Is genuine concern about what other’s think… biblical?

 

 

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Many of you may be surprised when I say this, but I have not always been….outgoing.

In fact, I’m a closet introvert. Meaning, I pretend to be outgoing and no one knows the difference. Pulled one over on ya, did I? ;)  

Throughout the years, I’ve gotten progressively better at this feat. As a young child, my fear of others {and what they might think of me} was painfully obvious as I sat alone under the sliding board at recess.

Now, I take a deep breath and ask the Lord to hold my hand while I take the first step towards others. To give a hug, a compliment, a meal, an invitation….

But, like many other people out there, I’ve been guilty of caring too much about what others thinkparticularly about what their thoughts of me might be.

There are times when I truly just want to stay inside…where I’m protected.

If I just keep to my immediate family and a few friends, I won’t open myself up to possible hurts. 

Ministry…it’s a beautiful thing…it’s what we are called to do. But it’s scary. When a person is in ministry…he or she places a huge “bulls eye” on their forehead that gives the message “open for attack”. Christians and non-Christians {and Satan- yes….Satan} can throw fiery darts. This fear…this pain-is the worst. I’ve felt it. I don’t want to feel it again. Too bad… I will {Mark 13:13}. 

What if I come across “too nice” and get mistaken for fake?

What if someone is gossiping about me!? Oh, stick a knife in me, would ya! How could this ever be?!

Did I offend her?

Could it be true that {gasp} someone out there doesn’t like me? Oh, the horror!!!! I could cry all day {seriously}.

Do you know what the problem with all of this is? It’s prideful.

My hand is raised that I’ve forgone treasures in heaven for a poor , poor substitute – a measly praise on Earth. Hooo, haaaa.

Fleshiness can be pretty strong, can’t it?

Blah.  

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” ~2 Timothy 1:7

The bible says we aren’t to fear others…but to be motivated for them, in love. No matter the consequence. If we get thrown under the bus- let us remember our Savior, who died on the cross for us. Oh, the amazing grace! 

As Christians we have to be willing to also die…to ourselves, and in reality. Throughout history, to this day and days to come, until Jesus arrives…there have been, are and will be Martyrs. This humbles me – “Am I willing?” I’m already a dead woman walking…I can’t fear this. My soul has a permanent reservation in heaven.    

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” ~ Ephesians 6:7

The compulsion of pleasing people is bondage at it’s finest …we will never go out and produce the fruit God wills for us if we are constantly second guessing what others opinions of us will be {John 15:8}. We will remain paralyzed in fear that we will goof, offend, or fail completely. God made us for His glory {Isaiah 43:1-7}and we must keep our eyes on the prize… God Himself. If we are doing what honors Him- we are doing the right thing.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

Prepare yourselves ,this is going to sting again…. Constant worry about what other’s think about us…is prideful. What?! I thought it was being genuinely concerned for others?! Nope. We are looking to the left…to the right…but not straight ahead. Our faith is shaken. We are idolizing, not prioritizing.

Let me encourage you today to let the fear of what others think….go. There is so much freedom in this through Christ!

“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.” ~ Ann Voskamp 

Let us not hunger for the adoration of one another…but the process of loving one another through glorifying God first.

Now, do I want to give love and joy to others…uh huuu. Do I want to be loved back? Absolutely.

But Jesus is plenty.

There have been and will be times when the message I send off isn’t what someone wants to hear. I may have to stand up for something biblical, in love-not agree with what a friend is doing, or I could just rub someone the wrong way. A smile aimed at someone who is deeply hurting sometimes isn’t what they are looking for. Heck, someone may not want me to make them a meal because they struggle with cooking and it makes them feel inferior! That is SOOO the opposite of my intentions, but its possible!

But, serving and loving God and others is well with my soul…I need to say that again, Janelle …it is well with my soul.

What will people think if I post this?

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Comments

  1. Janelle – great post and insight. I pray that anyone who meets you will know from the beginning how truly genuine you are! Outgoing or not – you are always there for someone in need. :)

  2. I have read and commented on your blog from the beginning and have always thought of you as one of the most humble, gentle, “put others first”, genuine followers of God. I too am sometimes caring too much about what others might think and am a fake outgoing Bible study leaders–fake as in not naturally outgoing–the rest is genuine :) Thanks for this post!

  3. I. Need. This. Thank you! I definitely have feeling of insecurity, but you’re so rght…it boils down to pride! :/ Thanks for all the scripture to defeat this! What a freedom it will be to get past the fear of other’s opinion. Girl, you hit the nail on the head!!!
    Blessings!
    Leslie

  4. I have to admit, I could have written this… right down to hiding on the playground. “But Jesus is plenty.” thanks

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I too suffer from bouts of shyness and speaking to others about Christ. I’m inspired and I thank the Lord for speaking through you! Blessings to you and yours!

  6. Thank you for your wonderful words these past few days! They have really spoke to me. I don’t know what I have enjoyed more the past year (or two) I have read your blog, your recipes or insights! Have a great week!

    • Thank you so much Elaine! I have been cooking a ton and have so many recipes to share- but Ive felt a pressing to share these past few posts in hopes to help remind myself and prayerfully others.

  7. I used to worry and fret all the time about whether or not people liked me. Or if I was dressed right or if my hair looked good enough. I remember once after I had spent a good bit of time whining my good friend said to me to get off my high horse because I really wasn’t that important! It hurt my feelings at first but then I realized that what she was saying is that I wasn’t the center of attention, everyone was not looking at me or judging me or talking about me. I was definitely prideful. That moment was freeing to me.
    One of the things I taught my children is that you are only responsible for your actions not someone’s reaction. So please give that smile and cook that meal because your intentions are good you can’t control how someone reacts.

  8. Melissa Yoak says:

    This is brilliant! One of your best posts Nell! “dead woman walking”….that’s awesome. Steve reminds of this all the time…

  9. I needed that! Thanks for sharing your heart.

  10. I can’t even tell you how much this post touched my heart today. This is something I need to work on so badly. Boy, do I hear you on being able to cry all day over feeling like someone doesn’t like me, or the genuine worry that something I’ve said or done could be found offensive. I’ve been known to repeat conversations and dissect them in my mind, until I’ve convinced myself I’ve said something foolish. But I am being prideful and selfish, and I so needed these words. So thank you! You are such a blessing.

  11. These words really spoke to me. I hadn’t thought about that pride before, how haughty of myself to think that I should rank so high on someone’s priority list that they should be talking about me, good or bad. And then, to be anxious and worried that it might/could be bad. I’m soaking this in, thanks for the insight.

  12. I have spent most of my life being a “people pleaser” and trying to fit in. I find myself even hurting at the thought of losing my children’s approval at some points. Oh, how I know this is wrong. God is enough. I am a wounded soul from past baggage that keeps me from experiencing all God has for me, by simply loving and serving Him with confidence. I meditate constantly on… “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6. My flesh still becomes weak and Satan fires his darts of insecurity at me when he sees I am most vulnerable. It is a slippery slope, learning to let go of the approval of man, yet continuing to love them as Christ calls us to love them. This has been very challenging for me. When I am hurt by another person, I simply want to shut them out. God calls me to love them…. always. Thank you for this post. I feel every word you typed!! Blessings to you Janelle!!!

  13. LOVE this! I am so often paralyzed by what others may think. Thank you for encouraging me to live for Christ’s opinion alone!

  14. OH WOW!! God really had spoke to me right now through these words. I was sad and depress because i was thinking that i didn’t like to no one in my family and friends and this though was consuming me and making me had problems with my husband and others.
    But now that i read this i understand that the problem are not the other but me and my proud heart. I really need to understand that i am not the center of the universe and only God and his love can satisfied me! This really touch my heart and my mind. Please pray for me.

    Thank you! A lot of blessing for you!!!

  15. Question. What about keeping quiet because we know by speaking up not us but God is ridiculed. I don’t like to speak up when I know the receiver is sarcastic and offensive when speaking about the Lord.

    • Roseann you bring up such a valid question here…there are certainly times when speaking up is on deaf ears. Being effective is so important when being a light to others. Rather than have a serious conflict about biblical premises, you may want to be a light by living out your life in a Christlike way and loving that person. If someone is a Christian and debating- these debates can actually be “iron sharpening iron” – these aren’t bad debates at all…get out that bible and show scripture. This is to be done one on one so not to embarrass that person. Does this answer your question? Such a good one.

  16. Thanks so much Janelle for this reminder…it’s just what I needed today. :)

  17. What an encouraging post. I really needed this. I quite my job at my church a year and a half ago to focus on my daughters (one was a senior and the other a freshman). I only worked part-time which was great since I homeschool my girls. However, since I retired, I have seen the true colors of people who I thought were my friends, but were just pretending. I was so completely hurt that I surrounded myself with my family and one close friend. I’ve felt the nudging of the Lord to get back out, but it is really hard to open my heart of again. Thanks for the encouragement!!

  18. Janelle,
    Thank you for writing so honestly about a struggle that I have had since childhood. God has brought me SO far as I have responded to the truth that it was a pride issue. I can see what He has done in me and continues to do when I fall in this area. He is so faithful and patient and keeps my eyes on Him. God is using you and He is pleased with you!! I am definitely flagging your post to reread!

  19. God works and answers prayer in mysterious ways. Your post today was an answer to prayer. I spent some time this afternoon praying and talking to God about this very subject and then I click on this post. Awesome. No accident, I think. Why do I worry about how to get some people to like me? Why do I need their approval? If I seek and receive God’s approval, nothing else matters. I am printing a copy of this post to put in my Bible and will read over and over again. Thank you so much.

  20. God works and answers prayer in mysterious ways. Your post today was an answer to prayer. I spent some time this afternoon praying and talking to God about this very subject and then I click on this post. Awesome. A co-incidence, I think not. Why do I worry about how to get some people to like me? Why do I need their approval? If I seek and receive God’s approval, nothing else matters. I am printing a copy of this post to put in my Bible and will read over and over again. Thank you very much.

  21. Sabrina W. says:

    Thank you for that scripture, that really motivated me to keep my mind, heart, and soul focused on God, not this world. Which I at times get caught up in. God Bless you!

  22. Laura Ahr says:

    I so needed to be reminded of this today. It really spoke to my heart. It’s amazing how Satan can blind us to pride in our lives, when we think we are being “genuinely concerned” about what others think about us. I have grown up under a very judgmental parent and still feel like I don’t measure up, as this parent is now living with my family. You reminded me that if I’m doing what pleases God, that’s all that matters. Thank you for what you do.
    Laura Ahr

  23. It’s like you’re in my head! Never doing anything because I’m worried about what others might think, paralyzed by fear. Your post really made me think and realize that there is only one whose opinion matters – and He declared His love for me before I was even made! Thanks you!

  24. Thank you for all your wonderful words this week espeically today!

  25. This is such a great article, thank you. Pinning it for sure! :)

  26. Kristen Miller says:

    LOVE this Janelle! You are such a blessing. I love reading your posts!

  27. Wow! never thought about it that way, it is a form of pride! Thanks for sharing!

  28. Hi Janelle,
    I know this post is from January 2013, but it’s just what I’ve been needing to hear. I’ve spent so much time worrying about others and what they think of me to the point that I’ve avoided going family functions and other events. I’ve also avoided answering people’s phone calls, as well.
    Honestly, I never thought that worrying what others though of me was a form of pride, but it is. What God sees is what’s most important. I know that I need to stop trying to please other people and do what pleases God.
    Thank you so much for all of your inspiring words.
    Kay

  29. Janelle,
    I have been seeing a Christian counselor and she told me to journal the negative thoughts that I have been having and find God’s truth about them. The one today is what others think about me, especially lately, my sister, who I have looked up to all of my life and have always wanted to please. Now that we are senior citizens :), you would think that this feeling of pleasing her or trying to measure up to her would be over, but it is not. And something happened recently that has brought up these strong feelings of; “what does she think about me?” So today I googled ” what does the bible say about this” and found your answer. It has really helped and I wanted to say thank you for your words of wisdom!

    • Ohhhh Lisa, thank you so much for sharing that with me. Yes, our irrational thoughts can spiral us into depression. I have had that happen to me as well…it is a tough battle to fight! I am so thankful these words helped you, to God be the glory.

  30. Linda Love says:

    Thank you for your wisdom.

  31. Thank you for this post! This is truly what I’m struggling with right now. Thank you for your words.

  32. My life’s hell because of this fear of what others think of me. The word of god has redeemed me Now, I won’t be afraid at all.No more fear of what others think of me…Phew..I’m relieved!
    Thank you very much. I got to spend more time with jesus to feel his presence and overcome this foolishness

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