Overcoming The Fear of Man, Image, and Reputation

Anonymous asked:

How do I get over my fear of man? I know what ultimately matters is God’s opinion of me. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. I feel constantly misunderstood, or I make decisions out of fear, not love because I’m afraid of what others might think of me. I don’t give in to surface things like peer pressure, but it’s more of deeper things like what people think of me in ministry and my integrity. Am I idolizing my reputation? How can I care less what people think of me?

I believe this has been one of the most problematic issues my entire life, and I wish I could say I’m over it, but it’s not easy.  Dear friend: It’s impossible not to think about what other people think about you.  So if you trip over yourself or accidentally fart in public, then you can act as cool as you want, but you’ll be screaming to death inside.  And that’s natural.  We are relational creatures, and there’s no getting around the need to please people.  Allow yourself a bit of breathing room here.

It takes time, patience, practice, and God-empowered grace to overcome this — and it often happens in layers.  While I still feel the burning needle of other peoples’ opinions lodged in my heart, I’m also not as controlled by other opinions as I once was.  You don’t have to rush the process.

But there is a process.  I’ve learned over the years that whenever I feel the attention-seeking, people-pleasing, self-condemning fear, I break down this anxiety into several logical parts.  It requires a discipline by the grace of God to really dig in.  So here are some things to consider every time you feel the pressure.

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