One of the non-public rules I set up for myself as I have thought about this blog and its content is that when it comes to blogging about my walk with God, or telling my story in general, I really want to avoid getting other people caught up in what I’m writing. There are interactions I write about frequently on here with friends and family, and those are critical to my story and not stealing from others’ lives. But everyone once in a while, a bit of back story is necessary, so please let me share with you a little as I set this up…
I grew up in a “Christian” home. We were Christians because we weren’t anything else. We weren’t Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist, so therefore we were Christians. (I love that description and I wish I could say I thought of it, but someone in my home group said it tonight!) The foundation for what I learned wasn’t really on God. Weird transition: I sometimes feel like I was the golden child for everyone. I constantly remember being told, “You have to get all As so you can get a scholarship to college so you can go because we can’t afford to pay for your education!” It’s one of those things I will never tell my kids. So much of the things I can remember about being young include the wishes people put on me: for me to be successful and educated and to do something great. I don’t think this was or is all bad. In fact, in some ways I am thankful for it. Because of those comments, college never felt like an option for me. It was just a given that I’d graduate high school and go to college. And you know what? I did do well. I got a degree and another one and then a third degree and I had a great job with the college for four years.
I was, by all means, successful.
But in some ways, all of the heaps of hopes and dreams has hurt me because it has caused to me to grow up into an adult who is terrified of disappointing anyone. Other people being disappointed in me is probably one of my ten five fears. It’s like top two. Number two. I don’t know what one is, but I’m pretty sure there’s something else I fear more.
We had this great sermon on Sunday covering Romans 2:17-29 where Paul writes to the church in Rome about who they say they are. He reminds them that just because they have the law doesn’t mean they’re Christians following Christ, and just because they have the name Christian doesn’t mean anything unless they live a life that proves their faith and trust in God. The point was: are we who we say we are in Christ when no one is looking? That’s also what we talked about tonight during our home group (we usually talk about the sermons on Sunday). I spent this morning reflecting on this topic and let me just tell you.
My utter fear of disappointment has led me to life a double life. As a Christian, I ought to be leading a life where the only one I fear disappointing is God. But that’s not it. I live continuously worried that I am going to disappoint someone else. I don’t know how to articulate this, but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a people-pleaser. But while I don’t live for the praise of others, I dread the day that they feel as though I’ve let them down.
Today this all kind of came to a head. I have been a liar and made others lie for me. It’s horrible, the feeling that you have when you know you have caused others to be deceitful on your behalf. I can think specifically of two people I have almost outright asked to lie, or to seriously lie by omission. All because I fear others being disappointed in my choices.
That is not the kind of person I want to be.
That’s not the kind of person God is calling me to be. He deserves so much more from me. He deserves my honor and respect and for my focus to be on Him, not on what people in this world will think or do.
So tonight, for the first time in several weeks, I came clean to some people about some stuff. It was nice. It felt good. Tomorrow will be a harder day for me than tonight, though. There are some more people to tell. I guess I just need to know a couple of things: one, it’s wonderful I have friends who think that I am good enough that they want the best for me, enough to be disappointed if I do something totally foolish, and two, that regardless if I’ll let people down (I will always) or people are disappointed in me (they will be often), if I am doing what God has called me to do, He will be proud.