The Fear of Disappointing Everyone.

Lately I’ve been fearing the opinions of people. I’ve been downright neurotic and scared. That if I don’t reply quickly enough, they’ll think I’m too busy or too good for them. That if my reply is inadequate or lacking or phrased imperfectly, they’ll respect me less and say “Now I know how he really is.” That if I don’t live up to the expectations of others, I’ll constantly disappoint others who have now “seen” me as I am.

I don’t mean to say that other people’s opinions are unimportant. It’s worth hearing criticism, to know our blind spots, to truly estimate ourselves. Yet even as a kernel of truth exists in all criticism, so I must guard my heart at the core and ground my security in the unshakeable, for I cannot rise and fall on the praise and derision of others.  I can’t please everyone, or even a few.  God is the only please-able one in the universe, who does not demand the unreasonable, and only His heart could ever sustain the unbearable weight of my need.

It’s possible that we too quickly place a negative filter on someone so that their subsequent actions are regarded with malicious intentions. If I’m seen this way, then I was never going to win the opinion of people anyway.  I will eventually disappoint you, even deeply, no matter how hard I try not to. So if we must be disappointed in one another, I must carry on, not in a prideful strut or swagger, but in a humble confidence that trusts you will give me grace and offer patience. It’s the same chance you would want for yourself.  It’s the same grace we’ve been given by the God whose opinion of us is not shaken, and so then I can be free of your opinion long enough to respect it.

— J.S.

The Giant Gap Between Where You Are and Where You’re Going.

In that Giant Gap between who you want to be and who you really are, every other religion, including the evangelical church, tells you to “close the gap.” That’s religion.

Jesus is the only who said, “I will meet you where you are. I am running backwards through the gap to you. And we will walk this walk together, one step at a time, me in the lead, and I will be with you whether you feel me or not, always.” Faith is being more and more sure of this reality, and it’s not being more sure that you’re sinning less. It’s never just running from sin, but running to Him.

— J.S. from What The Church Won’t Talk About