Although I am a fun-loving extrovert, I do not enjoy speaking in large groups. Even when in a small meeting and I’m asked to just share my name, my heart starts loudly pounding. I’m totally fine talking one-on-one, but as soon as the discussion grows into a large circle, I stop contributing to the dialogue.
I have been wondering why I like being with people so much, yet at the same time, dread sharing in front of them so much. But I finally put my finger on it: I’m a people-pleasing-person. Not only do I like people, I want people to like me. I don’t want to speak up in a crowd because I’m afraid of making a big mistake, scared of doing something really embarrassing, and nervous by what people think of me.
At the retreat, God did two things in me in regards to this subject. On Saturday evening, Melanie Anderson shared two stories. The first was an incredible account of God enabling her to “put on” the things of Christ when it would be easy to “put on” an earthly attitude. Although little time was left after she finished, she said, “It would be dishonest if I didn’t share the second story.” This one was about when she “put on” the things of earth which we so easily do without Christ at work in our lives. As I sat there listening, I was blown away with her honesty. Not concerned with what others think, she “put herself on the line” by sharing very personal stories.
I only like others to see “my good side.” I prefer if people only notice me in my “good moments” (like how I hate crying in front of others!). But at the retreat, after asking God for His heart, I found myself crying in front of others. I don’t know quite how to describe this because I’m not even sure what exactly happened, but in some unexpected way, God used the retreat to enable me to release my fears of what others think of me. That’s not to say I’m now comfortable before a crowd, but I know God’s grace is filling me and will enable me to do whatever He desires.
The second takeaway came from our small group discussion time. I shared that I’ve been trying to please others – which is something to “put off.” So my friend asked, “What do you need to put on instead?” I quickly responded with, “Pleasing God.” It seemed so obvious.
But I realized later on: I’m not supposed to please God. God is already pleased with me the way I am. I can do nothing to please Him or to deserve His love. At the same time, though, I can do nothing to keep Him from loving me.
Now I say all this because God convicted me of focusing more on myself than focusing on Him. I was pointing others to myself instead of pointing to Him. I also share this to apologize to you as sisters in Christ. I have been striving to look like “I have it all together” when that’s not the truth and not what this life is about. Honestly, I don’t have it all together, but I know One who does.
As sisters in Christ, I ask that you please forgive my desire to impress you. And I pray that instead of pointing to myself, this points you to Christ.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”