Now for my second greatest fear... that would be YOU!
As I was reading my Bible this morning God spoke to my heart about a struggle I have dealt with for as long as I can remember.
Paul tells the churches in Galatia: "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? If I was still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ."
I have a deep-seeded fear of man! So deep that I don't even realize it's the reason I make many of my choices.
Choices to disobey God, in an effort to look good to others.
So what is it that I'm afraid of?
That you'll think that I'm:
a bad parent, emotional, disorganized, not smart enough, tell stupid jokes, talk weird and am easily excited, faithless, that you're better than me, that I'm not skinny enough, that I have a messy house, that I lack self discipline, that I cry too much, that I get too easily involved in other people's problems, that I don't really love you, that I'm lazy, that I spend too much time on the computer, that I'm not a good blogger, that I'm not pretty, and SO MANY OTHER THINGS!
So then I sin. I try to cover up who I really am.
Maybe I lie, or pretend to know something I don't.
I am not being REAL.
Even in my previous post I edited and edited some more. I kept thinking that I'm not a writer, I can't spell, and I often use too many exclamation points but I have to make it better, so you'll keep coming back.
I AM TIRED!
Tired of focusing on what others may or may not be thinking about me. I am sick of being so self absorbed that I regret saying something stupid, for hours after I say it. I no longer want to plaster on a fake smile, because I'm so nervous about embarrassing myself I can't even focus on what you're saying.
I am ready to lay this fear down. If I care about pleasing MEN I cannot be a bond-servant for CHRIST.
That statement slaps me in the face.
People will always judge me, only God will accept me where I am. I have to keep my eyes on Him.
The Word and the Will of God are offensive.
I can no longer seek the approval of man, if I want the abundant life God has promised.
"He said to me, "'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
A few things happen in my heart when I live in this state of fear:
1) I try to deny it to you and myself, thus lying to both of us. I am not perfect, so I try to excuse myself from my own imperfections. The problem with that? I cannot grant myself grace, only excuses as to why I am not good enough. Those are worthless. God's grace to be imperfect however is just what I need.
I need to live by the mentality that I am a work in progress, and any changes that are made in me come from Him and not from me. I can't earn His favor, and I don't have to!
When I start to make excuses for why my house isn't clean, or I am not spending enough time with my kids, I start to get prideful.
Not only do I begin to believe I am doing the best I can (which I'm probably not), I also forfeit His grace, because I no longer need it. In my mind I am not weak so there is no place for His power in me to make me better.
2) I lose my focus on what God thinks about how I'm living my life.
The only opinion that matters is God's.
He has the final say about every choice I make (at least He does if I'm seeking to please Him, and Him alone).
God views of life and man's views are completely different. God can see everything we can't. I hope I would never lead a friend or family member to do anything apart from what God is speaking to them.
Today, I am trying to refocus. To remember who I am here for. I am here to glorify Him, and not myself. I pray that I would grow stronger every day in my commitment to him, and be less concerned about what those around me may be thinking.
Do you struggle with the fear of man? If so what are some ways you refocus?