There is a list of people in town who are waiting for you to fail.
There are people who are waiting to say, “I told you so. You had it coming. That’s what you get. You deserve this.”
There are people who time-stamp you, who think you haven’t really changed, that you’re still the same person because “I know how you really are.”
There are experts who will tell you it can’t be done.
There is the constant loop of self-condemnation, second-guessing yourself, holding yourself back because you think others will scoff at your newfound sense of confidence, the perpetual eye of criticism on anything you do outside the box you’ve been put in, that feeling the universe will somehow pay you back for every wrong thing you’ve done.
I know. I am still in that place many times. The fear of a dozen disapproving faces who refuse to think I’m being genuine no matter what I do.
But I listen to all the voices. It’s not easy. I give even the worst of that a fair shot, because maybe there’s a kernel of wisdom there amidst all the noise. You can separate haters from truth, because disagreement doesn’t mean they’re a hater.
And after you’re done listening and discerning and dissecting: You do your thing anyway.
Experts do not craft dreams. The town around you does not live your life. A person who refuses to see your best is not fit to judge your worst. And criticism, while helpful, can only see all the ways that you have gone wrong. It cannot see when you got it right, and more than that, it cannot see your best is still to come.
The God who made you is rooting for you, despite others and even despite yourself. Trust what He says. He is writing a story that is bigger than the voices, that is bigger than you, that is not easy, but better than anything you could write on your own. And He does not measure your success or failures. He measures you by His very own heart, and this is enough.