In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. Prov. 14:26-27
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this concept since my last blog post. It really spills over into many areas of my life, not just the one specific instance I wrote about last week.
I apologize too much. I don’t know why, but I just always have this urge to apologize for how things are, or explain why they are a specific way. And it’s not about one thing in particular; it’s really about everything.
The clothes I’m wearing.
The paint color in a room.
The way my hair turned out.
The thing I said that (I thought) you misunderstood.
A choice I made, whether as insignificant as the menu item I chose or as significant as a lifestyle change.
A habit or weird thing I did that you probably didn’t notice.
The stage of life I’m in right now.
The furniture we got second-hand.
The food I made that didn’t turn out like I wanted it to.
Plus I constantly apologize for over-apologizing!
Maybe this doesn’t seem relevant to God being my defense, but I believe it does. See, I think over-apologizing is part of my flawed character makeup. But that stems from what we refer to as “fear of man.”
Fear of man is the opposite from the fear of God. One of my favorite preachers, Rand Hummel, defines fear of God like this: “Love what He loves, hate what He hates, and have a healthy dread of displeasing Him.” If you flip that around to define fear of man, I start to see myself in that. Except it’s an UNHEALTHY dread of displeasing the people around me.
I know the truth about this! I really do, and even when I forget my husband constantly reminds me, “It doesn’t matter what people think. You just do you.” But more than trying to just change a thought, I have to change my desire. The struggle to overcome fear of man has to be replaced by the desire to fear God.
He is the most important One to please–the ONLY One I should be pleasing! He is my defense. He is the One I must run to when I feel unconfident, unattractive, unfit, unable, or underappreciated. If I run to people, I will end up disappointed. And that is no one’s fault but mine. People are people. They don’t exist to tell me good things about myself. It is no one’s job on this earth to continuously remind me that I am fine the way I am and no one really cares what my hair looks like. (Although my husband does a wonderful job of reminding me often.) However, if I rest in Christ and run to my Creator, He equips me to resist the urge to base my confidence and contentment in those around me.
As I look at the different areas of my life where I struggle, primarily feeling guilty about decisions I make and discontentment, I can see that these struggles almost always come from fear of man. But the truth is that I was not created to please the people around me. I shouldn’t live in intentional rebellion against people’s opinions just for the sake of being rebellious. (Our testimony is still important!) But I also shouldn’t make decisions based solely on what people will think of me. God’s opinion is the only one that matters! I need to post this all over my house and everywhere in my phone so I don’t forget. He is my defense. He is my rock. He is my shield. I don’t have to be afraid of what people think. As long as I’m seeking the Lord and doing what pleases Him, I’ll be just fine.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecc. 12:13