Tonight I had a thought...who are we living for, really? I've had this thought several times in my life, but for some reason tonight it took on a little extra meaning. How much of our lives are we living based on past hurts, current expectations, and out of worry of what others might think of us? We don't need to live this way, we are free from the bondage that we're allowing ourselves to live in.
These thoughts came about due to a discussion between my husband and I about what others think about us. Being a lower income family with 6 (soon to be 7) rowdy children, a house that would never make it into the pages of a magazine and a life full of sins and human flaws, we've dealt with our fair share of criticism and judgement. We've tried time and again to please the unpleasable. The family, teacher, boss, or random stranger. Why? Why did we constantly aim to please them, and why did we care if we didn't?
I was given the chance tonight to put some of my thoughts down on...cyber paper? A plea from a young woman sounding so much like myself. A life of her step mother's criticism was getting too much.
Here was my response:
I think the expectations parents or step parents have of their first child especially are extremely high a lot of the time. They love you, and think your perfect, so expect you to be perfect and always meet the plans they have for you. After living my life with a HIGHLY critical and never pleased mother, here's what I came to just this very evening before reading this post...it doesn't matter. Seriously not in the slightest. You can do your best to please these critical people in your life, but you never will. People will always judge you but their judgement is coming from their own past hurts, feelings and beliefs. These are not God's beliefs of you, and that's why He is the ONLY one we should aim to please. If you think it would please God to please someone else (IE: your husband) then that's what He wants you to do. Living your life caring about others opinions of you and trying to please them will result in constant disappointment, but living a life trying to please God can only end well. These people who judge and criticize are going through their own issues, ones that we can't fix but that we can pray God does. Sorry for the long ramble, but I was very excited to come to this point today, and really not let the way others see me affect me anymore, I live for God, and I know He loves what He sees.
And He does you know, He absolutely loves what He sees in you!
This isn't an excuse to not care about others at all, as Christians we are called to love others, and doing what God is calling each of us to is exactly what we need to be focused on.
I think however, as Christians we care tremendously how people view us. We want them to see a good example of what Christ is and what He can do in their life. We strive to be perfect so others can see us as perfect so everyone can think Christ is perfect and will make you perfect and end up expecting everyone else to be perfect. It's exhausting just saying it, yet we're trying to live it! We get it wrong. Christ is perfect! So perfect in fact that He can take horribly messed up sinful people and save them.
He can open the eyes that have been blind to their sin, give them the strength to stand and walk again, and heal their past hurts so they can once again come to life!!
Jesus loves us, not because we're perfect. He loves us, because He loves us! We don't have to please Him to achieve His love.
~We minister to others through our life, not by being perfect, but by knowing we are loved even in our imperfections.
~We minister by letting go of the bondage of this world that we hold on to, and knowing our freedom can be found in loving and living for a God who asks for nothing but our love in return.
~We minister by standing out and being different, not by following the crowd in order to please others and to not draw attention to ourselves. People will judge us for living this way, but they will also see something different and start to question what that is.
~We minister by understanding we are no different than those who judge or criticise us. That we are all equally flawed sinful people, all with a savior who loves us and strives to continually bring us closer to Him, regardless of where on that path we currently are.
Praying you spend your day not living under the expectations of others, but giving your all to live your life exactly as God is asking you to, regardless of what others think.
Galatians 1:10 ESV
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.