This scripture is hard to swallow when you have a tendency to be a people pleaser. As far back as I can remember I was always a people pleaser. I can't stand the idea of someone being mad or upset with me. I have always wanted to be loved and accepted by everyone. I guess due to my early childhood and past - rejection became my biggest fear!!! My entire life I have lived in fear of being rejected by those I loved & wanted to love me. This caused me to bend over backwards to do any and everything to be accepted and loved. Not only did this set me up for poor choices, but left me empty from it not working. I was always striving to be the best so that I could be loved & accepted and finding that it was never enough. Hating myself for making poor choices but not seeing another way to be loved and accepted so continuing on that path.
See the world was telling me be like this, look like this, act like this, do this and do that and you will be loved & accepted more. I spent way too many years trying all of that to only be left empty and hating myself. Always feeling empty and lonely. Oh but I put on a good face, because who could love and accept me if I didn't. All those years led to my adulthood of trying to be good enough, attractive enough, perfect enough and again rejection. But this time I had found the Lord, so why was this still so hard? Wasn't this suppose to be easy now? NO, it wasn't! I still had not let it sink in and learn that I am NOT to live for the approval of people. I am to live for the Lord and His approval. I have to be honest and tell you that I struggled with this for years as a Christian.
Those ways of thinking were so engraved in my thinking that I didn't allow God to get in there and change them. Having a tender heart has made it even more difficult for me to not take things so personal & hurt me so deeply. But over the last few years God has brought me so far from where I used to be. He has allowed me to experience rejection at the deepest levels, levels I never dreamed I would ever experience! But through them all He has been my strength and my guide to heal, teach and redirect my thinking according to His word. He has taught me so much about myself and showed me just how much He loves me. He has shown me that He will NEVER leave or reject me while I am living for Him and striving to become more like Him.
As His word says - "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety" This is so true. See I no longer base my life on whether I feel loved and accepted by others - because at the end of the day I am not accountable to them - but I am to God. I can not control what others say, think or do - they are accountable for that. I no longer make choices based on what I think others want me to say or do so they will love me, accept me or chose me. Over 2000 years ago there was a man who chose me first because He loved me so much and He is STILL choosing me first everyday!!!
Mark 8:34-37 he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
See my selfish way was to seek human approval & acceptance and it kept me chained for years and could have cost me my soul! What good would it do me to have the entire world love & accept me if it would cost me my soul? Oh my when I look at it that way it seems so crazy - but that is what I was doing, loosing my soul for human love and acceptance! Nothing is more important than my soul and yours! What are you gaining in the world that could cost you your soul?
I still have my tender heart and I am thankful for that - see I think it is a heart like Jesus' and it allows me to love people the way I do. I am fully aware that when I love the way I do that I will be hurt more deeply than most - but God has shown me that He gets hurt the same way by us daily too. So it has helped me to make choices I know are pleasing to Him because the last thing I want to do is hurt Him like that. He has given me freedom from losing my soul and shown me how special and precious I am to Him. And I hear Him say everyday, "Sherri, I choose YOU FIRST" - what music to my ears!
I know that He is for me!!!
So thankful that He reminds me daily who I am to Him!