I applied to go on a mission trip with our church. Yep, applied. They have a screening process to make sure they’re taking good people, but to also make sure they can find a group that will work well together.
One of the questions on the application asked about weaknesses. I entered, “I worry too much about what others think of me.”
Went through the in-person interview and waited to hear if I’d been chosen. I wasn’t.
I realized they had way more applicants than spaces, but I was crushed. And my first thoughts were, “Oh no, they don’t like me? Why don’t they like me? Could I have done something different to make them like me?”
Then I realized what I had listed as a weakness, and how it was still very much a weakness.
It’s exhausting to always worry what others think about you! To teach in Sunday school and agonize, “Did they like it? Was I good enough?” To speak up in a meeting and wonder, “Did I look like an idiot by asking that question?” To comment in Bible study and think, “Oh dear, am I talking too much again? Am I that annoying girl?” Or to go to work with a big zit on my forehead and worry all day that people are staring at it. I admit that I really like hearing people say, “Good job”, “Nice work”, “Thank you”, or “You look good.”
It’s only recently that I’ve become aware of how often I think these things. And how sinful it is. I’m not going to pretend like what others think doesn’t matter – because it does. To some extent. We still need to be gentle and respectful. But bending over backwards to suit others instead of serve God is the wrong priority.
So I’ve been working on turning this over to God. Focusing on Him and His perspective. Things like leaving Sunday school not thinking, “Did they like my lesson?” but, “Did I give it my best and get God’s truth across?”