by C. Michael PattonJune 1st, 2012 Be First to Comment
By Hilary Tompkins
I’m afraid of you.
I believe that people have power over me. Power to wound, expose, shame, injure, and expect something I’ll never be able to deliver. The thought of disappointing you all makes me want to run and hide. I am caught between the rock of their approval and the hard place of their rejection.
I’ve sought refuge under the radar. My fear robs me daily. Here are 10 ways it does so.
1. Fear Robs Me of Experiencing God’s Favor
I’m way more concerned about what people think of me. Pleasing people is my goal and although it’s an ever-moving target, I keep trying to hit the bull’s-eye of their approval. If people compliment me, I exhaust myself making sure I never disappoint people—or I give up entirely. I must know what they think.
2. Fear Robs Me of Hearing God’s Voice
When things go well, when I receive accolades, I miss God’s kind and tender, “Well done,” believing that it simply can’t be true. My ears are tuned to their thoughts and opinions—they’ve become my standard. When God lovingly rebukes me, I run back to their latest compliments and feed on them for a while.
3. Fear Robs Me of Honoring and Obeying God’s Leading
When I receive direction in prayer or conviction through a sermon or sense the Holy Spirit while reading my Bible, I feel a momentary call, a renewed vision, a rush of freedom that encourages me to step out in faith. But if I do that, people will judge me, so I wait, rethink, and conclude that what I heard was probably just my own thoughts and ideas anyway.
4. Fear Robs My Trust in God
I take great measures to ensure that I am safe from what people can do to me. My family’s health and behavior, my job, daily inconveniences, schedules, unpredictable relationships, even my pain—these must all be managed. It is all within my power to control. I am risk-averse. Circumstances are better determined by a spin doctor than the great physician, Jesus.
5. Fear Robs Me of Pursuing Conflict Resolution
Relationships wither as I refuse to address sin and allow its consequences to flourish. Prickly sinful patterns go unchallenged and I only hang out with those who “get” me. I’m certain that people won’t respond lovingly so I avoid building intimacy.