Have you ever faced with something new, and instead of trying it, you back down? For me growing up, it was swimming. I didn’t really want to try to learn to swim because I knew that I would fail. I was tall anyway, so I could “touch.” This resulted in me not learning to swim until I was 16 and still basically a lost cause if my cruise ship ever goes down.
Maybe it’s not swimming for you. Maybe it was trying new food or riding a bike. Maybe you were afraid to speak in front of people or to run for class president in high school. Now, as an adult, the scary things get bigger. Now we’re faced with pressures like job interviews, relationships, children, and financial decisions.
Let’s be honest, I tend to be very good at certain things. I’m good at meeting new people and talking with them. I’m a pretty good teacher (for a newbie), and I am good at organization. However, when I am confronted with a task that makes me uncertain, I protest inside. I don’t want to try anything unless I can be positive that I will succeed. You know what that’s called? Pride.
Pride is putting your image first and worrying what people will think of you when you fail. Pride is resisting when God leads you to try something new because you don’t want to make a fool of yourself. Pride is telling yourself that you’ll just stick to what you’re good at because then people will always admire your talent. Pride is stupid.
Am I alone here? Tell me that I’m not the only who always wants to look smooth and not make a mistake. Heaven forbid that I don’t match or mess up my order at Starbucks. I’m supposed to be perfect, right?
It’s tiring to be perfect, or I should say, to attempt to be perfect. Honestly, when you strive to appear completely “with-it” and knowledgeable of everything, you’re working hard to continually deceive those around you.
I’m telling you, I get so tied up in the thoughts and comments of those around me that I’m completely ignoring what God thinks. I begin to limit my service to others and to Him to preserve my image. I get focused on myself and what I need to appear successful. I get selfish.
When I start getting selfish, I begin to think that everyone is against me. I start thinking things like, “That girl looked at me weird. What’s her problem?” I begin to focus so much on what I assume that others must be thinking of me.
I once heard someone say that other people don’t notice us half as much as we think they do. Like the old saying goes, “Women spend more time thinking about what men are thinking than men spend thinking.”
I start grad school tomorrow. The reason that matters in this conversation is because for the first time, I am jumping into a world of things I don’t know. I am a conducting performance major, and there is SO much to learn. I need to learn enough to know what I need to learn. (Did that make sense?)
For the longest time, I was so concerned that I not try anything new in front of my classmates because I didn’t want them to know I wasn’t perfect at school. You know what? They already knew anyway. Deep down, we all know that nobody is perfect on this side of heaven.
The point is, we have to stop the stress and pride. We have to get over what people think of us. Not for the sake of being “our own person” or being “true to ourselves,” but for the sake of being God’s person. For the sake of being true to God. How dare we reject an opportunity to grow or serve because we’re concerned about the opinions of others! What God asks of us, He will equip us to do.
Don’t hold yourself to the standard of perfection. Hold yourself to the standard of mold-ability and Christ-likeness. Strive for Christ and strive to follow where He leads you. It’s not about making you look good. It’s about showing the goodness and glory of Christ.
And please, don’t hold others to the standard of perfection either. They have the same struggles as you do. As a wise man once said, “We tend to cut ourselves slack and hold other people to superman standards.” Really? Don’t go there. Instead, show love and grace to others. They may be struggling because they’re willing to struggle through what God has for them.
Maybe you need to just try. Perhaps you could try helping with a ministry that is new and scary to you. Try to honor the Lord by stepping out of your pride box and attempting to serve Him as He leads you. I don’t think we’ll regret it.
I had to share my heart, and I hope it motivates you go out on a limb and try something new for the glory of Christ. Remember that He is the faithful one that works all things together for good. Remember that He protects, strengthens, and guides you.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10