Fear

What If You Really Knew Me?

I met with a group of ladies this evening to talk about a book we are reading Forever by Paul David Tripp.  The purpose of the book is to remind us that life on earth is just supposed to give us a taste of eternity.  That the longings and frustrations we feel are because we are meant for so much more.  So in the course of our discussion, each lady was asked to share something that she struggles with in regard to grasping too tightly to the cares of the here and now.   One lady shared how even though she truly enjoys spending time with others, it also causes her much anxiety just prior to getting together.  Once she is there, all is well and she has a great time.  There were many of us that completely understood what she was talking about.

In fleshing out that idea a little more during our conversation, several of us added various comments to the original thought.  One person noted that she preferred to spend time alone but her family (seemingly) continually wanted others to come over – the more the merrier.  I added that I prefer to spend time by myself.  It is very rare that I will spend time in the company of others, especially during the week.  What makes this even funnier is that each of our husbands travel on a regular basis, so that just feeds our desire to be alone.  Just to clarify, I am not saying that our behavior is godly or should be emulated, I am just sharing painting a picture.

So on the way home, I thought over the funny stories and life similarities that we shared during our time together and began to wonder why is it that we react this way?  Why is it that we have so little desire to spend time with other believers or even family members?  Yet each of us greatly loves our families and brothers and sisters in Christ.  Each of us understands that we are commanded to come together on a regular basis and to share our lives with each other (for many reasons).  I don’t know about the others, but for me the near-debilitating fear is that if anyone spends too much time around me, they will realize who I am.  The look that I imagine on their face is a grimace of disgust that I am not who they thought I was.

In other words, I am putting way too much emphasis on what others think and way too little emphasis on what God thinks.  As I concluded my thoughts, the Holy Spirit reminded me  of Micah 6:8.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Prayer:

Thank you Lord for this gentle reminder that I should have my mind on You and what is of eternal value.  It is more valuable to spend time with your children showing kindness, love and mercy.  It is more important to humble myself and allow others to see who I really am and how You are working in and through me.  Please take my life and bring glory to yourself as I walk with You.

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2 thoughts on “What If You Really Knew Me?

  1. My thoughts go down a slightly different track, but hopefully it’s a “parallel track” 🙂

    It could be that you prefer time alone because that’s how God designed your personality. In our training for ministry, one thing that seems to come up a lot is that there are a lot of different ways that people are built. One aspect of that is how we “recharge”. Some people seem to get energy from being around other people (such as the family members your friend mentioned!) and some people are drained by it. The important thing is to understand your needs and the needs of others around you, and find a healthy balance. If you are someone who gains energy from alone time (I’m with you in this category), you need to find outlets for that, so that you aren’t withdrawing from relationships in unhealthy ways. At that point, it would come to what you wrote about above – withdrawing because of fear, or a self-image that isn’t lined up with God’s view of you. You’re absolutely right about wanting to put your focus on God’s opinion of you, and not man’s!

  2. Thank you so much for helping me to come at that from a different angle. I do gain energy from time spent alone. Coupled with fearing what others would do if they got to know the “real” me, leaves a lot of opportunity for God to grow me.

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