• Rev. Susan Eaton

Do You Care Too Much About What Others Think?

Well, do you?

Yeah. Me too.

I wouldn't say I walk around under a cloud of worry and fear about what other people think of me. In fact, I have grown in this particular area immensely as I've gotten older. Nevertheless, I still have days when I am vulnerable to self-doubt and fear. And on those days I am more easily triggered by the comments and actions of others.

I was having one of those weeks when I wrote the prayer below. The morning I wrote this prayer, God helped me see that letting myself get dejected over certain words or actions of others is self-pity, which is just another form of pride.

On one side, pride is all about self-glorification, self-promotion, putting yourself first so that others will praise you and think highly of you. On the other side, pride is self-pity. Everything is still all about you: What someone said, or how they looked at you, or how they didn't look at you. Either way, you are still the main focus of your attention.

The struggle is real. And the enemy doesn't care which side of pride you choose. Either way, he's gotten your eyes and ears off the One who always speaks truth to you.

That's why in the first line of this prayer I say seeking the approval of others is "an evil thing." It's evil, not because we are evil, but because its source is evil. And the intent of it is to distract us from who our God is, who we are in Him, and who we can become in Him.

If he can keep us distracted and self-focused, he can also keep us off mission. When we are too concerned about ourselves, we don't see the people around us who need our love and encouragement.

If you can relate, I pray that you will let the words of this prayer remind you that God always sees you and will always lift you up. He is never too busy for you, nor does He view himself as too important to listen to you and speak to you. We can trust him completely, and our lives flourish when we humble ourselves before him.

Let's take our eyes off ourselves, shall we? And let's fix them on the One who matters.

*****************************

It is an evil thing that I would seek

the approval of others and not simply

rest in Your love, grace, and acceptance.

You are enough!


You do not leave me feeling empty.

You do not leave me feeling

slighted,

or ignored,

or passed over.

You do not listen to only half

of what I say while concerning

Yourself with someone more

important than me.

You are fully engaged with me.

You listen to every word I say.

You are focused on me,

and You speak straight into

the heart of whatever matter

I bring to You.

You know me fully,

care for me completely,

know my deepest need,

and have my best interest at heart.

You speak in order to fill me—

not to deplete me.

You have never made me feel

like I am less important or

less worthy.

You lift me up.

You raise me higher.

You call me to mission

and give me Your authority.

You share Your words with me

and lovingly challenge me

to make them

my life,

my way of

thinking,

and doing,

and being.

So why would I busy myself

and bother my mind with

concern for what others think

or how they perceive me?

You are Who matters.

I should concern myself

with listening to what

You say.

And then get busy

lifting others up,

loving them,

and glorifying you.

Who cares if I am

seen,

noticed,

called out,

“important.”

It doesn’t matter!

A life lived in total honesty,

love, humility, and selflessness

before You is what matters.

You, Lord.

You are Who matters.

You are the Lifter of my head.

You.

Sweet,

Holy,

All-Consuming,

All-loving,

You.

Forgive me.

Dismantle me.

Tear down anything in me

that is a tower to myself

and my own glory.

Then put me back together, Lord,

as you see fit.

"Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."

James 4:10




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