In a time when music industry success seems to be shifting from complete dependency on major labels to a greater emphasis on self-propelled ingenuity, hard work, and solid talent; Indiana-based, independent pop-rock band Attaboy is more than a little keyed up about the next chapter of their journey.
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I worry way too much about what people think of me.
I’m know I’m not the first person to feel this way, but I think we can all agree that an unhealthy concern of the opinions of others can be paralyzing. Not just to your self-esteem, but, more importantly, to your relationship with God.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that there are two ways you can live. Two underlying perspectives that shape everything we do.
1) We live with a fear of men. A fear of what they think of us and if we’re measuring up to who we think people expect us to be. I’m speaking from experience when I say that this route is anything but fulfilling. We’ll never be able to be “good enough” or “pretty enough” or “athletic enough” or “cool enough” based on the world’s standards. We’re like dogs chasing our tails. The ever illusive prize lies in plain view, but just out of reach. And it always will be.
2) We live with a fear of God. Growing up in a Christian home, this is one of those concepts that I never really wrestled with because I was satisfied with a shallow, surface level understanding of what it meant. So let’s look at a pretty important verse that will shed some light on the issue.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” (Psalm 111:10)
In 21st century America, the word “fear” has a negative connotation. When we think of fear, we think of scary movies or disturbing stories or frightening thoughts. But in the context of Psalm 111, fear is a healthy thing. It’s closer to the word “reverence”. So if the fear of the Lord is the place where we are able to start to fully know God, why do so many of us, myself included, continue to care more about what others think of us than we do about what God thinks of us?
Because we think our lives our about us. Our excessive concern of the opinions of others is rooted in selfishness. We’re basically saying it’s more important to us to feel accepted and loved by worldly standards than it is to please God with our lives. Obviously, we aren’t doing this on purpose, but it happens nonetheless. At the end of the day, no matter who you are or what you’re doing, God is about God. And every gift or blessing or opportunity he gives us is all so that we can glorify his name. Now this might make it sound like God is selfish. As far as I’m concerned, though, he’s the only one who truly deserves all honor and glory and praise.
So be encouraged. Know that you don’t have to keep trying to be “enough”. Here’s the good news: Christ was perfect so that we don’t have to be. What a liberating truth. It frees us up to let go of who we want to be and embrace who we’ve been created to be.