The Shallow End

It’s so easy, especially for a person who is prone to codependency, for a person to assign their own personal worth to what others around them think of them.

For a single person who has no potential life-mate—and may not even intend to have one in the near future—I believe this is especially harmful to the psyche. As such a person myself, I have come to realize that my mood can vary like shifting shadows, depending on how people around me are reacting to me at any given moment.

Now, granted, this sounds very conceited, and self-absorbed, as I physically type those words out.

I have realized that when I’m in a already mentally-compromised position like that,  I am much more concerned about people’s reactions toward me than I even realize.  So much so, in fact, that sometimes I have no real perception of anything going on around me in real-time. Someone may get a new job, a new haircut, or wearing a new outfit and internally they are wondering how their new outfit looks on them, per the people around them. They are looking for feedback but I’m so stuck in my world that I don’t even give them a compliment.

That’s not to say that I don’t notice their outfit, or the new hairstyle, or the fact that someone is in a new position, etc.  But, I’m so focused on the acceptance of others that what takes center stage in my heart are all the overshadowing doubts, sometimes bordering on dispair.

“Am I recognized? Am I enough? Am I coming across completely crazy to this new friend? I know I am, but why? And why do I care so much what they think? Am I boring this person to tears with my endless words? What’s wrong with me? Why do people hate me so much? I’m such a [insert curse word] loser.  Why can I never seem to keep a good friend around? Why am I always overbearing toward others?” And the list goes on…

See, the enemy can get intertwined in my innermost thoughts if I am not careful.

The key is keeping the right perspective. The only perspective that matters. I am a daughter of the KING. I am a child of God. I am the beloved of Jesus. I am precious in HIS sight.

I won’t pretend that it does not matter what people think (we all know it matters—we are built for community and relationships), but it should not be my driving force. It shouldn’t be the deeply rooted motivation that drives me to the edge of cliffs, in hopes of trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. It shouldn’t drive me to be “the one” they depend on, when in all honesty I am the last person on their mind. While I consciously think about the myriad of possibilities of “what if’s” and “why’s”, the other person is most times lost in their own world and not thinking a thing about me and my myriad of deficiencies.

I’m not theirs. Their opinion should not drive me.
My perspective should be that of my Father, looking at me with eyes of love. He knows that I am not perfect. He knows that I get overzealous and try to change the world on my own, apart from Him. He knows the depths of my crazy—like no one else. And He loves me all the same. And yet, He is willing to reshape me and mold me into His Son’s image. And, well, quite honestly, that is the only image I need to be trying to resemble. No one else’s idealized version of me.

Not even my own idealized version of what I think that others wish they saw in me.

I must decide to keep this focus in mind: I am perfectly clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. I am loved and cherished and was appointed before the foundations of the world to go out into this world and be a light for Him.

So, why do I let others throw a lampshade over my head? It’s time to step out from under the lampshade, and just be–me.

And ask Jesus to shine forth from me—because let’s face it, I can’t shine on my own, apart from Him. I know. I’ve tried. I’ve tried really really hard at times. And it’s those times that I end up being the darkest light—like a black light, highlighting all my sins-stained imperfections among the dark world around me.

If you are like me, and worry too much about others’ opinions of you, join with me today in the resolution to focus on the fact that we are God’s child, Jesus’ Beloved, and sealed with the Holy Spirit, awaiting our day to be with Him forever. Let’s just stop and ponder that thought in our hearts and ask Him to renew our minds in Him, and help us to take every thought captive to His Word. Let us bask in the greatest Gift He gave us-Life eternal, though so undeservedly.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

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