For as far back as I can remember, I’ve worried too much about what others think of me. Sometimes when I walk into a room, I think all eyes look at me, and all people think about me. I believe they judge what I wear, what I look like and what kind of mood I’m in. This all comes before I even open my mouth. I worry too much about what others see in me.
Once my mouth opens, I shift gears to worrying about what I say. Will I say the right or the wrong thing? And not only did I say the right things, but did I say them in the right way? Will I talk too much or too little? Then the comparison starts as I think everyone else says something better than me. I worry so much about what others think about me.
Call me neurotic, but many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. No, I don’t always live this way, and you don’t always operate like this either. But, way too often, you and I care too much about what others think.
A few years ago, my friend Rob captured this struggle well in describing his sin patterns. He confessed he struggled with the sin of worshiping his reputation.
Earlier this week, I received an appropriate, but critical, comment on a blog post I wrote. Later that day, I was (lovingly) challenged a few times in a meeting (for good reason). I left work that day with my head low, sulking, strongly disliking myself and hating my reputation. And, I cared too much about what others thought of me.
I no longer want to worship my reputation.
When I think rightly, I realize all that matters is what God says about me. As much as the applause of man (and woman) seems to matter, I find comfort when I remember verses like the following:
- Psalm 139:13-14 – “For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.”
- Romans 5:8 – “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.”
- Galatians 1:10 – “For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
These verses remind me that I am made by God—He created me. He purchased me at a high price—the price of His Son—even while in the midst of my rebellion and sin. And, my aim in life is to worship God—not my reputation. He is pleased with me because of Jesus.
When I left work, I got in my car and prayed. I recited scripture to myself and reminded myself of what’s true and right.
I write this post for a few reasons:
- First, I just want to confess that sometimes I worry way too much what you think of me. I don’t want to live in fear of you!
- Second, if you, like me, worship your reputation, I want you to know a few ways to deal with this sin struggle.
6 Steps to Take When You Worship Your Reputation
- Pray. Ask God for help. James 1:5 says, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.” God wants to help you in your struggle! Don’t box Him out. Ask for help.
- Remind yourself of Truth. I’m so thankful God’s Word is so readily available to us! We can read a Bible, open up an app on our phone, memorize scripture, listen to sermons and so much more. When I struggle in this area, I turn to God’s Word. I soak in Truth from Him, rather than the lies the world tells me and the lies I tell myself.
- Confess to others. When I struggle with this, I invite others in to my dysfunction. I share with my wife and my friends. I bring my issues into the light instead of isolating and hide them in the dark. Be specific, speak it out loud and don’t wait too long to share. Sometimes even saying it out loud helps me realize the insanity of my thoughts.
- Believe the best instead of assuming the worst. If someone says something that sets you off into a tailspin, you might need to ask them to clarify what they said and what they meant by it. Often I make things up in my head and it leads me to worry too much about what they think.
- Ask a friend for help. As I left my office, I ran into my friend Rick. He could tell I was out of sorts and gave me a big hug. I felt like I would cry in his arms. I’m so thankful for God’s people and the ways they help us when we struggle. Sometimes we’re afraid to invite others in. One of the greatest gifts we have in life is the body of Christ and God’s people. Don’t be afraid to invite others in when you worship your reputation.
- Address your sin. We have an amazing ministry through Watermark Community Church called re:generation. re:gen is a biblically-based, 12-step discipleship ministry for healing, recovery and freedom from any struggle. Check out re:gen and address your sin (whatever it is—reputation worship, people-pleasing, porn, anger, eating issues, addictions and so much more).
- Do you, like me, worship your reputation? If so, what does this look like for you?
- What do you do when you find yourself in the midst of this struggle? What can you share with other readers so we can learn from you?
This article originally appeared here.