I wish I could tell you honestly right now that people’s opinions roll off my back and don’t affect me mentally, physically, or even sometimes spiritually. I wish I could say that no matter what you say to me, either to or away from my face, will affect the outlook on my life. I wish…I wish…I wish. The truth is, the truth hurts. I’m telling you the truth right now and it hurts for me to confess this. Not out of pride of embarrassment, but out of pure exhaustion that I’ve let it go for this long. The truth is… I need to stop looking to others for my identity. I desperately need my Savior always in every aspect of my life, in every second that I live.
I love people. I love my friends. I love my family. I love the people that I see on a normal basis at church, school, choir, and youth group. No matter what happens, I will always love them. I have realized lately that I yearn for their approval in my life. Maybe not intentionally, but there is always that little piece in me that wants to do right in their eyes and “keep” my identity that they have of me. Recently, it’s been about futuristic choices such as the college I want to attend and what I want to major in.
I’ve wanted to go to a certain college and major in a certain major for countless years. I’ve prayed about it, thought about, asked God about, searched Scripture about it and the doors seem to continue to open. The college isn’t that far away from my house so I would live at home. I feel at peace with my decisions and I feel at peace with my choices until I am faced with the dreaded conversation…
“Have you decided where you want to go to college?”
“Yep. *Insert college name*”
“Oh…that’s nice…you don’t want to go away to college?”
“No. I want to go to *Insert college name* because they have my major and it’s a great school.”
“But it’s so close to home. Would you stay on campus?”
“Nah…I’d live at home. I don’t really want to be apart of the party atmosphere.”
“But, really…that’s one step on having to live on your own. Being on campus in a dorm and all that…”
“Yeah, I guess so. But I just don’t feel called. The atmosphere of partying and drinking really isn’t that appealing to me.”
“Oh. What are you majoring in?”
“I want to major in Communications.”
What’s frustrating is that when the same sort of person talks to somebody whose thinking of going AWAY to college, their conversation is all enthusiastic, “good for you!”, and exciting words of encouragement. My questions are as followed… What’s wrong with going to a college in your own state? What’s wrong with living at home because you don’t want to associate with party people? What’s wrong with majoring in Communications? There. I said it. Now, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS?!?!
I want to major in Communications. Yes, that is my absolute decision. Yes, I have researched it. Yes, I know the job opportunities that come with having a Communications degree. Yes, I know…I know…I KNOW. No, I don’t want to become a nurse. No, I don’t want to major in Chemistry. No, I don’t want to become a Physics professor. No, I don’t want to be a preschool teacher. I want to major in communications to HELP people better UNDERSTAND HOW to communicate. HOW to help others. HOW. HOW. HOW. and to answer WHY.
Personally, I believe that God has pointed me in this direction. He has gifted me with the ability to write (whether it’s good or bad, I write all the time…), and to speak (sometimes you can’t shut me up). These two abilities/talents/whatever come with Communications. It’s all about writing and talking.
NOT THE POINT. The point is, I let people’s opinions affect me TOO much. I use their judgements to judge myself. It’s horrible. It’s a horrible habit. If somebody says, “Oh…that’s nice…” in a “I don’t really care” kind of way, then I doubt myself and my decision and ultimately God’s plan for my life.
This weekend, I went to a retreat. He talked about how people like to control their own “destiny” and have a hard time letting go and giving it to Jesus. I realized as he was speaking that THAT’S me. I am such a control freak that sometimes I forget to let go and just trust in God’s plan for me and my life. But you know what the speaker also said? He said it’s OKAY. It’s NORMAL to feel like you can’t let go. But you NEED to let go, because God’s plan for my life isn’t normal. It’s ABnormal. In a good way. It’s not ordinary. It’s EXTRAordinary. It’s better then anything else. Any other plan. Ever.
I need to learn to let go. Learn to let go of my desire to always have everyone’s “okay.” Learn to let go of my desire to please everyone else and have their approval. I hate to admit that. I hate to admit that I struggle with other people’s perceptions of me, but it’s the truth. I think about my identity. Like I’ve previously stated, I’m learning to let go of my plans more each day. I love Jesus and after this weekend retreat, I walk away more determined, inspired, and motivated to kick my butt in gear and really dig DEEPER into God’s word and let go even more. I want to be wholly His. I want to look back on my life and say that God was there every minute of the way and I followed His plans for my life.
It’s a process. It’s a long and sometimes painful process to go back to always and completely and wholeheartedly trusting God’s plan for your life. But it’s so worth it. Whether you realize that now or later, you will realize that it is so totally worth it. I’m just thankful that I have a God who will never let go, even when I’m stubborn and sometimes think I can do it by myself. Because if I tried to do it by myself, I’d drown and die in my stress, pain, and weariness. But he gives me hope. He gives me a reason to keep going. When I put my eyes on Him and Him alone, I no longer think about people’s opinions of me and my life.
When I am walking and dancing with Jesus and following His plan for my life, no other opinions matter. No other people can make me doubt His story. They can try. Oh yes, they can try, and sometimes they will get close to making me doubt, but I will not listen anymore. I will not listen. I will not doubt. I’ve had my share of doubts and pain. I’ve had my share of questions and confusion. But I realize now that I have grown closer to GOD through it ALL. Never again will I try to win others’ approval and keep my “identity.” I may sometimes think about it, but I’ll keep focused on Jesus and let go of my desires and plans. Because really, when I think about it, I have only one identity and that is in Jesus Christ, my Truth. and THIS truth doesn’t hurt.