Ever have one of those days where you just don’t think you can please anyone? Even yourself. Maybe it was one of those years and you just kept hitting brick wall after brick wall.
I know some people who could care less if everyone likes them. I know myself and I know that I care. For some reason I just take too seriously how even little things can come across as someone not liking me. I want everyone to be happy and when I disturb that I feel it deeply. When someone doesn’t like me, misunderstands me or is even simply frustrated with me I dwell on it, I struggle in it and I worry about why and how I can fix it.
I wish I wasn’t so sensitive, but I also recognize that sometimes this sensitivity is something God uses in me as well. When I get rejected though, I can tank.
Here’s the deal. We will not always like each other. We can be the best us we can be and still someone will just not like us. When this happens, I am realizing that I must find my identity solely in HIM. I cannot find my worth in the one who does not care for me or know me like Christ does. We also can’t find our worth and our identity in our husbands, children or best friends. These people can be our biggest fans and think we do know wrong and that isn’t actually reality either, because we all know that we do wrong. We’re not always right, we do mess up and sometimes we are extremely un-likeable. The beauty in these people is that they have a love to give us, when we need it most.
So how do we protect our minds from this?
Romans 12 is going to be my chapter this year and the first few verses are why.
Romans 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
I have chosen the word Renew for 2019. So many times I get caught up in the need to please game, the constant worry and wondering if I’ve made someone mad, did something wrong, or if someone disapproves of me. Sometimes I even find myself in competition with MYSELF in all the things I wish I were, can’t seem to be or who I’ve been. I have asked God to Renew my mind in 2019, renew my body, renew my spirit, my soul, my knowledge and my resolve in my walk with Him and in every part of my life. I have been worn thin (hah not thin enough haha) by the constant struggle of people pleasing. I have wasted too much time overthinking.
So I offer myself to him, in my health choices, when I choose to say yes and no to things, how I respond and react. I choose to offer myself as a living sacrifice for him, not lay my life down on the altar as a sacrifice of my peace, my wellness or my best self. I don’t have to go expend myself so much I burn out, all in the name of being a living sacrifice. When he asks for our obedience over burnt offerings, I believe He means our burned out selves as well. When we obey and live in his richness, we don’t burn out. We don’t have to offer ourselves as burnt offerings. Instead we can offer our living and obedient selves, sacrificing our our immediate pleasure for long term obedience. I die to self, but in order to live fully for Him, for my Nick, my girls, the people whom God has given me to minister to, my team who I lead with, etc. THIS is my worship, my mundane everyday.
I give him my mind, allow him to transform it by His word, so I do not act like the world around me, so I don’t respond like the world around me. I am terrible at this. Still. I am truly working on this and have been for a year or so now. See, someone close to me made a remark that was in joking and fun. He didn’t mean to hurt me. He compared me in completely joking way to a game called Smart A$$. It is a funny word game. What happened in that moment shifted my whole spiritual journey, though. I realized that even though it was a joke, there is always some truth behind a joke. Was I really that way? Was I known for having a smart mouth, a snarky attitude, a salty take on life? Did I have a reputation of those things? Because if so, then change had to occur. It has been months and months of stepping back, self evaluating, lots of prayer and asking God to come in and change. So many times of catching myself and wondering how I got to that place? Many moments of truly hating who I was because for some reason, it became a way of defending or being accepted or finding relevance in a conversation. It was wrong. It was effecting my life, my children’s lives, my marriage, my work environment for sure. The negativity, such a foothold. The sarcasm, the harsh opinions…I almost audibly hear God say, “you need to lighten up”. I realized I needed him to lighten me.
So after many months of digging and learning and working hard to change how I respond, react, talk, I still don’t have it right all the time. I don’t. Thankful for grace. I rest in that when I realize I am trying in my own power to change. But, I thank God I am not living in ignorance of a terrible habit. I’m being sanctified and growing in my walk with him by being refined in the process of renewal. I want my mind to be renewed, my thinking and processing to be different. Dare you to ask Him where you need renewing.
So we see in verse 3 to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but rather think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance to the faith given us. WOAH. This hits hard.
I am not supposed to not love myself or not be my biggest fan, but there are times in our life when we are so clueless to a behavior or habit that is actually hurting us and others, but we are in denial. What if we, in the faith God has given us, accepted the truth of our fault, put it at the foot of the cross, and LET GOD CHANGE US. We see this movement, and everyone has written in their high school yearbook, “don’t ever change!!”.
That statement isn’t Biblical. So, if I am living by the Word and His Truth, then I know that I will change many times in the course of my life, my walk with Christ and into eternity. Let Him change your mind, change your heart, change your way of doing life. It might be His freedom for you. Maybe we are so very stubborn that we are the ones who are in our own way. Somehow we are so afraid of change that we just ignore the things we are doing that are slowly burning us to a crisp, perhaps even slowly killing us.
God created us, loves us and desires us as we are. He also loves us so much more than to leave us the way he finds us. (thanks Max Lucado for that truth) I’m so thankful.
So, find solace and comfort in the fact that God loves you the way you are, as an image bearer and daughter or son of the King. He is your creator, your Father, your confidant and friend. He has the power to love you matter what and the ability to help you always and forever grow, change and develop into his likeness.
It is hard. It is SO VERY HARD.
Ava fell as scraped her knee the other day. She had been on her scooter around our new neighborhood and got tripped up. She was just going on her normal route on our cul-de-sac. She can get going pretty fast. Haha. She came in crying. I looked at it and immediately smiled. She was so confused. She cried “Momma!! Why are you smiling? It hurts!” What she didn’t see was that the scrape was the exact shape of a heart. I put a band-aid on it and she went back outside to resume her “alone time” she calls it. I realized that sometimes we get going in life, we are cruising along and something trips us up. It forces us to be in some pain, stop, ask for help, get it mended up and then continue living. Isn’t that life? We cruise along, we get tripped, we get hurt, and in that place we have a choice. We can find the heart of it or we can let it get dirty, scab over, maybe even get infected. What if we stopped, let Him clean us, love us, mend us and then send us off to do the life we so love?!
Praying that you find who you are in Him. Praying that you rest in that. Praying that you lay down the need to please, the worry, the wasted time and mental space and begin to live in an honest place. Let Him do hard work in you. Let Him change YOU, not necessarily them. It’s hard. We’re in this together, friend! I am trying to organize my thoughts on how God has been doing this in me and hoping to share those soon. Application is the hardest part.
Maybe this whole post was meant for me. It usually is. ❤
Keep finding the heart,