Do You Care Too Much About What Others Think?

July 5, 2018

 

Well, do you?

 

Yeah. Me too. 

 

I wouldn't say that 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. 

 

Here's the irony about me posting this prayer. I feel anxiety about putting it out there because it is so vulnerable, and I feel a bit worried about what other people will think. But I'm doing it anyway, because, well...who knows. Maybe there is someone else out there who has gotten distracted, too.

 

If that's you, 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 and grace and approval.

 

You are enough!

 

You are!

 

You do not leave me feeling empty.

You do not leave me feeling 

   slighted, 

   or ignored…

   or passed over.

 

You do not listen only to 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—

 

Not because You have to be right 

   or because you have to be 

      the smartest person in the room—

 

But because 

   You know me fully,

   You care for me completely,

   You know my deepest need,

      and You 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

   —not just to make them my words—

   but 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…

   made “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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