I like to be real and authentic, but sometimes I catch myself faking a smile or forcing a laugh when I feel differently inside. Going along with the “crowd” is often easier than taking a stand, although I beat myself up for it later. I want to be real. I don’t want to go along with everyone else to seek acceptance. I don’t want to do something just because everyone else is doing it. It takes courage to stand up and hold fast to who you really are, and even greater, remaining faithful to God. I fall short in this area and shrink back in fear of being perceived as weird. I stuff emotions of what others think of me and things that have been said about me deep inside. I let the fear of being rejected keep me silent, and isn’t that what Satan wants?
In this day and age it is difficult to live for God and not feel rejected by the world. As Christians, others should see a difference in us. They should see our lifestyle is different than theirs. Unfortunately since we are different, people will use our faith against us, resulting in us feeling excluded and alone. Others will use our faith as a reason to treat us differently because of Who we serve. Jesus warned us that rejection in this life would occur. Even though it feels personal, He said that we can take great delight in knowing that we are considered His royal children and it is because of this we are treated differently. We are chosen and accepted by Him, and that’s all that truly matters. Others may perceive our intentions wrongly, but God sees our heart.
You will be hated by everyone because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
One of the primary ways I people please is through stuffing my emotions. I’ve often found myself feeling bitterly upset, hurt and broken within, while on the outside I can force a laugh while trying to hold myself back from the tears welling inside. I’ve found myself hiding how I really feel when my opinions differ from others and it could lead into confrontation or conflict. I avoid conflict at all costs. I’d rather suffer through the pain than face opposition. I’ve come to find that when I stuff my emotions deep within it builds up over time and some days it just explodes out of control. Sometimes I just can’t take hiding the pain anymore and I need to release it all.
Stuffing how we really feel and hiding who we are is not healthy for us. God never intended us to hide our thoughts and struggles. While it is not intended that we go around expressing our every thought and opinion disrespectfully, we do need to express who we really are and not shrivel back in fear. I’ve allowed fear to become so debilitating that I have missed so many opportunities God was calling me towards. If only I could tap into God’s power and rely on Him instead of my own strength.
I’ve often found that my standards and lifestyle is different from most. I was raised in a home with strong morals and a Christian upbringing. Growing up in a home where we didn’t drink, dance or curse has caused my lifestyle to be different than most. I have to be honest in saying that there have been many times I’ve kept quiet and felt afraid of expressing my strong beliefs due to the fact that others don’t have those same standards and would think of me as being too strict. I prefer to abstain from things that could influence my mind or walk with God in an inappropriate way or lead someone else into sin from my actions.
Being different from the world can be tough. I’m the type of person who hesitates in expressing thoughts or ideas due to the cost of rejection. I let my fear overtake my confidence. I stuff my thoughts, opinions and emotions deep inside so it doesn’t cause any conflict or awkwardness with others. Sometimes I feel like remaining silent is the key to looking normal. Then I am reminded that God has instructed us not to become silent in us living for Him. I’m not here to lead a normal life and fit into every box that society has laid out. I don’t want to live a cookie cutter life fulfilling all the desires and expectations others have of me because I’m too afraid to live out my faith freely.
I have found that the more we do to be different for God in this life there is more opportunity to be criticized, rejected and judged. It seems like day after day the same heart-wrenching lies eat away at my determination to keep living for God. Over time I’ve tried my best to develop thicker skin to combat the negativity this world attacks me with. Although, I’ve grown to find that there are many days that it only takes just one comment or hurtful action to rip open the walls to my frailty and let it seep down deep within. And once this wound is made, doubts, lies and insecurities all start flooding in.
Thoughts from the present, painful memories from the past, and worries about the future all overwhelm me with indescribable emotions that I stuff deep inside so only I need to bear them. Some hurts have never fully left and continue to re-expose time after time on a deeper level. Sometimes I wonder if they’ll ever fully dissolve or dissipate.
What I have found refreshing with stuffing emotions and hiding heartbreak, is nothing goes unnoticed by God. He knows exactly what those emotions are that you try to hide. He sees how you try to look strong even when you’re welled up with hurt behind your disguised facade. He knows how those darkest moments caused your heart to never be the same again. He saw the weight of those harsh words or that terrible heartbreak that crushed your soul.
God not only sees our pain, He wants to help take those painful burdens and all those stuffed emotions to ease our load. When we let go of them and release them into His hands we can find freedom from the nagging burden they have caused to wear on our soul. It may require us to do it time and time again, but He’s there for us to turn to when our load is getting heavy and others don’t seem to understand the deep impact they have caused us to endure.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
God never intended for us to hide ourselves in fear of being accepted by others, especially because of our faith. When you feel the weight of your troubles crushing you down, don’t let the negativity, rejection or judgement from the world become so dominant that it drowns out God’s voice. Seek God in prayer. Give it to Him. Look to Him for how you should handle the situation. Set free those lies and thoughts that others have of you and focus on God’s never-changing love for you. It doesn’t matter what the world perceives you as. They may have wrong interpretations, judgments, perceptions and gossip spread about you, but what God thinks of you is always true and His love for you will never change even when everyone else may reject you.
God should be who we go to first, but He also created others to help ease our load and provide us with encouragement through our struggles. Going to someone you respect and displays Godly wisdom is often helpful to express what you’ve been dealing with. Having someone to lean on during a difficult time can be refreshing, helping put things into perspective and supplying you with godly wisdom and truth. I have also found great encouragement knowing someone is praying for my needs and taking them to God in prayer.
God didn’t want us to struggle alone. He didn’t want us to suffer alone. He created us to be able to come to Him with our requests, struggles and troubles. He created others so we could turn to them in times of heartache. Even when it feels like others may not understand and choose to reject us, we know where we will one day be accepted.
Don’t shrink back in fear of other’s acceptance but stand on God’s promises and let them give you courage to stand up for Him. Even when it feels like God is farther away than you’ve ever felt, He’s as close to you as He’s always been. He’s never left. He’s right there ready and eager to hear the burdens on your heart. Take them to Him and refrain from stuffing those emotions that cause your heart to be weighted down in discouragement. He’s waiting to take the weight and heavy burdens from you and accept you in with His unchanging love!