For the last thirty years, I’ve been a people-pleaser to some degree or another. It’s changed as I’ve grown, matured, moved, faced different circumstances, been surrounded by different people and so forth.
In Elementary school, I remember saying and doing different things that I wouldn’t have done from what I’d been taught at home, simply because I wanted to be part of the popular crowd.
In High School, this escalated in a totally different directions. I was really desperate for affirmation, acceptance, love, popularity, and belonging that I essentially had to start living two lives. What – A – Mess!!
Once I graduated high school, I carried a TON of these bad habits with me into my adult life because it’d been what I’d used to survive until that point. This proved to start my adult life in a horrible direction. I had to start dealing with three realities. The person I was, the person people thought I was, and the person I use to be.
If anything has ever served as an intense, painful, but life-changing inescapable truth in my life, it’s that
Nothing you say or do gets erased this side of eternity. The negative consequences of your past can follow you wherever you go, even if you’re forgiven.
It wasn’t until about 3 years ago when I really established myself with some good Christian friends who didn’t know anyone else I knew, didn’t have preconceived ideas about who I was, and had their own pasts they were
running from forgiven for, that I settled into accepting that not everyone was going to like me in life. And that had to be OK.
I struggle with the feeling that people think negative or mean things about me. I genuinely want good things for everyone – I don’t wish ill on anyone. I feel so misunderstood when I know people think I’m cruel or rude.
For a long time, I teetered between being honest about my convictions at all, and then being too harsh about them. It’s a tough balance to stand firm in what you believe, but not tick off anyone who doesn’t agree with you.
Another great point to realize is that in life – MOST PEOPLE TAKE EVERYTHING PERSONALLY!!!!
And since the gospel is offense to those who don’t live by it, and I believe the gospel is infallible, it’s unavoidable that I’m going to upset people personally.
I try to explain to my kids that peer pressure, wanting people to like you, wanting to fit in, and wanting to be accepted are simply not things only children struggle with. This is just as real a temptation for adults as it is children. But accepting at a younger age that compromise only leads to painful consequences might make for a brighter future than pressing on through the murky waters of double standards your whole life.
I saw this picture this week and I think it sums it up pretty well.
Practical Application -
We just added this phrase to our kitchen wall this week. It is the first thing you see as you enter our home, and it’s above our kitchen table so when we sit for supper each night and talk about our days – we have this truth above us to guide us.
The approval of the Lord matters more than the applause of man.