I consider myself a pretty smart girl, but I am still learning to trust myself. And let me add, “in Him.” God is teaching me to trust myself in Him. What does this mean?
It means trusting in our relationship, that He speaks to me and that He can be trusted.
This does not mean He doesn’t speak to me through others or that I shouldn’t ever seek wise counsel. There is balance.
But for me, I am learning to trust His voice in my life. This is a lesson He is teaching.
Why is this so important?
Have you ever done any of the following?
- Have you ever put others, especially those you think are above you in the faith, on a pedestal, so much so that when they express a contrary faith view it truly messes you up?
I did this with friends—amazing friends who have true hearts for Jesus. But when they expressed their views on organized church right when I was beginning to get back into it, instead of taking their views to the Lord, asking for His wisdom and guidance and continuing to trust His voice in my life—which was calling me back into a traditional church community—I instead trusted their voice above all else. This led me to again stop going to church, which led to further isolation and confusion. After all, they were “above” me in the faith, “ahead” of me in the faith, and they were telling me that church was bad. (P.S. These friends were not telling me that fellowship was bad, but for the reasons above, I went to the extreme. Eventually, I did get back onto the track Jesus had for me, and I don’t blame my friends in the least. It was a learning experience.)
- Have you ever asked someone for advice or had someone give advice and immediately gone to EXTREMES with it? What does this mean? It could mean you automatically believe everything he or she said to be true. Or you feel completely hopeless about the situation now because the person shared a contrary opinion. It could mean you follow the advice immediately in a spirit of rush. After all, this person you love and trust must be right? Surely you are wrong, and they are right.
Again, it is good to seek wise counsel, and yes, sometimes we are in a crisis and need a trusted person to help us make quick decisions. Most of the time, however, we don’t need to rush. We can ask for wisdom, but that doesn’t mean we automatically accept everything that is said.
The other day, I spoke with a friend and she reminded me not to overspiritualize a situation. This is a very valid point! God gave us brains, and He wants us to use them. But because my heart was so tender, because I value this person’s opinion so highly, and because I knew God had been speaking to me from the beginning about this situation, I reacted to the extreme. Maybe this friend was right, and I hadn’t been hearing from God. Maybe I was just an idiot. Maybe I had been wrong about everything.
Once I got off the phone, ate some lunch (don’t do things hangry!), and did some thinking, I found balance. This friend had a very valid point in reminding me to use my brain. This friend cares about me and wants the best for me. But I am also an adult who can make her own decisions. An adult who has her own relationship with Jesus and hears from Him. And I did believe that God was in the situation I had shared with her.
Sometimes, others won’t fully agree or understand what is going on in our lives. And this stinks when you’re a people-pleaser—when the opinions of others hold such weight to you that you sometimes follow them just to get your loved ones’ approval and not necessarily because you feel the advice is right for you. It can also stink because it hurts to hear contrary opinions, things we don’t want to hear, like disapproval. But this doesn’t mean we shut out our loved ones or disallow them to make a statement if they are concerned. But we don’t have to panic or lash out because they hold a differing view.
We can, instead, take their words, sift through them with prayer and reflection, and glean the wisdom we need from them. And if our choices are different but we feel peace and the go-ahead from God (and our choices are not harming anyone else), then we need to find the confidence to make them.
Sometimes, too, we may try to set some boundaries. For example, maybe we agree to disagree with a friend about an issue. Maybe we ask if we can just table a particular issue for a time. We can also try not to react in defense or anger when a friend tries to share an opinion in love. Sometimes, we may just need to take a breath or step away for a moment to collect our thoughts. We may even be assuming something and need to ask further questions to clarify. Most people mean well, especially those who love us.
So one of the lessons God is teaching this gal who has struggled with people-pleasing, self-worth, and feeling not smart enough in the faith is to trust myself in Him, to trust in His voice, to learn to not automatically put the opinions of others above my own voice or that of my Father’s. To take the opinions of others and lay them down at His feet, and ask Him to show me what to do with them.
To trust in my own relationship with Jesus.
I am also learning that I have AMAZING friends who love me so much that they’ll share their true opinions and feelings with me, who trust me enough to be real, and I am so thankful. That is freedom.
Have a wonderful week!