Have you every felt "held back" in life? Did you ever ask yourself if perhaps you were "held back" because of the opinions of others?
I have let other's opinions of me or my plans shape what I do in the past. I look back now and think, "what were you thinking?" Not only did I not follow through with plans, I got so wrapped up in what they thought, I completely changed my mind on a subject or worried about how I looked! The only think I accomplished by doing this was adding more stress to me life! I bothered to consult people who would not matter in 20 years but I never bothered to ask God. How backward is that?
I've had people question how I handled my husband's death. I've had people question me about my writing. I've had people question me about decisions I've made about what I want in life. I've had people question me about political opinions and spiritual opinions. Some of those doing the questioning have even tried to back me into a corner or make me feel bad about myself. Here is my answer. Their opinion of me or my decisions does not matter. They are not in my shoes. They have not been given my calling. They are not in my relationship with Jesus. They are not paying my bills. Many of them have not even experienced what I have experienced but that does not keep people from sharing their opinions, however unwanted or unfounded. I hate to say this but after my husband's death, I found a real appreciation for not only saying the word "no" more often but also not worrying about what other people thought. I had honestly worried too much about what he thought for my own good. This mindset was absolutely freeing!
Does this mean I did illegal or immoral things? No. Does this mean I just wrote people off or dismissed them if they shared their opinion, not necessarily. I have learned to gauge the heart of people. Are they someone who cares about me? If the answer is yes, their thoughts and suggestions carry more weight. Do they just have an opinion? If that is the case, then they are welcome to have their opinion and I will do what I feel I need to do and what God wants me to do. Are they nosey and want something to gossip about? If so, I'll give them something to talk about by doing exactly what I need to do whether they like it or understand it or not.
Do you see where I'm going here? The only opinion that matters to me in the end is Jesus' opinion. I value the thoughts and suggestions of close friends and family. I value the thoughts and suggestions of people that invest in me. I may not always agree with them or do what they think I should do, but I value them. I do not value the opinion of just anyone who presents one. Many times these people presented death to me in words wrapped in pretty bows. I will not go back to that way of living life!
As I said in my blog on Thursday, take care of who speaks into your life. I will add to that be careful who's opinion you value. If they don't care anything about you, you are wasting your time. If it's not God's opinion, you are wasting your time. God and the people who care about you will not steer you wrong, others just might for their own agendas.
Don't let the opinions of others hold you back from your God-given gifts and call. They don't have to understand and they don't have to like it. It's not their journey. Those who love you will give you the freedom to do what you need to do and be who you need to be; they will still love you regardless. I have experienced this with those who really love me. If you aren't experiencing this, you are listening to the wrong people.
Who is speaking into your life? Whose opinions are holding you back? Who do you need to stop listening to in order to move forward? I ask you to ponder these questions. You may be surprised at the answers.
Pursuing His opinion and His dream for me,