“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17 (NLT)
I never considered myself the type of person who cared too much about what others thought of me. We moved around a lot so I was always the “new kid.” People thought my accent was strange (a combination of a few states will do that for you) and I could never figure out if I was drinking pop, soda, or soda pop. In a way, I think I thrived on being different because given enough time, I would probably move again. I didn’t put any roots down and by the time I might naturally start to care what others thought of me, I was gone.
That could be why when I started lately to care a little too much about what others thought I was surprised. I started to compare myself to others in many different areas, and I felt I didn’t measure up. When a person starts down this road, Satan has a heyday. I read an article the other day describing how Satan loves to get us discouraged. Discouragement penetrates deep into our soul and can leave lasting scars.
God lovingly reminded me through a variety of resources the only One I should care about impressing is Him. He took it one step further with me and explained if I’m doing life right, I’ll probably ruffle a few feathers with my lifestyle. In fact, the more feathers that are ruffled probably means I’m right where He wants me. I’m not saying to deliberately make myself an outcast or be rude or disrespectful to others; no, I’m talking about an inward strength that stands firm on my convictions even if they happen to go against the flow.
One example could be if I’m out with friends and the conversation turns to bashing husbands. Instead of joining in the conversation, I could quietly comment why my husband is amazing with one sentence that packs a punch but doesn’t intentionally maim the audience. Maybe there’s a party your teenager wants to go to, but there will be no adult supervision. Even though everyone else you hang around with are letting their children go, you and your husband stand firm in your belief that the environment is too risky.
I’m glad God cares enough to gently and persistently remind me of this truth before I got too deep in the discouragement cycle. Will I never play the “compare game again?” Human nature says I probably will. However, my prayer is to keep my focus where it rightly belongs. God is in charge of my schedule, my timetable, my focus. If I keep making decisions based on pleasing Him, my life and those I love will reap the benefits. If I continue to obey and change my course only when He guides me to, I will be happier no matter what the outcome. I don’t have to be jealous of others’ successes because I will be a success in whatever area God has planned when He feels it’s best. The bonus will be if I can pass along that lesson to my children and they’ll be able to avoid unnecessary time in the land of discouragement in their lives.
In the grand scheme of things, I happen to like my eclectic accent (it reminds me of the many different friends I have made in the various parts of the country I have lived) and soda or pop taste the same no matter what I choose to refer to it as.
Copyright 2013: Cheri Swalwell