God is working on me and has laid a number of challenges across my path for the past month. It’s only been in the last week, however, that I’ve realized what I am supposed to be working on! When the same challenge or same yucky feelings pop up again and again, it can be wise to just ask “What am I supposed to learn from this?”
I can think of at least six instances in the last month in which the thoughts and opinions of others have so invaded my mind, that I lost my peace and joy. When worrying about what other people think of me has corrupted my own peace of mind.
I like to have the approval of others. No, that’s not exactly it. I really DISLIKE not having the approval of others. Is that the same thing? I want others to like me, think highly of me, and to not judge me or my own personal life.
And I really, really, really hate when someone makes me feel stupid.
Let me back up just a bit though. I’m not saying there are six instances when people have done these things to me in the last month. But there are six times I thought people were and that was enough to set me off.
Isn’t that even worse? Sometimes people judge me (Of course! this will always happen!) and sometimes I just think people are judging me and either way – I lose my peace!!! My Zen!
Why am I letting others steal my peace? Why do I give it up so easily? Whose opinion really matters anyway?
I started off by telling you God was working on me. By the third time, I started to get it. I really started to pray. What other people think of me really doesn’t matter. The only opinion that matters, the only One I should be trying to please is God. If I can say that my actions line up with what God has for me, or if I did what I did with God’s approval, then that is all I need to maintain peace.
In theory. In reality, this is my battle! The challenge God has asked me to overcome during this season of my life!
So what have I been doing? Praying. Praying and worshiping. When I find my mind racing thinking about what he/she said or did or MIGHT HAVE thought, I pray. I ask God to make clear to me if my actions where in line with His desires or not. Maybe I did do the wrong thing and I need to make it right! But if I didn’t do anything wrong, then I’ve started praying for the other people. The ones on my mind that I can’t shake. I pray for them. And I ask God, beg God, to help stop the monkey mind rat race of thoughts.
Sometimes I even get through about 30 seconds of prayer, before my mind starts running again! Funny, not funny. But as I pray, the length of time gets longer and longer. And rather than being frustrated at the person who hurt me, I start to love them with God’s love. And rather than being preoccupied with what I THINK someone else did or is thought, I am filled with God’s peace.
I really haven’t got this down yet. Which is why, I think, the opportunity to practice keeps presenting itself.
I do not need to have other people’s approval.
I do not need to have other people like me.
I do not need to be everyone’s favorite.
I do not need my choices to align with everyone else.
I do not need other’s to stand up with me for something I think is right.
I do not need to fall apart when someone says something that hurts me.
I do not need to give up my peace for others.
I need Jesus. Oh, Jesus makes things better. Jesus is my best friend, the one who knows me, the one who loves me through everything. He is the one who gives peace, comfort, and joy. He is the one who makes unbearable situations bearable. He is the one I can cry out to, in any situation, and receive a peace that doesn’t even make sense.
I am so thankful for Jesus.
Jesus loves me.
That reminds me of Sunday School as a child singing Jesus Loves Me. What a beautiful, simple, reminder of the greatest truth in the world today. Jesus loves me.
Happy Monday, friends.