“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
(Authors note: This is the second in the series of self-centered symptoms. The first one was on ingratitude.)
A few years ago I was struck head-on with the reality that people were my idol. I was doing the “No Other Gods” study by Kelly Minter and learned that an “idol” does not have to be a statue or physical object.
“In biblical terms, an idol is something other than God that we set our hearts on (Luke 12:29), that motivates us (1 Cor 4:5), that masters and rules us (Ps 119:133) or that we trust, fear, or serve (Isa 42:17)…an idol can also be referred to as a “false god” or a “functional god.” (Ken Sande)
What dictates your time, peace, happiness and where your energies are directed?
That is your idol or functional god.
For me the answer to the question is: approval/opinion of others.
Self-centered Heather (pride):
–time spent is dictated by what others think of me:
- Shopping for clothes that will impress others
- Spend more time getting ready for the day than getting right with God
- Ridiculous amount of time on social media to promote myself
- Time with God is spent finding quotes to share with others for my glory not His
–peace is affected by relationships
- If I think someone is upset with me I cannot stop thinking about it
- If I am not included in an invitation I cannot let it go
–happiness is robbed because I’m always trying to please
- In attempting to make everyone else happy I am unable to be present in the moment and find true joy
- In overanalyzing what others think I cannot enjoy them
–energy is consumed with how I present myself
- Energy is wasted on obsessing over what others think
- Often would rather be by myself because trying to please is exhausting
Just writing that out was exhausting. I was disgusted by myself. I would much rather live in freedom…
God Centered Heather (humility):
-time spent is dictated by my desire to serve God
- Spending time teaching my children to love God instead of being on the computer
- Meeting with God each morning and focusing on Him alone
- Making meals for those who are going through a difficult time
- Meeting someone new who has no friends instead of just talking with my close friends.
–peace is found through relationships
- Only God’s opinion of me matters…He knows my inmost being
- Anxiety and stress do not exist because God’s feelings of me never change
–happiness is found in the daily gifts of grace of God
- Focus on how God has met my needs and brought me joy
- Directing others to God and a relationship with him instead of forcing them to have a relationship with me
–energy is rejuvenated by His Holy Spirit in me
- Freedom to live for Him invigorates my soul
- His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control are radiated through me so I become a giver of life to those around me.
This is a daily battle for me. Do not think for one moment that having a blog on pride/humility means that I am an expert. I am a fellow pilgrim. I am seeking His daily grace in my life to accomplish a God Centered life.
Are you consumed with the approval of others? Does it dictate where your time, peace, happiness and energy are directed?
Pray to God to free you. You are not going to “will” yourself and just decide to stop caring about what people think. It’s a daily battle. You can’t fight on your own. You must rely on God’s strength and power through the Holy Spirit. Go courageous warrior! Fight for God to be first in your life and not the approval of others.
Kelly Minter also writes music. This is one of her songs that I feel fits the struggle to make God first instead of our idols:
“First in my heart, first in my mind and in everything I long for in this life. First in my dreams, first in my eyes before every other love that I desire.
So settle in and you never mind these trembling hands, these teary eyes cause I never knew it’d hurt so bad to turn my back upon this golden calf. Let its memory fade away till only you remain.
Take these idols a million miles from the allegiance of my soul. Fill this hunger with your wonder till only you will, only, only, only you will be…
First in my heart, first in my mind and in everything I long for in this life. First in my dreams, first in my eyes before every other love that I desire.”
OK, Busted. Thanks for writing this and encouraging us to spend time looking at Him instead of ourselves. I loved the picture you put and and it gave me a great visual to remember the freedom we have in Christ! Thanks for sharing from your heart.
“if not included or others are upset with me, can’t stop thinking about it….” OK, that one got me…I needed to read this today. Thank you Heather!
This is so good! Our Bible study has been reading “So Long Insecurity” by Beth Moore, and she touches on this also. God really helped me deal with this in high school, when He brought me to a point where I would pray almost daily that I would be confident only of the fact that I was His child and that I would not seek to find my worth in other things or people. That definitely doesn’t make me an expert either! But this post reminded me of that prayer and my need to look only to Him for my worthiness, because He alone is worthy.
Hi Heather … I hope it’s OK for me to comment on your blog since I’m not a mom … but I liked this post.
My pastor says the way to handle this is to have a “sanctified I-don’t-care attitude,” meaning that you don’t care what others in a way that seeks their approval, only that you seek to be obedient to God’s call on your life. There’s definitely a good balance to be struck (i.e. ignoring what others are saying to you when they might be giving you good input), but if we lived this way, I think we would walk in a lot more freedom.
Keep writing … good stuff!
jason you are welcome anytime! love having your insight since you are the professional writer and i’m just expressing thoughts. I would love to see more comments from you in the future.
I like the “sanctified I-don’t-care attitude”…well said.
What a great blog! I clicked over from Oh Amanda and found that the link was broken. But, oh what a blessing that was in giving me the opportunity to take a look at some of your other posts. You are certainly a wise inspiration.
Thank you Jessica for your encouragement. Thank you also for letting me know about the broken link. Turns out b/c i copied/pasted the link last night and the post was published this morning that the date on the link changed…newbie mistake! Glad you found inspiration here.
This is a great post, Heather. The other day someone called me on my “fear of man” problem, so I can relate. You are a wise woman–thanks for the great truths.
Thank you for writing this out. I appreciate the way you “outline” feelings. I especially needed to read this today. So mentally exhausted by the meaningless time I spend on absurd thoughts. Today was “I call her, but she won’t call me back. She only will text me. She must not like me anymore.” I’m so self centered it is pitiful. I want to be released from the sick, sad, pathetic, and angry grip this has on my heart. Wasted energy I could have spent doing 100 more valuable activities.
i hear ya adryan. We always think the worst too, don’t we? Glad it was helpful for you. miss ya gal! still need to get you that book. are you at church sunday?