Thursday, February 24, 2011

Whose Opinion Matters Anyway?

Today as I vacuumed my carpet, I thought about what a mess my house had been lately.  We are in the process of moving, so boxes are everywhere and it's in complete shambles.  As I vacuumed I thought about how horrified I would be if someone were to stop over unannounced.  I shuddered as I remembered the first time I felt that overwhelming feeling of insecurity...

I was in the third grade.  John Busbee was my friend and I had a little crush on him.  He came to my house, unexpected, and wanted me to go to the beach with his family for the day.  I wanted to go so badly!  I remember I felt insecure about my body though, and I begged my sister to give me back my one-piece bathing suit so I could go.  I didn't feel confident in a two-piece and that was all I had.  My sister was wearing my one-piece though, and she was washing the car with my mom.

After about ten minutes of begging her, through tears, to please let me have it back so I could go, John and his family finally left.  I was covering up, hiding in the bedroom because I had on a two-piece and I didn't want him to see me in it.  I had never felt this way before that moment.  But it certainly wasn't the last time.

Can you relate to this feeling?  It's the feeling that if someone you care about (or someone whose opinion you care about) were to see you in a vulnerable, dare I say real state, you would be completely mortified.  Why do we care so much about things like this?  What happened in me that made me think for one moment that if someone wasn't going to like me for who I really am, it would be the end of the world? 

I also recall walking down the road in my apartment complex one day.  I had just given birth to my son, Tommy, and I was struggling with my weight.  I was the largest I'd ever been and I was already insecure about how I looked.  For many years I was the cheerleader, popular girl with "looks" and all of a sudden, they were gone.  I had lost my identity.  I heard some teenage boys talking about me from one of the apartment windows.  One of them said "Oh, look!  She's hot!" and the other one said "Are you kidding me? She's a fat cow! Are you blind?" and the other (charming) guy said "Oh, you're right, my bad." Then they proceeded to "Moo" at me.  I was absolutely sick and it tormented me for days.

Why did this bother me so much, though?  I mean, who really cares what two immature, obviously disrespectful and mean teenage boys have to say?  But at that moment, I took it as truth.  It was painful and it shook me to the core.  Just a few years prior, they would have been cat-calling and I would have been rolling my eyes at them!  Funny how you hate that so much when you feel good about yourself, but when you've lost your "looks" and the cat-calls stop, you begin to wonder if you are still beautiful.

I wish I had known Jesus at that point in my life.  I would have been a lot less bothered by it. And yet still today...I had an insecure thought about ,"What if someone saw my house like this?"  I prayed the moment I had the thought today, though.  I prayed the Lord would help me to overcome my insecure thoughts.  I prayed I would be okay with being flawed and imperfect.

He reminded me of these words in Jeremiah 17:5-8:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
   who draws strength from mere flesh
   and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
   they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
   in a salt land where no one lives.
 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
   whose confidence is in him.  
They will be like a tree planted by the water
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.” 

Friend, the moment we take someone else's opinion of us as truth over what God says about us, we are putting them in the place of God in our lives.  They become an idol.  I pray that we would all see the truth in the above words from the prophet Jeremiah and put our trust and our faith in God and God alone.

I've said it before, but it seems worth repeating today:  

Trust in man = insecurity.  Trust in God = In Security.


Kendra said...

Love love love it!!! Thank you :o) No matter how many times I hear "You are My precious child", I can ALWAYS hear it again! We are fearfully and wonderfully made! Thanks for your reminder :o)

Leslie Nease said...

Amen, sister! :) Thank you for the comment!

Got Questions?