think of you and you should be confident in who God has made you to be from the inside out. Guys, the list can go on and on.
When you doubt yourself, question yourself. Where on earth is this doubt coming from?Don’t give in to the pressures of this world to “fit in” and please others. Our approval should come from Christ and in that, we can dance in who God has created us to be – just like David did. I know this is coming across as super cliche and go-lucky be happy. But I’m 100% serious. You will not be truly satisfied with your life if you are not living it for a greater purpose than people – or even yourself for that matter. Living our life for God, with God and being content in His glory will be satisfying. God opened my eyes this week to understand that if God is the only one I am trying to live for and impress > it won’t matter what people think of me. A friend of mine brought up a book title earlier this week. I had completely forgotten about it until the other day, “You Are Special” by Max Lucado. It’s a story about Punchinello, the wooden Wemmick who believes that he isn’t good enough because of what others say about him. The judgmental, wemmick’s would go around giving each other stickers; a grey dot for things they didn’t like and gold stars for things they did like. Throughout the story, he is given many grey dots and is so discouraged by all the bad things the others say and think about him until he meets a girl wemmick named Lucia who had no stickers on her. They wouldn’t stick because she didn’t care about what the other wemmick’s thought of her. As you continue and read the story, we find out that she spends her days with the wood carver that made all the wemmick’s. Spending time with Him, she learned that He loved her simply because He made her – and that would never change. So why should she care about what others thought of her? That story, honestly is one of my most favorite books. Hands down.
I don’t know what you’re going through right now, but I’m encouraging you to put your cares for what other people think of you away in a box… and like, mail it to some unknown address where they won’t care about it either. You don’t need anyone’s approval for who you are, what you enjoy, what you think. Focus on the Lord and spending time with Him. Chose not to be afraid of what other people will think of you! Chose to be ruled by freedom.I know one of the big struggles that most people face in some way, shape or form, is with anxiety and worry. We are trying so hard to please others around us and we get ourselves worked up about letting someone down, or dropping the ball. What ever it may be. Let it go. Get off the struggle bus, this is your stop. I know this is something that I’m definitely going to try and conquer with the Lord. What will I do if I’m not afraid of what other people think, meh, live life, love what I do, just keep strolling enjoying it, you know, the usual.
– Stay Satisfied