When I look back over the hours of anguish I subjected myself to in my younger days, concerned about what others thought of me, I marvel at all the time I wasted. Hindsight allows me to realize that my fixation on the opinions of others had more to do with pride than anything else. Truth be told, most people don’t spend any sizable amount of time focused on anyone but themselves, so ordering your life for others is as non-productive as you can get.
Not too long ago, I was running errands prior to going for a chiropractic visit. When I arrived, my doctor looked at me with concern asking, “Are you alright?” This surprised me as I didn’t think I looked sick. I was just coming in for a “tune-up” of sorts. When I inquired why he asked, he pointed out that I was wearing two different shoes—only one was a sandal! I had made at least three other stops prior to the appointment. What would have been devastating in my youth brought me a good laugh.
Whenever I started a new job or activity, I focused on what I couldn’t do or how badly I was performing. Not only did I stress as I was being instructed in the particulars, my stress would end up causing nightmares as I would go over keystrokes or procedures over and over resulting in a night of restless sleep. Now, rather than try to hide the areas where I am confused or not up-to-speed, I freely admit that I have a problem and ask for assistance. It’s truly amazing the difference it makes in the entire process. As it turns out, most people want to help.
My Children’s Behavior
I would be embarrassed when one of my children would lose it in a public setting. Whether it was the grocery store, the bank, or at the pool, I was certain that everyone was looking at me in judgment. (The only time I wasn’t embarrassed was at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I figured any disruptions might make them work to get me out of there faster!) Now looking through the eyes of a seasoned mother and grandmother, I see the futility of being concerned over the reactions of others when it comes to children’s behavior. Onlookers are more concerned with how a mother deals with an upset child than on the child himself. All those times I spent, “saying my lines” nice and loudly (“Now you know we don’t act like that!”) so that onlookers knew I was a good mother, only compounded the problem. Demonstrating responsibility and control is far more beneficial for all concerned.
Spend your time focused on the only audience that truly matters—your Lord and Savior. If there are areas where you are weak, you should most definitely work to correct them. But spending countless amount of time trying to mask your shortcomings from the ever-elusive “they” won’t serve you in good stead. When your attention is on His priorities, His Kingdom, and His righteousness, all other things fall into place.