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Monday, July 12, 2010

Freedom From What People Think

Statue of The Thinker, Rodin, Paris, France, low angle view

Why does it matter so much – what other people think?  Sure, we’re all people pleasers by nature, but there are times in life when we just have to step up and do the right thing.  Because it’s the right thing.  Because it’s our calling.

I realize it’s not really “in” to talk about a calling in today’s culture.  People start thinking you’re crazy.  Or worse, they start thinking that you think you’re better than everyone else.  That you have it all figured out.
That’s not what I’m talking about.

In The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris writes about her own calling as a writer:

[T]o answer the call as a prophet, or a poet for that matter, is to reject the authority of credentials, of human validation of any kind, accepting only the authority of the call itself.

I have a long way to go!  I don’t know about you, but I’m not at a point where I can completely forgo human validation.  Yet Norris’ words make a powerful point.  Are my actions based on what I know is right?  On what I know I’m called to do?

Or, are my actions based on the ever-moving target of pleasing other people?


Do you struggle with worrying about what other people think?  If so, please join me in praying for the strength to live out your calling.

Dear God, please free us from what other people think.  Help us to accept the authority of Your call as validation.  And give us the courage to live out our God-given indentities.  Even if other people think we're nuts.


The Empress said...

I do. I am extremely sensitive to judgements and criticism.

I wish I could be confident enough to just know that I am fine with what I am.

BUt people's negative comments crush me.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yep. I struggle with this. I'm constantly reminded why I need God.
~ Wendy

Heidiopia said...

You spoke straight to my heart, Susan. I'm getting better, but I still have alot of work to to... alot of work with God's help.

Joyful Juggler said...

Absolutely, I'm a recovering people pleaser. Sometimes it's a day-to-day, minute-to-minute thing, and I don't always succeed in supressing the desire to do whatever it takes to avoid negative criticism. Sadly, being open with my faith is one of the areas that's difficult. Just today, it was very hard for me to put a link to my blog post about God's grace on my FB page because I have several hard core atheist FB friends. But, I took a deep breath, cringed inside, and linked it anyway. Yay, me!

Susan DiMickele said...

Thanks for your honesty. We all struggle with this one.

Cassandra Frear said...

This is a very good question.

I've decided to just get to work and forget about the validation part. If we continue working, we make our own validation, or something like that.

Thanks for your kind comment on my post last Wednesday.

Esther said...

Absolutely. Always reminding myself that Jesus loves me for just me. Even when it seems everyone else is down on me.

Amy Sullivan said...

Ohhh, how this is SO TRUE for those of us who write! Your heart cries out for some kind of validation...that someone is truly connecting to what you are saying.

It's funny. In my life I don't think of myself as a people pleaser, but I do struggle telling people about my calling. Yikes, what will they think?