Lately, I haven’t been hearing from God as much as I used to and as much as I would like to. I kept thinking, “What changed?” “Why isn’t He speaking to me anymore?” and overthinking about it. Then I realized that I hear most from God when I write things out, even if I don’t have a plan for it, and especially when I think I’m going to write about one topic and He completely changes that path.
Last night after I realized this, I felt God put something on my heart to write about and really think about. Let me back-track, though. When I decided I wanted to do a blog, I didn’t care if one person or one thousand people read it. I did it because I love writing – it is my outlet. I did it because it was my way of starting to break down my walls that I’ve built so high. I did it because maybe one person would read it and it could touch their life in some small way. But most importantly, I did it because I felt God calling me to explore worth this year – mine, His, and everyone else’s.
Something that has been weighing on me lately is how much I care about what people think of me. I didn’t used to think this was a problem, I thought that the more I said “I don’t care what other people think of me,” the more it would be true. But I’ve learned that working on things doesn’t mean doing nothing and proclaiming they are changed. It takes a lot more than that. I started to realize just how much I care about what other people think when I noticed how much importance I placed on social media, namely Instagram. Being “liked” on Instagram would stress me out and fill me up all at the same time. “If I post this picture with these edits and filters and this caption, how many likes will it get?” And as embarrassing as it is to admit, I really cared about these things. I would plan when to post and what to say and how much exactly I wanted to edit the picture so that I looked great (nevermind if anyone else was in it and looked not great) and also so people couldn’t tell how edited it was. I went on a social media fast, and within a week of getting it back, it was back to the same thing. And it was causing me actual real anxiety. I felt God tell me that if this was a good thing for me, it wouldn’t be making me feel this way. I was placing too much concern in something so silly, and He was telling me to get rid of it. So that day, I deactivated my Instagram. And I felt free.
That freedom didn’t last long, as God began to reveal to me the other ways I was letting what other people think of me affect me way too much. Last night, He told me that while I am making progress and beginning to see myself through His eyes, I still am in some ways defining my worth through other people and their opinions of me. I know I’m not where I was a few months ago, because I am every day living in the truths of what He says about me:
I’m beautiful, because I’m made in His image.
I’m special, because I have his Spirit living inside of me.
I’m wanted, because He died so that I could be with Him.
I’m loved, because of the times He’s shown me that.
I’m clean, because His blood washed me of my impurities.
I’m His, because I was bought with the highest price.
I know all of these things, I try to remind myself of them daily. But why, then, do I still place so much value in other people? In my opinion, there is a difference between thinking, knowing, and believing. It’s a journey, beginning with thinking. First you think something, and with more information you begin to know it. After knowing it and cherishing it and living in it, you begin to believe it. If I’m honest, I’m in between knowing and believing these things. And when I let go of concerning myself with other people’s opinions, I’ll be a step closer to believing it. I am progressing, and I see that and am proud of how far I’ve come. I used to be scared to talk about God outside of my church friends. I was terrified to be judged if I posted something about Him on my Facebook or Snapchat. When spending time with my worldly friends, I would either do worldly things with them, or let them think I was okay with it. I’ve gotten much better in this aspect. I’m not ashamed of my faith anymore, I’m proud of it. I’m not scared to tell people about Jesus; He’s done so much in my life that I’m excited to share about it. Where I’m still struggling is with my friends who love God as much as I do. God has revealed to me lately that I’ve been trying to make our relationship look like His relationship with my friends, but it shouldn’t. My relationship with Him will look different than yours. My walk might be a jog while yours is a sprint (or a walk). I’m just scared that really living in the truths He’s revealed and being obedient to doors He’s opened will cause people whose opinions I truly value to think that maybe I’m not doing something right. I’m scared that my mistakes will cause people to see me as further back than I really am or they think I should be. I’m scared that they will think less of me for making my own decisions with God that they might not understand. These are the thoughts that He’s telling I need to let go of, to give to Him, to surrenderer to Him in prayer. I’ve seen firsthand how much He blesses obedience, and I know that what He thinks of me is much, much greater and of much more importance than what other people think of me. When my worth is truly 100% defined through Him is when I’ll truly be free.