We all have a story. We all have secrets. We all hold wounded pieces of our hearts together. We all desire to be loved. We all feel the need to be accepted, after all we are humans who thrive off of relationships. We invest our time, energy, resources, and hearts into feeling valued; it's what we do… but where does it end?
As I reflect on this year, I believe I’ve learned, or started learning, one of life's biggest lessons; the one your parents tell you over and over again when you’re a teenager. It’s that one that we all think we’ve learned, but if we were completely honest with ourselves we’d realize we haven't quite arrived. It’s that one that causes a lot of trouble at times…
It’s caring about what other people think.
If there’s one thing in life that can totally steal your joy, stunt your growth, and take you away from God's calling; it’s other people. Too often we allow others to dictate our thoughts and actions. We do things just to get their approval, to feel liked, to fit in. Sounds pretty juvenile doesn't it? That's because it is, yet grown men and women all around the world do the craziest things every day in the hopes of winning others approval.
Without going into detail (because somethings just need to remain private) the first six months of 2016 were rough for me. I’ve never been the type of person to lose sleep over issues or situations, or let circumstances change my demeanor, but that's where I found myself. While there were many things that created the mountain I had to work through, I came to realize 90% of my problems were due to other people’s thoughts, not my own. I allowed what other people thought of me to dictate my life for a few months. How embarrassing to admit.
The countless conversations my poor husband had to listen to, the days I spent in a funk because I couldn’t move past the hurt and fog that was overtaking me. It’s a hard thing to let go sometimes, but I can’t begin to explain the relief I felt when I decided to stop trying... to stop trying to please people whose opinion of me didn’t really matter. I had to stop caring! I know that sounds harsh, but you have to decide who and what you care about. Once you’ve figured out what matters most, it’s actually easy to let all the other stuff fade away.
My encouragement to you would be to stop trying so hard you’re actually letting other people dictate your thoughts and actions. Those thoughts are distractions that keep you away from God's plan and purpose for your life. So stop so trying so hard! You’re working against yourself.
You will never make everyone happy, and you will never feel whole if you’re continually seeking approval from anyone outside of Christ. People will always fail you, and you’ll fail them too. There will always be someone to knock you when you’re down, get back up and be the better person. Stop holding yourself back, remember the Devil will use whatever and whoever to keep you from your full potential in Christ.
I know this isn’t a sappy reflective post one would normally expect for a New Year's, but what can I say? I’m far from sappy. Let’s be real, life isn’t always full of roses: there are thorns that need to be cut off. I hope you can make 2017 the year that you seek God's approval and find completion in Him.