I think too much about what other people think. And I don’t just mean in a “Do I look fat in this?” or “Am I a good mom?” or “Is my house clean enough for guests?” kind of way, although those certainly are questions that regularly float through my brain. I don’t think it’s bad to value others’ opinions. Especially as a Christian, I think it is important to think about how you talk and act reflects God in you, and we need to be open to critique when others speak the truth to us. But, there comes a point where I don’t even know what I think about things because I try so hard to see things from everyone else’s perspective.
A close friend once surprised me by saying she can see the Holy Spirit in my eyes when she is speaking of others and she can see that it truly pains me if I think they are being spoken about in a negative way. She believes I am sensitive to others and their feelings, and is often convicted of her speech when I am around. I am surprised at first because I didn’t know that this could be true, but the more we talked about it, I realized that it made sense. But my sensitivity to others also means I care too much what they think.
We’ve been studying John Ortberg’s “Shadow Mission” in our small group. Your shadow mission is Satan’s perversion of your true mission from God. It’s the evil lurking within us that corrupts our desire to do God’s will, usually without our even realizing it. Knowing how we respond to pleasure and pain, he pulls us away from our authentic mission using our pride and our hurts. The way he describes it, the shadow mission often is an overcompensation or a projection for what we think is a weakness in ourselves or in others, because we are putting our confidence in ourselves or in others instead of on God. In my case, I value others’ opinions more than my own. As a Christian in a secular world, there’s some merit in this, but it’s just enough off God’s path that it sends me in the wrong direction, onto a path of self-centeredness.I am still trying to pinpoint it, but somewhere in all this is my shadow mission. It would help if I could first identify God’s mission for my life.
What do you think?
What pattern of weakness is particularly prevalent in your life and seems to be at odds with the expression of your gifts and achieving God’s high purpose for your life?
“… I have received wonderful gifts from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. Three times I begged God to take it away. Each time He said to me, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9