Don’t you hate it when people judge you? You see the look in their eye or the slight shake of their head. It’s just plain annoying. You know they are thinking things about you and most likely they don’t have the full story but it’s not like you can walk around explaining yourself to people all the time. So what do you do? How do you deal with it?
God has been stretching me in this area for some time now. Last year, during a time when I was feeling particularly misjudged, a friend told me, “People matter to me but their opinions of me don’t.” Whoa! That’s quite an epiphany for a recovering people pleaser, like me. Every time I think I’ve conquered my people pleasing tendencies, God puts me in a situation that shows me I have further to go. But that one thought has helped me repeatedly over the last year. I can care for others without caring what they think of me. Because I honestly can’t control what they think of me. If I’m doing my best to be myself each day, in every situation…to be the person God has made me to be…to please HIM…well that’s all I’m responsible for. If someone misjudges me, that is really between them and God.
I’ll give you an example. It’s a silly one, but hopefully it gets the point across. I have a Bible app on my iPhone that I use most of the time for reading my Bible at home and at church. So in the middle of the sermon when I’m looking up the current scripture on my phone, I guarantee there are people around me who think I’m texting or playing something on my phone instead of listening to the message. I have two options. I can change what I do…bring in my regular Bible and use that because I don’t want to be judged. Or, I can just choose to not care. I can trust that God will deal with them in his own time. I have my reasons for using my phone. I already have it with me and it’s much quicker and quieter, finding the various scriptures on the screen as opposed to flipping through paper pages. I just prefer it. And I need to be comfortable enough with my decision to not care if others agree with it or not.
When we concern ourselves with what others think of us, we end up wearing masks. We act one way around one person and another way around another person just so they will like us….so they won’t judge us. But that’s an exhausting way to live because it’s not real. Wearing masks all the time is like writing with your left hand all day long even though you’re right-handed. You can do it but it’s messy and tiring.
It’s much more freeing to actually be who you really are and not care if people approve or not. Other people may want to change you and in some cases they may even be right about what you need to change. But the bottom line is that it’s not their job to make you see your faults. That’s God’s job and he does it much better. He is really the only one you need to please and if you’re doing that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.
I’m reminded of the refrain in the old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
If I’m focused on him, the rest will fade into it’s appropriate place. The background.
How about you? Do you wear masks when you go out into the world? Do you feel like you’re writing with the wrong hand all day long? I want to encourage you to take off the mask today and be unapologetically you. You and those around you will be better for it. And then leave me a comment later and let me know how your “mask-less” day went.
Oh…and if you haven’t heard the song “Free To Be Me” by Francesca Battistelli, I highly recommend you check it out on You Tube. Click here: Free to Be Me
P.S. Today’s topic was about when others judge us. Tomorrow I’ll flip that coin and talk about when we judge others. Tune in…if you dare (insert maniacal laugh here…muahahaha).
rebecca ruth books