First of all, I should just go ahead and say: I am a very self conscious and insecure person. I just am. I always have been. I over analyze everything and I'm always worried that I'm going to make mistakes. I have a fear of not measuring up to other people's standards or of not living up to their expectations. And, when I don't, I often feel like a failure or like I'm not good enough. I think I've gotten better and lightened up a bit over the years, but I still have a tendency to be that way. Ever felt like that?
Well, I've always tried telling myself that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I need to just live my life for God to the best of my ability and not worry about other people. But, you know what? That is sooo much easier said than done. We humans have a natural desire to fit in and please people. But, the fact is, the more we worry about what other people think about us, the more we tend to fall into the patterns of this world. I mean, think about it. It's easy to fit in with the world. It really is. What's hard is standing out. Especially standing out for Christ.
You see, I know God is calling me to do something different, and the only thing I can do is just trust Him and follow His plan. But, my biggest problem is that what I'm doing doesn't look "normal" to the world. So, I get criticized for it. And, that's hard. But, get this: Christian life is not supposed to be easy. There are countless verses to prove this statement. I'll just share a couple with you.
II Timothy 2:3~ Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
I Peter 4:16~ but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
I've come to realize that God has set standards for my life. God has expectations for me. And, I don't have to live up to the expectations or standards of anyone else but Him. If I base my success or my failure on what others think, I'm going to end up extremely disappointed. Humans are imperfect and they're not always going to give me the answer or the reaction that I want or need. I'll give you two examples.
- When we're trying to follow what God has for our lives, we have to die to self and accept God's plan as more important than our own. It's a John 3:30 thing. "He must increase, but I must decrease." But, sometimes we get undesirable reactions from people. We are told that what we're doing isn't good enough and we'll never go anywhere or doing anything in life because of what we're choosing to do. But, my question is: Who do we let be the judge of that? Why should we let ourselves believe that following God's calling on our life is unimportant? Just because other people think that we should be doing something else? Personally, I believe that God's plan for me is better than my own plan for myself.
- Sometimes we get a reaction from the other side of the spectrum. Maybe we are told that we ourselves are not good enough for the task that we feel God has called us to accomplish. And, we start to believe that we actually aren't good enough or that we're inadequate. Well, let me tell you something: We are not good enough. And, we never will be. On our own. But, here's the good news! II Corinthians 3:5 tells us that we are inadequate in ourselves, but that our adequacy is from God! By God's grace, we are good enough to walk out His plan for our lives. We just have to do it! :)
So, my point is, if God calls me to do something, I need to automatically say "Here I am Lord, use me!" regardless of what others may think. Instead of listening to all of the other voices and opinions around me telling me what I should or should not be doing with my life, I need to tune God in more than anyone else. I read this verse the other day and it really hit me:
Colossians 2:8~ See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
Instead of doing things just because someone else thinks that you should be doing it, why don't we try listening to God's voice and following Him? I don't want to do things just because I was talked into it by someone else or because it's "normal" or because it's what people expect. I want to do things according to Christ and His plan.