When I was growing up, I had so much anxiety over what other people thought about me. Did they think I was cool? Did they think I was smart? Did the girls think I was attractive? Were my teachers proud of me? Were my parents proud of me?
What did they think?
Oh, don’t worry — I easily spent the first 20 years of my life living that way. What did mom think? What did dad think? What did Mrs. So-and-So think? What did cute-girl-over-there think?
You know what the problem with living that way is? You live your life based on assuming what other people think about you.
Assumptions are expectations or speculations we make about things that have no proof. In other words, they have no foundation in reality!
No Fear of Man
There’s an ancient proverb that says, “the fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe” (29:25).
As disciples of Jesus, whenever we put more stock in what others think (or what we think others think), we betray our confidence in God. I know, I know — that’s a harsh statement. But I mean it.
The anxiety I develop when I dwell on what I think others are thinking is rooted in the fear of man. The proverb suggests this is a trap. God is my safety and my refuge, not the (assumed) opinions, criticisms, or even then praises of others.
Live a Different Way
As disciples of Jesus, the Holy Spirit confirms we live out of a different reality; not one founded on assumptions and driven by fear, but one rooted in the sureness of what God offers.
2 Timothy 1:7 reads, “for God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power, and love, and self-control.”
If I were going to be honest, I have to admit that I still struggle with this. Over the last week, God has constantly been reminding me of who I am, who I’m called to be, and what He’s called me to do in the world.
But whenever I live in fear of what others think, no matter whether they’re my leaders, my influencers, my peers — I betray my confidence in God and I exalt what others think (or what I think they think) over what God thinks, over what I know God says to be true.
When we live outside of the fear of man, we empower ourselves to live from a heavenly-minded mentality. In other words, we operate from the center of the thing that makes us uniquely us and we activate that powerful, love-filled, and disciplined living Timothy writes about.
Declaring myself free from fear
I cannot afford to live my life grounded in fear or in the assumptions of what others think. When I do, I’m shaped by the wrong thing. Instead, I choose to living from the safety of God’s words about me this week.
What do you choose?
P.S. this video/song is super good.