Sometimes I get preoccupied with how other people perceive me.
I think that all of our moves over the past several years have fed this fear I have of being misunderstood or judged for one careless word or action that could damage the relationship forming between me and another person.
As I was reading my Bible and journaling this morning, God spoke to me once again about his love for me on the journey.
I am aware that there are areas in my life where I need to grow.
I am not a completed work.
And God is so sweet and tender in how He reassures me of his love for me right where I am.
He loves me despite the fact that sometimes I talk too much and don’t listen enough.
He loves me even though sometimes I let my emotions dictate too much in my life instead of keeping my mind in steadfast trust in Him.
He has helped me learn to laugh more and be thankful for things that I used to take for granted- that I didn’t even see.
He has shown me the sweet blessing of sitting in His presence and lingering in His Word- of beginning to invite Him into my daily life and seeking His face, seeking His presence continually.
And I know I have to let go of this preoccupation with how others see me.
I am who I am.
I know whose I am.
I am not perfect.
I will make mistakes and say things I shouldn’t.
But He knows my heart.
I want to be sensitive to times when I may need to ask for forgiveness when I have hurt someone, but I also know there are times when I need to let go of speculation about what someone MIGHT be thinking about me and release it into the Lord’s hands.
As I was reading in “Ragamuffin Gospel” this morning, these two quotes stood out to me:
“Freedom in Christ produces a healthy independence from peer pressure, people-pleasing, and the bondage of human respect…”
“For most of us it takes a long time for the Spirit of freedom to cleanse us of the subtle urges to be admired for our studied goodness. It requires a strong sense of our redeemed selves to pass up the opportunity to appear graceful and good to another person.”
“Strong sense of our redeemed selves” really stood out to me.
I don’t want to be enslaved by this pressure to please everyone. I can’t.
And as I surrender all those things that I cannot control, I pray that I would simply choose to focus on one choice that I can make each day- with the words Joshua used to challenge the Israelites all those years ago.
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I choose this day to serve you Lord, and to seek to please you first. May no other love (including the applause of others) ever take your place.
Oh Lord, you know how I still struggle with this daily. Just yesterday at that birthday party, and the thoughts that filled my head on my way home. I want to be loved and accepted. Please help me remember that I am! You love me just as I am. Your love never changes. You are steadfast. Lord, each time that I am overlooked, or left alone while all the other Moms pair up and talk, may I respond in those moments to you in simple faith and trust. May I say in my heart- Savior, I remember that you were despised and rejected by men. You were spit on and humiliated. In this moment- what I experience cannot compare to what you went through for me. May I be willing to endure hardships and struggles in this life, remembering all that you went through that I might be made clean and reconciled to God. I trust you to provide all I need in your own perfect timing. May my words and actions today be pleasing in your sight. I rest in you, and the knowledge that I am fully known and fully loved today. In Jesus I pray and give thanks, Amen.