Have you ever caught yourself worrying about someone else’s opinions, consumed by the thought that he or she may not like you or your work? This has happened to me more than I care to admit lately. Ok…if I’m honest, this has been happening to me my whole life. I find myself worrying about other people’s opinions of me and hoping that they like what I have to say, what I write, what I do, even what I wear. It is exhausting and I know that it is not the best that God has for me.
A few weeks ago, this became crystal clear for me. As I walked into a work meeting, I found myself thinking, “I’ve worked so hard lately to bring about good growth. I sure hope it gets mentioned during this meeting.” I wanted so badly to hear someone say, “Good job. Well done!” As I sat through that meeting, that wish did not materialize. I never heard those words. Others in the meeting were praised for their work and effort. And, really, I was happy for them! But, I felt overlooked and invisible. I was discouraged and I left that meeting with a heart burdened by doubt and discouragement.
God Sees and Values Me
Thankfully, though, God sees me in all things, good and bad. He gently whispered a reminder to me…that I am to value HIS opinions of me above all else. I am to work to please Him, not man. His praise is the praise I should yearn to hear.
I thought about that truth a lot in the days that followed that meeting. Whenever I would feel discouragement begin to creep its way back into my heart, I would reflect upon the following thoughts.
It doesn’t matter if others don’t value or see my hard work. God sees it. God knows my heart, knows my spirit, knows my innermost thoughts. He sees the true me and that is what matters.
It doesn’t matter if others don’t understand my introverted nature, if they think my quietness is due to haughtiness or vanity. God knows that it is not. God sees me for who I truly am. After all, He’s the one who made me. 🙂
It doesn’t matter what people think of my house, my clothes, my car, etc. I am not working to please man, I am working to please God. The size of my house doesn’t matter. God will be pleased if I have made that house a home. The newness of my car doesn’t matter. God has provided me with a car that runs and that is paid for. I am thankful for that.
That day, God whispered truth into my heart. Truth that can be applied anytime I am feeling discouraged, overlooked, or less than. In the days that have followed, He has opened my eyes to how much I truly have been valuing the praise of men over His praise. I am learning to change. I am learning to value what God sees and values — my heart, my motives, my thoughts, my actions. If they are God-honoring and God-pleasing, then I should be satisfied.
Steps to Take
It’s not easy, though. The enemy whispers lies and my heart believes them so easily. The following steps have helped me in times of struggle.
- Keep God’s promises near. The following truths from God’s word have served as good reminders to me. I hope they can be a resource to you as well. Try writing them down and keeping them somewhere close, maybe in a purse or a notebook. When you feel discouraged, you will be able to find them quickly without a lot of searching.
- Record a list of your strengths. Don’t feel like you are being vain or bragging on yourself. Just take a moment or two to honestly reflect on the talents with which God has gifted you. He has blessed us all with special gifts…what are yours? Encouragement? Writing? Compassion? Creativity? Write them down and keep that list close (on the same paper as the verses!). When you are feeling down or discouraged, read it. Remember that God made you special. What others think doesn’t matter. God sees you as the special creation that you are.
- Pray about it. Give it to God. Ask Him to help. He promises He will be near.
- Take a deep breath and move on. Don’t let yourself dwell in the negative emotions. Change your environment if possible. Go outside for a walk. Get busy in the kitchen for a bit. Go clean out a closet. Call a good friend. Distract yourself to break the cycle of discouraging thoughts. When they pop back up (and they will), go back to steps 1-3 and repeat as necessary.
If you are feeling the same way…discouraged, invisible, less than…because of the opinions of others, I hope my story, these verses, and the steps above can help you. It’s not easy to defeat these feelings, but we are ultimately and completely children of the Most High God. What more could we ask for?
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