Friday, September 6, 2013

Character vs Reputation

I read this brilliant quote today on facebook and it spoke volumes to me.

I was the queen of getting my feelings hurt. And this week alone, I felt like I was spoon fed several opportunities to be offended at what people might think of me, of my "reputation."  In all honesty, my hearts cry is to remain humble. And in my heart of hearts, I want to be a balanced person of God's grace, his wisdom, and his love...and at the same time, I still want people know that I'm real and messy and fun and sarcastic. I'm not religious. I'm not fake. And I don't pretend to be better or worse than I am. I'm just me. And it hurts when it seems like people don't see that. It hurts when people see something they don't like. 
But that's me. That's how I roll.
I have to try my hardest not to let little things people may think about me bother me. At the same time, I've been working harder at not being a doormat, and not doing things just because people will or won't approve of me.

I want to be true to who I am. 
I want to be who God made me to be. 

It isn't always easy to defy the rules that will give you a generous reputation or to defy the art of people pleasing.
 But at the same time, there is something about standing up for yourself that helps define confidence in who God says you are. It defines character and loyalty and honesty within yourself and everyone around you. When I say standing up for yourself, I don't mean a haughty outward defiance to the world and those who hurt you, and I'm not talking about a giving yourself an ego boost or a "you deserve better" pep talk,  
I'm talking about developing true character, which somehow in contrast to pride and ego, brings about both humility and strength at the same time.
On the inside of you.

 All I know is I have to be happy with who I am. And I am happiest most when my allegiance is to Jesus.
I've found that I''m not always well liked because of it. Jesus comes before everything and everyone.
My relationship with him beats church, ministry, family, rules...everything. It sounds harsh, but if I have no relationship and intimacy with him, I don't feel like I'm much good in any of these other areas anyways.
If I'm in love with him, then I do so much better at everything I am doing in this life.

Don't you hate that when you know in you're heart how genuine you are, when you know how much you love people, how much you want to help others and love God....but someone else sees you differently?
It's hard. And it sort of breaks little pieces of you when it happens.

But what do you do then? 
I was taking a walk the other day and sort of chuckled to myself as I heard myself say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." But I know that is so out of line. I am no better than any other person.
But it was funny, because that's sort of how I felt. It was honest. For a minute, anyways.

Truthfully though, I've had to ask God to show me if I'm wrong somewhere, if was out of line at some point of time. My first step is to get myself right before God, not right in someone else's eyes.  
I use the opportunity to grow in strength and to grow in character. I want to care more about who I am in the eyes of God, than what people think about me. And I want to be everything God says I am. 

Humility and forgiveness is key. It's not easy. I've drudged up the same hurts in my mind over and over and over again. And over and over and over again, God has taught me how to forgive and let go. I ask for his strength to let go of it...because sometimes, it can kill you slowly and it wants to suck the life out of you.
I've experience life suckage. In major ways.
And not only is forgiveness key, but something else I heard today that I should have known but haven't done a whole lot of to be honest, but praying for the person who hurt you. It can actually build more love in you for that person. This is humility and love in its truest form. Praying for those who have hurt you.

My prayer this weekend is that if you've been hurt in any way by someone, in the smallest of ways or the biggest, that you ask God for his grace and his strength to look that offender in the eye (at least in your heart) and love them with the biggest of loves. His.

  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!   In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.   If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.   If you are kind only to your friends,  how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.   But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48


Jacy Pulford said...

Beautiful girl. You took the words right out of my thoughts and strung them so clear and eloquently. I am also in the same boat as you. The key is to be careful about our emotions and hearts because they are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and set our eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Hang in there, you are not alone! xoxo

Michele19 said...

Its exhausting pleasing others and not everyone may like us no matter how nice we are to them. Our focus on Christ allows us to be who we are and meant to be. We focus on pleasing him instead of others and that takes the weight off our shoulders. Maybe it comes with age but I'm getting more comfortable with me. My goal is to be gentle like Christ. I have always been fond of humility but its tough to stay there. This is a race we've been told so keep pressing on.

No(dot dot)el said...

This is so good Julie. I could totally relate because, I used to care so much what other people thought of me. It wasn't until marrying my husband(who could give a rats a** about other's opinions of him) and getting a bit older that a lot of that concern went away. You are so right on about getting your true identity from the source. Our Creator knows us better than we know ourselves and going to HIM first is key! He keeps all things in perspective.

Becky Borgman said...

I have seen this quote before too and thought it was so good to reflect on. I love this reminder! But man, is it hard! Especially when I drive, ha!

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