Friday, November 16, 2007

Asking for Blinders

When I confessed my feelings of weakness to her, she came back with an unexpected response. She said, "I found that I did not feel strong even when people said it until I faced some fears I have. I have really dealt with those and it has made a huge difference in how strong I feel."

Hmm. . .I had to think on that for a while and pray over it.

Lord, is there something I'm afraid of? Do I have some fears I need to face?

You're afraid people won't like you.

What's wrong with that? I know I want people to like me and what I have to say, and it bothers me when they don't, but why is that a problem? I'm discovering that doing what God has asked me to do does not shelter me from conflict. Some people may be critical and judgmental and assume all kinds of things about me that may or may not be true. There will be some I love and respect who disagree with me. I have a hard time reconciling that. How can that be? How can believers see things so differently sometimes? Yet, situations like this are documented throughout the Bible. Job and his friends did not see his situation the same. Paul and Barnabas did not see eye to eye. Jesus' own people, the Jews, thought Him a radical.

What does my fear reveal? Distrust. Doesn't the Holy Spirit work within me? If I am seeking God and consistently in His word and praying and growing in my faith, how can I mess things up? Can't God take even disagreements that may arise and make them into something good? Am I trying to please men instead of God?

I know this is a pretty simple concept and in my head I understand I can't please everybody, but apparently my heart hasn't accepted the message. Worrying about what other people might think is holding me back. The same woman who gently suggested I deal with my fear also said, "If you're living a life without conflict or pain, you're playing it awfully safe." If I'm playing it safe, am I burying my talent? If I drag my feet in God's work, worried about the impressions of others, is that sin?

Any great work for God requires risk. Just ask Moses, Gideon, Esther, Paul, and Rahab. Why should I be immune? Am I willing to sacrifice acceptance, even by other believers, to obey God? Do I really have a choice?

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

Fearing people, and what they may think of me, rather than Almighty God is sin. I cannot do that anymore. Lord, help me confidently forge ahead in focused determination for You.

Photo Credit: minusbaby


Brenda said...

2 Corinthians 2:19 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest upon me."

Robyn said...

Boy, you sure are talking about what I struggle with!! This is something I have struggled with my whole life. Recently God has really been working with me on this.

I have been trying to rethink the whole concept of self-esteem. Isn't this what we tell ourselves? Isn't this heavily influenced by others? I am trying to retrain my mind in a sense to have Christ-esteem. That is where I look for my complete worth from Him. Its kind of scary, though, because what He wants isn't always pleasing to others!!

Great post Tami, as always!!

e-Mom said...

You have some nice introspections here, Tami.

It seems like there's a continuum between standing up for Truth and being in mutually fulfilling relationships. Pleasing others is part of the latter, and being uncompromising toward God is part of the former.

Often, I find myself caught in the middle of that continuum, unwilling to deny Truth, yet wanting to be malleable and tender in my relationships. It's a hard line to walk. Sometimes we will be unpopular for our beliefs, and receive flak for standing up for them. Other times, the battle is really so small, it's not worth fighting over. I believe we need to chose our battles carefully for the overall sake of harmony. Wanting to please people isn't always a bad thing. :~D

Thanks for sparking some deeper thoughts today! Blessings, e-Mom

Dianne said...

lots to think about here, Tami. i too struggle with needing the approval of others but it's something i'm working on. your friend is right, facing our fears does help us grow stronger.

Molly Coddled said...

Do you think this is a common struggle for women? I seem to know so many, myself included, that struggle with being a people-pleaser. My husband? He was born with extra-long blinders on and couldn't care less what people think so long as he believes he's doing the right thing.

Brenda said...

It's Thanksgiving morning! Happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for you Tami.