It's such a deadly trap that so many of us get into, the listening, believing and living for man rather than God. We are all in some ways, people pleasers. And for myself, that has been a long and painful lesson that recurs. For as long as I can remember I have been in the business of pleasing others. So consumed sometimes with other people's opinion that it takes a tole on my health, my family, my entire life. It has changed the way I parent, am a wife, a christian and even how I have viewed myself. Some days, it has completely consumed me. Because I have let it.
There have been days I have questioned everything about the choices I've made, my priorities, what should be important to me, based on what someone has said to or about me! Ha! And who am I? Not anyone important I assure you, but often times the target of accusations, and judgements (aren't we all?).
Are those opinions important? Maybe. Are they valid? Perhaps. Should they completely alter my day, my life? Absolutely not. Are they Godly? Do they have spiritual implications? Nope!Do they hurt and scar.....yes.
That is when I almost physically have to let go others' ideas of how I should be. I have to look to God, and only God to answer the accusations and questions come. Sometimes this also means cutting out those who are critical, building walls of protection around my heart. Not out of hardness and anger but out of knowing that those who are critical in an ungodly way, mean you no good. Their intent is not to bring you closer in your relationship with God and help you grow. I have found I have to guard my heart very closely. Because the opinions of others are.....just that.
I know I am not alone in this. Are you being persecuted? Are you being criticized, judged, condemned for doing good? It could be by those closest to you, your spouse, family, friends or complete strangers. For having too many kids, or not enough, for staying in or trying to repair a broken marriage, for making choices that are best for your family or children that others don't approve of, for being a doormat, for not making enough money, or making too much, for not having a "good" career, for parenting, for your lack of housekeeping skills, for staying home or going to work, for being too skinny too fat too pretty or not pretty enough. The list goes on, and on. And when those who are in the wrong lash out, sometimes it's an innocent bystander that gets taken down. Are you that person?
Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
verse 14 " Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."
I know, I know your human infallible mind is screaming that it's not fair....how? HOW do I bestow honor, wish someone well, invoke divine favor upon someone who has just cut me to my core? I don't know, but I do know that God's words says we should. That we will be blessed to be obedient to His word and do those things. Being faithful in prayer is a start. Even in the very midst of the problem, urgent prayers for strength not to retaliate in anger, not to (verse 17) "repay evil with evil".....(verse21) "Do not be overcome by evil, but over come evil with good."
Why!? Why should you continue to do good, to live to honor God in the middle of all of this! Because God is using this to draw you closer to Him. He is using this to Glorify Himself, though it may not be now that you see the results.
Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
All things, yes even this, work towards His purpose. One we can't even begin to fathom when we are stuck in the much and mire. He truly IS greater than I, He knows infinitely so much more than I do, especially in this time at this particular moment. I have no choice but the either drown, taking my eyes and heart off of Him, or trust. Beyond what seems possible. Trust.
No matter what swirling is going on around you. It comes down to trusting the Lord. In the end that is all you can do.