The Fear of What People Think of You vs. What God Thinks of You

People can surely be interesting can they? They can either become our greatest of companions, or they can become the nemesis to our own reputation. In some way, people have affected our very well being rather they be parents, grandparents, peers, strangers, and even spouses and children. People often however live under the lie that they have to live up to some kind of reputation to establish the foundation of their well-being, and there is a constant fear about said reputation crumbling down before our very eyes. Most of us would even do anything just so people can like us, we as people want to be wanted and accepted; old and young. We are living in a time of fear, and a time when social media plays so heavily now in our lives; women have to be subjugated in following a certain norm or plays with personal insecurities just to “be more beautiful,” and men have to deal with the constant barrage of lies that says women want men who will treat them like meat or have to dress and talk in a certain way because that’s what defines a man, and my least favorite thing is the lie that both men and women will be fully completed when we finally search for “the one,” and there is a constant battle of being in a relationship and somewhat tabooing people who are not in relationships, and it almost feels like advertising than it does living an actual relationship. This my friends, is the kind of fear Satan places in us to isolate us further from the Lord. But the good news is, despite all of these fears that we may have with people, we CAN truly find our assurance in what the Lord thinks of us.

A little back story about myself. I have what people know as anxiety, and what anxiety is, it is a mental state of constant uneasiness. There’s different kinds of anxiety, but the two kinds of anxiety that I have are general anxiety and social anxiety; I have mostly social anxiety, and it is very difficult for me to be around people. Like I said earlier, people have affected us in some way that I have been affected to, and since I have anxiety, it is a constant battle to fight on a daily bases. Yes, there are treatable ways to handle anxiety with counseling or taking anti-depressant drugs, and I will just say, I’ve been to counseling before…did not like it, and I defiantly do not want to take medication (mostly because of the fact that I have heard about some side effects in regards to anti-depressants). I will encourage you though, if you need to take medication then by all means do so! Anyway, I have anxiety, and it is very difficult especially when it comes down to people.

What does it like to have anxiety? Well, I’ll tell you. Imagine yourself being in a crowd full of people, and not only do you feel alone even though you are surrounded by people, you feel the uneasiness that people do not want you in the same room: not even in their own sight. So, there is a constant worry about being judged and expecting something to happen in fear, and sadly this is where it gets hard for me around people. A good majority of my life, I have had the absolute pleasure of being labeled in some kind of way that basically made me more of an outcast. Try to go into a fad, I was called a loser. People entering the latest fads and I go against said fad, I was called weirdo. My fourth grade teacher, knew I had to take a special class just to read and knew I wasn’t the smartest kid in my class, called me an idiot and some other pretty nasty things. I have even been called a stalker (in a way I deserved it but there were some circumstances that was highly uncalled for), fatty (I’m a pretty big guy), and the list goes on. However, the point is not about the names, but more about what God really thinks of me, and the assurance that I can have in what He thinks and not what people think.

The reality of names is that they do hurt us! They do, so brick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me logic is completely thrown out the window. But here’s what is encouraging, God takes the names that we have been “cursed” with, and makes them prayers of our hearts (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)! And what’s even better, is that God does know that names do hurt, but He reminds us to seek what He really thinks of us. He wants us to know what He thinks of us, and for us to understand that people are not perfect. We place all of our fears based into the critiques of imperfect people trying to define our lives, but God who IS the very definition of perfect, sees us in a way that satisfies the massive hole that needs to be filled, and He wants us (myself heavily included) to cast our anxieties on Him. That’s how amazing God is!

Billy Graham, one of the greatest Evangelists of our time once said in 1965, “Historians will probably call our era “the age of anxiety.” Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.” We are living in that now! The Israelites did too! The disciples also! The simple cure of anxiety is simply give your life to Jesus, and fix our very thoughts on the truth and assurance of His promises! I mean, does Jesus sound like a God that intends to hurt us? No, absolutely not! He intends to have us walk in this life WITHOUT fear, anxiety, and worry, because He is with us! And for someone like me who goes through anxiety and has to take the challenge to fight it more and more daily, this is still encouraging!

Satan just LOVES to see us break and separated from God, but nothing can separate us from the everlasting love of God that He has for us, and He clearly demonstrated His love for us on a cross we were meant to take! There’s not enough fame in the world that can satisfy the massive hole in our hearts than what the Lord truly brings to the table. You do not need to be the next Markiplier or PeewDeePie on YouTube, or those cheesy Viners or have a fake Instagram life…God is what defines your life, and to remember that this life is not about us, it’s about God and His glory! Whatever philosopher might say, college professor, teacher, parent, whatever and they say that this life is based on whatever reputation that defines your life, absolutely false! Live in truth, and overcome the fear of what people think by engaging the battle of living with the truth of the Gospel, because that’s what life really is about.

One last thing about this, is that my mother said that I needed to be careful with who I tell about me having anxiety, which in the end really translates to do not tell anyone. But recently, while still being cautious in who I talk to and what I say, the brothers and sisters I have made, I have been more open with them about this, and it feels amazing! Seriously, it feels so amazing that the anchor that was tied to my ankle felt practically gone. And confidently, trying to see life with the perspective of the Gospel honestly gives me more confidence than taking medication. And like Jabez, I turn my “curses” into prayers and ask God to give me the heart to be thankful, and that is something very hard for me to do, but it is worth it.

What people think could be constructive, but in the end is not something we are to live for. In the end, what people think are just more dead ends and throwing ourselves in a cycle of insanity. But the cure of anxiety without living in fear is the Gospel, and the confidence it brings that truly defines our lives, and shows us that we are worth more than what social media could try to put a price on. We are loved that much, and we have a perfect Father who wishes us to see that He is good, and the plans He has for us is good, and to remind us that we are made for eternity with Him. Fight the fear, and live by truth! The world may think you’re not someone, but God and His promises, defines our very being, and makes us more than someone. Live by truth.

 

“The Bible is not an option; it’s a necessity.”-Billy Graham

Bible Verses on Anxiety and Fear (provided by the Billy Graham Foundation @ billygraham.org)

  1. “We can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”
    —Hebrews 13:6
  2. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
    —Philippians 4:6-7
  3. “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
    —Psalm 34:4
  4. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
    —Psalm 42:5
  5. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
    —Matthew 6:34
  6. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
    —2 Corinthians 4:8-9
  7. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
    —Psalm 23:1-6
  8. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
    —1 Peter 5:5-7
  9. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
    —Revelation 21:4

 

References on Anxiety and Fear:

  1. http://billygraham.org/story/bible-verses-on-anxiety-fear/
  2. http://billygraham.org/story/how-to-overcome-fear-anxiety-and-worry/
  3. http://billygraham.org/audio/cure-for-anxiety/
  4. http://billygraham.org/answer/how-can-i-deal-with-the-fear-and-anxiety-that-makes-me-want-to-stay-home-all-the-time/
  5. http://billygraham.org/answer/the-doctor-has-put-me-on-medicine-for-my-anxiety-but-im-not-sure-it-does-much-good/
  6. Promises That Never Break by Stephen Rummage
    1. God promises His help when you’re afraid. (Isaiah 41:10)
    2. God promises His peace when you are worried. (Isaiah 26:3)
    3. God promises His guidance when you are unsure. (Psalm 32:8)
    4. God promises His contentment when you are empty. (Psalm 107:9)
    5. God promises His presence when you are brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18)
    6. God promises His care when you are stressed. (Psalm 55:22)
    7. God promises His patience when you are anxious. (Psalm 40:1)
    8. God promises His strength when you are weak. (Isaiah 40:29)
    9. God promises His rest when you cannot sleep. (Proverbs 3:24-26a)
    10. God promises His salvation when you call on Him. (Joel 2:32, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)
      1. If you have received Christ today as your Lord and Savior, say this prayer in your heart and mouth: “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask Your forgiveness. I believe You are God’s Son, and that You died to pay for my sins and rose from the grave. I ask You to save me right now and to give me Your gift of eternal life. I give my life to You. In Your name I pray, amen.”

 

***As featured on J.R.Kruse.blog.wordpress.com