I have never been one for New Year's Resolutions but this year God just so happened to be laying something on my heart towards the end of the year so I thought I would put it into play beginning with the new year.
So many times I fall into the trap of caring about what other people think. Do you do this?
"What will they think?"
"Oh, did I hurt their feelings by saying no even though I am ran ragged and cannot attend another event?"
"Will still believe I'm thankful even though the thank you card didn't go out until two weeks later?"
"Oh, I was just trying to love on that person, will they take it the wrong way?"
"Will they think my children actually learn?"
"Oh no, Jordan messed up on spelling yellow, what will they think!"
"What will they think if my children go to the store with a stain on their clothes or hair messed up?"
"That was meant for encouragement, will they get their feelings hurt?"
What's sad is there have been times these things have happened to me (and to you too I'm sure); therefore I have been scarred. I am so worried about what others might think about me that I always make sure to let them know what I did, why I did it, etc.
Jesus invites that part of us to die, the part of us that always has to be right, the part of us that always has to look good; he says, let it all go.
Only God knows the true intentions of our heart; sometimes we don't even know them! We do not have to be worried about how others perceive us as long as we are living our life in holy righteousness, trusting God for convictions and teaching.
I love this portion of Davids cry out to God in the Psalms:
33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then I will answer the one who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love,
and I meditate on your decrees.
It is the delight of my little heart to pitter patter after the Almighty, the I AM.
I don't know why I have the longing I have, but I am so thankful for it. I can't imagine how empty I must have felt before God came into my life.
I love learning about Him, I love changing and learning how to be more like Him, how to display Him better. For this desire I am forever thankful!
Anyway... God knows all of that about me, he knows my hearts desire to live for him in every way. I must live in faith knowing that he knows my true desires and he is convicting my spirit to live as it should and QUIT living in fear of what others think.
Bless my little hubby's heart, he is always reminding me..."We do not do things for the praises of man, let them think what they want; God knows my heart, my intentions." Then I say, "I know honey, but they might think this or that..." He is too good for putting up with me =)
For some reason this year I am looking forward to the freshness of a new year. God has been teaching me so much about life lately and I have just enjoyed sittin' back and soaking it all in. The other day in my stillness before the Lord, while reading in the book Ecclesiastes, one thing stood out to me:
"...And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind..." spoken by Solomon, wisest and richest. Ecc. 4:4 NIV
I do not think envy motivates me, like I said... it is fear. But, in a way it is all the same, I think. I want others to like me, to understand where I am coming from, to not think I am crazy, to understand all of my intintions, etc. If someone has real good kids and mine are acting up, I want to explain why. If my food doesn't taste like it should I want to explain how it is usually better than that nights protion. Those are just the little things. Those can drive me crazy enough. But never being able to say no to an activity because I am afraid they will think I don't support what they are doing. Or not saying no to some kind of a home party because I am afraid they won't have a good turn out. All of it together can drive me insane.
I just want to love people. If they find something wrong with how I do it I cannot help that. If I can not make it to an event or have to be late on a reply to something, or a thank you card and they get upset, that is their thing... I did my best. Not because I have to but because I love to!
Above all, I feel set free. Chances are, it all chalks up to what I said, FEAR and the actuality of it all is probably minimal (the actuality of people really always thinking bad of me).
Isn't it so stupid?
I must say, gaining wisdom is a wonderful thing! I love to learn more about being free of the burdens of this life.
May you be encouraged as you are released from your chains of fear and embrace the beauty of freedom available to you from your creator. Blessings to you of wisdom in this "new" year and years to come as you walk in the joy of the Lord!
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4 NIV