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.
10 thoughts on “The Fear of Disappointing Everyone.”
As a blogger, you will get the opinions of others all day everyday.
I get good, bad, loving, respectful, and downright hateful all the time.
While it’s impossible to not care at all what people think, it is important to find a way to not let what others say become a burden.
I read your blog, know your heart is in the right place, and know you are doing God’s work.
I also know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, I’m just offering some encouragement.
Carry on and be blessed, my friend.
Hey James, thank you so much for your wise words. It does get overwhelming sometimes. I remember the days of when I was lucky to get ten views per week. Not that I’m complaining about more readers, but the scrutiny can be tough. Here’s to continued courage and for a more encouraging community. 🙂
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Well I can tell that you blog for God and that is what matters most, I have never expected a blogger to reply to my comments that I leave. In the beginning of my blogging I did not totally understand how to get to the replying part of the comments or I would miss a lot of comments and had someone get upset with me about that. I almost took the comments off my blog for that reason. I knew nothing about blogs then and now 2 years later I still remain confused at times as to blogging etiquette and I have noticed there are some kinda like unwritten rules and I seem to have broken most of them. Such as…most of the time I do not comment much on people’s blogs, instead I just leave a like, I read recently on a blog that blogger felt like just leaving a like was a ploy to get someone to read your own blog. In my case i left a like because I really did like the blog! The other day I found myself fearing the like button ! 🙂 anyway sorry my comment is so long and you do a great job, no reply needed 🙂
I know exactly what you mean. I wish I had time to read more blogs or to follow the “unwritten rules,” but then I’d never have time to write and I’d probably just as soon quit. Usually the best wisdom I’ve found is asking myself what a professional would do, and then I go do that.
You will never convince an enemy, and never have to convince a friend, because a friend will give you the benefit of the doubt, while an enemy doubts you have any benefit!
Reblogged this on ALL THINGS RENEWED and commented:
Spot on J.S..
Criticisms does not define us, nor should we allow it to redefine us. Most of them, not all of them, are just but simple reminders or checks that re-aligns us back to our Heavenly Father’s design. Some of them are meant to box us, to confine us into the world’s standard and image, yet some of them are meant to mature us, to mold and refine us into God’s standard and image: Jesus.
It helps when we know the Grace of God, the Love of God, and the Standards and Principles of the Word of God. What matters most is God.
I know I have more to surrender. God isn’t finished with me yet. This is not to justify my current known flaws. I know I have many and I am sorry to disappoint. The caterpillar is still in his cocoon. But know that God is working and I too am excited for its grand reopening.
All things are being renewed.
Thank you for sharing, Nathan! I think criticism is extremely helpful, but we can’t be open to every piece of mudslinging that comes our way. I’m thankful for close friends who will tell me exactly how it is, without fear or hesitation. Appreciate you!
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As a reformed perfectionist I must say that quite often it is our humanity, vulnerability and imperfections that attract the audience God intends us to reach out to.
“Reformed Perfectionist” = you must write this book. 🙂