Ever since I first started thinking about how other people thought of me, I've been chained. Chained to doing what appealed to them, what they liked, what they said I should do…it became an endless cycle of me asking someone what they thought and then me immediately obeying their suggestion. The things I wanted to do became the things people wanted me to do, the things I did became the things they told me to do. I was a slave to their words. If someone said something negative about me, I would often worry about it until I could "fix the problem" - and if I didn't have a solution, I'd just let it drag me down. When someone said something really positive about me, I was literally walking on cloud ten for the next couple weeks, until someone said something negative, and then the cycle would repeat. I wanted to be accepted, and to me, this was the way to do it. And, I guess, I am also a born people-pleaser, which can definitely be good or bad!
I was so used to someone criticizing me all the time, judging me for every single thing I did - from the things I'd say even to the way I breathed "too loudly" that I became afraid of sharing my heart with people. I tried to do everything right so that I could maybe avoid a harsh comment or look, and I was constantly asking person after person what they thought of the things I did or accomplished or who I was. I became so concerned about fitting in - being accepted - that I forgot who I was. All I remembered was the slap of the negative comment and the feeling that I just wasn't good enough. Wasn't pretty enough. Wasn't talented enough. Wasn't everything enough.
I lost the person I used to be and felt I was supposed to be - and to this day, I'm still trying to get back. On the outside, I look almost like the same person I had been before. People would tell me that I was so "perfect" and always knew what to do and was wise and all that, but on the inside, I felt like a completely different person most of the time. My actions seemed like they were matched up with what it should be, but my heart wasn't. I am sorry to say that many - but not all- of the things I did was out of a desire to feel accepted, liked and admired. I had been corrected and judged so much that I was always fighting the negative when I knew I should focus on the positive. I knew that God loved me as I was, but I wanted to be accepted by my friends and my family.
Whenever I'm with certain types of people, I find myself doubting who I am, questioning my personality, my gifts, everything…I just sink into this hole and pull the dirt in over me. I've told myself that I didn't belong so many times that if it wasn't true before, it is now. I've tried and tried but conversation always seems to die when I'm around. People say all these nice things to my face, but their actions say otherwise…was I actually accepted, or were they just doing that because that's what they'd been trained to do?
For a little less than a year now, I've been trying to break free. To grasp the freedom of doing what God wanted me to do instead of what people around me wanted me to do all the time. To change the way I had been thinking and replace it with a more positive mindset, to constantly be reminded of who I was in Christ and that He had accepted me with all of my many flaws and let me into the Kingdom of GOD. To not let what people say about me matter - the bad or the good and to stay rooted and grounded in faith. To make sure I was being positive and encouraging to those around me, because I knew how much pain and insecurity can grow from one seed of negativity. It's a hard task, because being negative is really easy to do, but nothing is impossible with God, right? I certainly haven't mastered any of the things I just listed, but it's getting easier and easier as I continue to do them.
In the world that we're growing up in, it's hard to be a Christian. But the Bible tells us that the world isn't going to accept us. 1 John 3:13 says, "Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you" and John 15:19 says that "if you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." Jesus told us that we would not be accepted by the world, and yet here we are, trying to do something that cannot happen. We're trying to be liked by the world, and when fall short, we just try again. We get caught up in the race of the world to have the best clothes, grades, talents, date…the whole hoopla.
Even on our best days, we all need reminding of who we are in Christ. When we don't know and forget, it's even easier for the devil to get in and it's in those moments especially when we start chasing after acceptance, pulling ourselves down, and believing Satan's lies. But let me help you out and remind you of who you are:
FEARFULLY + WONDERFULLY MADE
R WORTH DYING FOR
E GOOD ENOUGH
PERFECT IN HIS EYES
No matter what the world says about you, remember that God accepts you as you are. He loves you as you are. He chose you as you are. But He also has so much more in store for you, and He wants you to break free of the limits you've put on yourself and become the person God created you to be. That doesn't mean that because He accepts you, you're free to go sin and do whatever you want. Ever heard the phrase "Hate the sin, not the sinner"?
But He will always, always, always accept you into His family, regardless of your biggest, worst sin, regardless of all the lies you've told and the hate you may have spread. All you have to do is believe! He sees something in you that maybe you don't see in yourself, and He wants to show that to you. Pray that He'd open your eyes to see people as He sees them. To see yourself the way He sees you. Don't live your life trying to be accepted by humans. Live your life knowing that God accepts you as who you are.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."