4 March 2012

Don’t Judge Me. Please?

Easiest phrase to sum up my experience here in Los Angeles.

I feel like I’ve learned so much about myself: what I really think about God, how I honestly make decisions, what I’m the most afraid of, what I want most. All of it has surprised me. I could write a book about it all, but today all I can think of is the revelation of how I make decisions.

Ever since I was young, essentially all my decisions were made to please my parents and be a good role model for my younger sisters. As I grew into a teen, it was to please the decently legalistic homeschool community: wearing all the right clothes, adopting all the right standards to set myself apart from the world at large. In highschool,  I was a sunday school teacher for pre-schoolers for two years, a member of the choir and the token Christian girl in all my work and school environments. After that, I had my short experience of ‘living in the world’ as we say, and ‘found it to be empty and lonely’, which is another thing we also say. (I’m not saying it like this to negate the truth of it, but rather to poke fun on the unoriginal way we Christians constantly say things). After that little rebellious bout, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and spent the next year and a half at a Christian University where standards and rules were very present.

I’m not saying any of this is wrong or bad in the least and I’m certainly not complaining. I feel very blessed to have had the environment and upbringing that I have. I’m simply providing a framework for the next statement I’m going to make, because it’s a difficult one to make:

It’s really hard for me to make decisions and not receive validation from everyone that I’m making the right choice. 

Another way to say it is I’m a people pleaser, to the point where I’ve made a majority, but not all, of my decisions to please people in my life. I’m hideously insecure at certain points in my personality, actually. I’ve elevated the idea of having a blameless name before men, above my relationship with Christ. My focus on what is right and what is wrong has reached in and strangled my growing understanding of grace and freedom in Jesus.

I know what you’re thinking. “Geez, another one of those post-modern, college Christians who yaps on about grace so they can justify having a beer here and there.” I turn 21 in about a week and a half, and because of my contract I signed for my semester in LA, I won’t be drinking, and I’m not tremendously interested anyway, so don’t mind that. I’m not saying live like the devil and it’s alright.

What I am saying is I want to learn how to make decisions about what is right and what is wrong by how it affects my intimacy with Jesus and not because I’m terrified people will judge me and find me unworthy. Romans 14 is pretty helpful about this, if you ever want a good read. 

My boss told me the other day that any decision that I’ve made in fear is a decision made in sin, and those decisions will result in people being hurt.

‘Anything not of faith is sin’.

My mind was blown. Me being afraid to hurt other people and let them down is a sin? But it feels so comfortable and so right to be worried about others! Isn’t it a selfless and honorable thing to put others before yourself? 

There is a difference of honoring another person in love with your decision and living in fear of their judgement. Everything I see scripturally seems to tell me that the first not the latter is the way to live, and I’ve been stuck in the second. 

Something worth mention is perhaps no one is judging me and I’ve just foisted my self-judgement onto them. Regardless, it’s a bit of an unnecessary focus to have.

I want Jesus to be my deciding factor. I want to have peace with him and my decisions to go or stay, do this or that and I want to FORGET everyone else. At the end of the day, I need to stand before the Lord and account for my heart. I submit if I put him first in that, then everything else will fall into place. Matthew 6:33, anyone?

I could keep going and maybe I will another time. Regardless, this is sort of where I am with things on this Sunday in March, halfway through the most surprising and stretching semester of my life.

God has a funny way of turning the snow globe upside down and shaking it when you least expect it. I’m grateful for that. I need to get out of this cycle, and these little slaps in the face are my wake up call. That’s all the evidence I need of a God who cares; a God who wants me awake so I can see him fully.

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