The Fear of Man....
So being afraid that some guy will sneak into your house with a gun and jump out from behind a door... right? That's what I thought of as I looked at the bulletin in my hand on Sunday morning. Well this will be interesting! We sang the last song of our worship time and sat down. Pastor Steve stood up and started talking about fearing right, the title of our latest sermon series. My mind was,unfortunately, wondering. I was still trying to figure out what this sermon would be about exactly and (so ashamed) wondering what we would do for dinner that night. My ears perked up as Steve said "Twelve ways you can tell if you're struggling with the fear of men." "Oh goody!" I thought as I grabbed my pen, poised to write down a list (I LOVE lists :))
Number One: You are easily swayed by others.... well ok yes I don't hold onto my opinions for very long with anyone outside of my family. But that's just because I don't want to offend anyone!
Number two: You are over committed. At first I thought I definitely don't struggle with that. I can be very selfish with my time. But the more I thought about it I am very over committed when it comes to close friends and family. I'll do anything for them even if it messes up other plans.. I still don't think this is a huge issue for me though?
Number Three: You feel like you "need" things from people. "Jay I just need you to do this so that I feel important!" "If she would just talk to me and start the conversation then I could do this and I'd feel like she wasn't so mad at me...." Yes this is the big one for me. I constantly feel like I need something from others in order to feel important or to feel like every thing's ok.
Number Four: Self esteem is critical to you. I have LOW self esteem most of the time. And I focus on it so much! It's to the point of where praying about it has just become one more way to obsess over it. I never truly hand it over to God.
Number Five: You feel as if you might be exposed as an impostor... lets face it I'm really not as smart and social as I like to act.
Number Six: You always second guess yourself because of what other might think. SO TRUE or maybe it's not? I don't want to come across as stupid... what do you think?
Number Seven: You get embarrassed easily. Unfortunately my face doesn't help me pretend I'm not embarrassed... Red as a beet comes to mind.
Number Eight: You tell "white lies" often. Well not very often... ok a lot.
Number Nine: You diet to impress others. Ok I really don't think I struggle with this one. Usually I do that kind of stuff for myself.
Number Ten: You Avoid People. Um yes.
Number Eleven: People often make you angry or depressed. I think this goes along with low self esteem. Either way I struggle with this big time!
Number Twelve: You compare yourself to others to make yourself feel good. Guilty.
As I finished writing the list down I put my pen down and looked over my notes. Oh my word am I messed up! It makes so much sense that all of these things go together and that they are because I am afraid of men and what they may think of me! Pastor Steve went on to read from Jeremiah 17:5-10. It talks about how a man that relys on men is like a shrub living in the desert, no fruit and withering away to nothing. But he who trusts in the Lord is like a tree planted by the stream. It can take on draughts and extreme heat because it is deeply rooted in the spring of life. I fell in love with this passage and even had plans to put it to paint. The passage goes on to say that we can not trust our own hearts but we can only put our faith in a never changing, ever faithful God. Again I loved this passage because I have been noticing lately that my feelings tend to contradict one another and I never know what I truly want etc. How can I trust myself or any other man if we have no clue?
As the service ended I found that my heart was heavy and I couldn't help but think "But I didn't get a list on how to fix these things! There wasn't a step one, step two type deal! I'm not fixed!" And then it hit me. This is one of those things that is solely reliant on Faith. There is not step by step plan on how to stop fearing man.. at least not truly and forever. This is something I HAVE to rely on God for and trust in Him to change in me. It's exciting... yet terrifying for this List loving control freak. (Notice how I capitalized list as though it was someone of importance ;) ) I am so thankful for this sermon and for finally understanding what is holding me back from so much... the fear of men.
Jesus, I thank you for the opportunity to go to church and be fed your word and to be able to apply it in my life! I thank you that you do not leave us with out Hope. You are our Hope! I am not destined to stay this way. You are slowly chipping away at me and changing me little by little. I thank you Precious Savior! Thank you!