Earlier last week my oldest daughter had to write a short paper in class regarding which was more important to the students; was it having integrity or having the approval of their peers. This resulted in a good conversation with my daughter and me. The obvious choice was that integrity is more important because one day we’ll all have to stand before God and give an account for our own lives. What is more important is what we stood for, not who approved of us. I’ve often said that the only opinions that matter of yourself in life are yours and God’s.
While this topic caused a nice conversation between us, I found later in the week I was tested in this area. It’s easy to say one doesn’t care about the approval of their peers, but let’s be honest we all want liked by those around us. I had a situation arise and I needed to handle the situation. I loathe being confrontational. But I had to make a stand in an issue. Most people assume that just because I’m bold about my opinions that the thoughts of others don’t get to me. I would say I’m getting better in this, but truthfully in some instances I’ll tell you like it is, and then go in a corner and weep. Most people don’t know that about me, but it’s true. I realized this week that as the events played out, it’s not the necessary the fear of man that is what gets to me. It’s the fear of being misunderstood. Truthfully if I have to tell someone off, in a sense, and I have already mentally accepted that they are going to be against me, it doesn’t get to me. But I struggle with being misunderstood to people I care about. I loathe drama, controversy, and chaos especially when I’m being blamed for it. I hate it when my intentions are misunderstood.
As I had to face this issue that arose in my life this week, I realized that while I struggle with a fear of being misunderstood the root of this comes back to a fear of peoples’ approval. While ultimately I’d choose integrity over that, I struggle with letting the fear go whether I am misunderstood or people just don’t like me. This situation that occurred left me in tears for too long. While I have long since known this was a pattern in my life, something in me snapped. So what if I’m misunderstood? God knows my heart on the matter. Those that know me and love me know my intentions in this situation were good. I’m sure when Jesus was going to the cross his intentions were misunderstood. I’m sure the disciples had dozens of random thoughts running through their minds. People will choose to believe what they want. I cannot let the fear of what others are thinking or not thinking block me from moving forward. Fear of people keeps you bound, and I am making a very public choice to let it go.
People will misunderstand me, and often may not like me, but it’s my choice on how I handle it. I CHOOSE to have a sound mind! I CHOOSE not to keep letting this issue drag me through the mud. I CHOOSE not to lose one more night of sleep over this. I CHOOSE to smile and love people regardless of what they might think my motives are because really it just doesn’t matter what they think. It matters what God thinks.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
So perhaps I’m not the only one who is reading this today who has struggled in this area. Maybe my very real, very public confession has made you realize that you find yourself in the same traps. May you join me today in my wake up call to my new way of thinking. I used to sing “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, Please Lord don’t let me be misunderstood” by the Animals as some theme song in these situations. http://youtu.be/vstNm5xzuKM But now I think I’ll change the song to “No More Shackles No More Chains, I am Free” From Freedom by Eddie James http://youtu.be/XL8a5s2rzLk
Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited.