I remember so clearly when our children were small, worrying about what other parents might think of my parenting style or how my kids behaved. My mind would try to wander into the minds of the other women in my life, and I would play out scenarios in my head, displaying their thoughts. I knew who might snarl their lip at how many chances I gave my toddler before putting them in time-out. Or when I trained my child not to jump on someone else’s furniture, I just knew my “free-style” parenting friend was going to call up her mama when I left and talk about how strict I was on my kids.
Some things take time and with time comes wisdom and with wisdom comes the sharp truth that Paul speaks of in Galatians.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
I wish I could go back and tell my young mama self to just stop. I wish I could tell her she was chosen specifically to raise those children and that only she would know what the best mommy methods would be for them. I wish I could tell her that the amount of time, anxiety, and brain power used up on wondering what others thought would be a total waste of energy that could be used to encourage friends to be the best mothers they could be too.
If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
In order to be a servant of Christ then, we have to live our lives with only Christ in mind; His opinion is all that matters. And thank goodness, because He is fair, just, and always knows the intentions of our hearts. Not only that, but He knows what it’s like to have unruly children and have His own reputation at stake!
I found great freedom when I realized I only needed to live for an audience of one — the One.
The One who looks at my heart, not my outward appearance.
The One who is concerned with my spiritual growth, not the growth of my bank account.
The One who sees how hard I work at my jobs, whether my co-workers do or do not.
The One who hears my prayers for others, even on days I don’t feel prayed for.
The One who sees me folding clothes at night, even when my children don’t have a clue.
The One who sees my tears roll, even if I don’t deserve to be shedding them.
The One who has a future planned for me, even when I feel like I’ve lost my way.
An audience of One.
What would your life be like if you didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s opinions?
What if you didn’t have to worry about their opinions on how you dress, how long you grow your hair, or how little or much you eat; on what you do for a living, whether you went to college, or whether you finished high school with a GED; on whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a work-outside-of-the-home mom, or a stay-at-home spouse with no children in the home.
The key to releasing the chains of others’ opinions is found by resting in the peace of Christ.
There are still times that I catch myself worrying about what someone else may think of me. It’s something I have to guard against. But over time, at the end of the day when my head hits the pillow, I’ve found my thoughts resting on whether I served Him well and whether I made Him proud.
And that’s really all that matters.
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In order to be a servant of Christ, we have to live our lives with only Christ in mind; His opinion is all that matters. -Kellie Johnson: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Kellie, I tried to parent by referendum as well, paying so much attention to the opinions of others–and then throwing in the advice of every expert and parenting magazine I could scrounge up. I was so tuned in to my own weaknesses as a parent that it was all I could see.
One of the most freeing revelations I ever had was the truth that I was the hand-picked parent for my sons: my weaknesses, their weaknesses, and our familial quirkiness all in a big basket of grace.
Kellie Johnson says
We were hand picked, yes! I would love to cup every new mama’s face in my hands and whisper that truth to them!
Fantastic devotional!! Thank you so much!!
Kellie Johnson says
Thank you Jessica! It’s a good reminder even for myself that He’s all that matters!
Kellie, so true. We get so consumed with what others think of us that we fail to believe that we are worthy in God’s eyes. I pray we will remember to be kind when we come upon someone struggling with this and let them know that it’s okay. I remember very clearly back in the day when my kids were young, it was tough and there was no self help book on what to do in certain scenarios when our kids act up or do something that we have no control over. If we can just show compassion and for those of us who had been in these situation, extend our hands to help, that I believe would be so much appreciated. May we continued to love on everyone that we meet and not be judgmental. Thank you for sharing this message.
Kellie Johnson says
I love your point about showing compassion. We all need more of that…young moms, empty nesters, retired folks…thank you for the reminder 🙂
karyn jones says
thank you posting this – especially today! i have been struggling with this myself lately. i am not a parent, but can only imagine the pressure, insecurity, and judgement that comes along with being a parent. And all the advice (solicited or not so much)…sigh. in some regards, i could care less what people think. but in certain circumstances, i find that i care more than i want to and if someone has a negative word (or a word i perceive as being negative), it has the ability to break my spirit or steal my joy. i’m not proud of it, but it is sometimes true. i don’t know when it got this bad, but i know my fear of what others thought didn’t used to be like this. when i have a flare up, i go back to the same scripture you used. i think “whose approval am i trying to win? who am i trying to please?” i want to please God and i want to be happy and have peace. i know peace does not come from internalizing what everyone else says i should or should not do with my life. i can’t please everyone…it’s too much work.
i don’t think i will ever be one of those people who just doesn’t care. i wish i were, but i’m not. i just want to not let it influence my decisions or allow others’ thoughts to make me feel like i’m wrong or stupid for my decisions. again, thank you Kellie for sharing this! it’s nice to know i’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. it was right on time and God knew what i needed without me having to vocalize it. Lord, you know that i am a work in progress. please just continue to work on and in me. i pray that your words will override that of anyone here on this earth.
Kellie Johnson says
Karyn, I still have to remind myself “audience of ONE”. I think the approval of others is something the enemy can use to distract us. You are not alone in this.
Beth Williams says
For the most part I don’t care what others think. I listen to their advice on topics & then pray about it & do what God has laid on my heart. I’ve heard this said before “are we wanting the applause of man or God?” I’m not a parent but did parent my aging parents. I did the best I could. Like you said there is no self help book out there. You just have to pray about situations & ask for guidance. There are times ‘m tempted to tell others how to do this or that & then I think “would I want them telling me what to do?” “Who am I to tell them how to handle this situation I’ve never been a parent to gone through this.” I just walk over & offer encouragement & prayer. I believe there is no one right way to do life. Each person has to decide how to handle their trials. Each child/parent is unique & requires different types/ways to be raised. Praise God He is there to guide us on this journey. I say take others’ advice with a grain of salt, pray for wisdom & do what is best for your situation.
Kellie Johnson says
Great wisdom here Beth. Thank you for encouraging us with it!
I am late reading this, but my oh my this was so timely! Thank you for this!