quit caring

Real talk: it's possible to care too much. I know, because I've perfect the art of it in my 23 years. If "caring" for you equals unnecessary stress, wondering what complete strangers think of you, allowing one person's words to ruin your day, or another's sideways glance to make you question who you are-you care too much. I believe my personal struggle generates from the strong people-pleasing strand in my DNA that also causes me to be a good friend, a faithful girlfriend, and an exceptionally hard worker. But it also makes me a basket case. It causes all the muscles in my neck to spaz out and give me unbearable headaches. It causes me to completely abandon who I truly am for who I think people want me to be. It makes me stare into space and lose touch with reality because I just don't know how to function in this state anymore. Caring too much what people think is a life-ruiner. And the worst part is that it's a life-ruiner that you choose, daily. You wake up in the morning, and even though it may be habit by this point, you decide to be completely consumed all day by what the people around you may or may not think of you. You choose to put out of your mind all the awesome God given truths that bear freedom from that kind of pain and bondage and choose to live this way.

I've always known I tended to kind of care a little more than most people, but I always chalked it up to the fact that I'm just an empathetic individual. I knew I was a sensitive soul, that I deeply cared about everyone and what everyone thought, and I just wanted everyone to be happy and to like me. Last week was a kick in the face with this crap. I learned swiftly and painfully just how much power I'd handed over to people in my life that quite honestly didn't deserve to have it. Because realistically, there should be a handful of people in your life with the power to ruin your day. A handful. My father (pretty much the best analogy maker ever, it's where I learned it) equates it to a dart board. There should only be a few people in your "bulls eye" (for me, my parents, J, and a couple of close girlfriends). Those are the people whose opinions really matter, the ones with the access to your life to speak painful truth when you're not exactly looking the way Jesus does. Those are the people who do life with you, who love you dearly, and whose words are always meant to build you up. Outside of that bulls eye, the level of power should begin to diminish. I read a quote the other day that said "As we grow up, we realize it is less important to have lots of friends, and more important to have real ones." This has never rung more true in my life than it does now.

It takes training, not trying, to learn how to live free of those chains. I literally have started practicing being myself and living my life without being consumed by worry about what the people around me might be thinking (& how self-focused am I that I think everyone has an opinion about me?? geez.) My best friend and I were talking about this last night, and she referred to it as "bouncing your brain". It's a practice that our youth group used to teach the guys about avoiding lust, but I think it's applicable in every struggle of life. You have to bounce off of worry and people-pleasing, and focus it back on Jesus, and that you're pleasing him. There are going to be people who come after you about things in the name of Jesus that don't sound like him. That's why every thing that you do has to be filtered through him and his will for your life, so that when those people come around, the bounce is easy.

"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

BA-BOOM. Is the way you're living your life pleasing to Christ? Then be who he created you be, regardless of what any other person thinks. So yes, I tend to skip a little when I walk and be a little more animated and excited than the average human being. And yep, I blog about things that might make people squirm in their seats a little sometimes. But this is the life Christ has called me to for now. So, if you struggle with allowing the opinions of others to have far too much power in your life, I hope this hits home for you. I hope you can take the words I've shared and spend some time talking to God about them. Because if I want anything, it's freedom for each of you. And sometimes you need a wake-up call to realize how you've been living, you know? I just hope this pushes you to give certain people less power, to really appreciate the people who truly love you, and to bounce your brain off of what every-stinkin-person thinks. 


Carmen Myer said...

You were so right, I totally appreciated this. I think we might be the same person in this aspect. It's always something I've struggled with, and am now working on. Such a wake up call. Once again, you're spot on. Thanks for sharing :)

Stephanie Spencer said...

Hi Blake- I'm so glad you've popped over to Everyday Awe and found it helpful.

Your perspective here is great. It is definitely a journey to let go of people's expectations and desire for approval. It's something I give up, but at some point take back, and then give up again.

The verse from Galatians would be a good one to memorize and repeat every time that happens.

Blessings to you.

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