Dropping Fears of What Others Think
Posted in Fear/Anxiety
Scripture: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”– Philippians 4: 6-7
I am a big people-pleaser and usually always worry about what people think of me. I try to make everyone as happy as I try to make myself, if not more. This has always been how it is. I would shine the attention on others and be behind the camera taking the pictures instead of being in them to make sure everyone is satisfied.
This has always caused me to have major anxiety about my actions, my looks, and my personality causing my head to be filled with questions every day. Will they like me if I do this? Will they still like me if I have to say no to their request? Is there anything I can do to make their lives easier or better, even if it is out of my way? I hate when people get mad at me and do everything in my power to avoid that, even if it means sometimes letting people walk over me.
I used to attend Camp Greystone in North Carolina, one of the few places I felt like I did not have to continually please everyone and could just be myself. This was especially true after my eighth summer there before my freshman year of high school. My counselor, Lily, changed me and my cabinmates’ outlook on life that summer. We did weird activities that no other cabin would do because Lily was just that kind of person and did not care what the rest of the camp thought of her. While other cabins were watching sunrises on the lake, we were visiting local pig farms at the crack of dawn with hot chocolate in hand. While being so incredibly random, we thought these activities were the greatest in the world.
One night during our nightly devotional and tuck-in, she addressed why she does all these things that one would not normally do and why she did not care that it was not considered “normal.” She said that we were at camp to have fun and try new things. As long as we were having fun, she would continue to make our five weeks in the mountains as exciting as possible and teach us how to live without having to please others or care what others think. She ended that night’s devotion with Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” We continued the summer running around without a care in the world, dreading the day we had to leave Lily and our bubble of peace.
I went to camp for nine years, and Lily’s lessons and devotions brought me closer to God than almost everything else combined. Although I am still a people-pleaser and still care so much about what people think of me, I hang onto Lily’s scripture and ways to turn to God to control my people-pleasing tendencies.
New questions pop up in my head now: “Why should I care what others think when the only people I am trying to please are myself and Jesus Christ?” I no longer need a face of makeup each morning to leave my house, and instead of being scared to talk, I say what I want to say. Each day I have to remind myself that my anxiety and what people do or do not think of me are all in my head. Each day I am getting better at just being myself and living life like I did the summer of 2017.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving us your peace. Help my heart be untroubled and unafraid. Amen.
Submitted by Addie Anders, Senior at Hammond School