How many times have you stopped yourself from doing something because you were afraid of what other people were going to say or think? Or least what you imagined them saying and thinking?
“Oh, what will people think if they see me walk into a gym to workout? It’s been so long.”
“What was I thinking saying I would speak at that event? What are they going to say behind my back when I’m finished speaking?”
“I can’t ask for help. People will think I’m weak.”
If you are like most people, this happens more times than you would like to admit. It may even happen when you are not conscious of it. An idea may come to you and you just as quickly dismiss the idea for being “silly, or stupid.” What you don’t stop to consider is that the reason you may be dismissing that idea so quickly is because you are actually worried that someone else is going to think it is “silly or stupid.”
Our fears are not grounded in truth. We are imagining what others will say or think. We are making assumptions.
Last year I was trying to find a dress to wear to my daughter’s wedding. I had found two dresses that I liked, but wasn’t totally sold on either of them. Then I found a dress that was absolutely beautiful, but way out of my comfort zone. It was sparkly from head to toe (which fit the theme and colors of the wedding). It just didn’t fit my comfort level. But why? I imagined people thinking, “Oh my, why did Connie think she could pull that off? Yikes.”
My daughter was such a source of strength and joy to me. She loved the dress and her Mama in it. She encouraged me to buy it. When else would I ever have the chance to wear something like this? I am so glad I put my fear of other’s opinions aside and bought the perfect dress. It is an experience I am glad I didn’t miss.
What experiences are you missing out on because you are worried about what other people will say or think? What opportunities are passing you by because you are listening to “fear of man?”
“Fear of man” is a phrase from the Bible which describes this very thing. It doesn’t literally mean you are afraid of men, but rather afraid of what people will say or think about you.
God has quite a bit to say about this topic. In Proverbs 29:25 it says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Did you catch that? Living afraid of other people’s judgments is a trap. A trap that can end up stealing from you. It can rob you of experiences you are supposed to have. It can rob you of opportunities God wants to provide for you.
That is no way to live! What could you accomplish if you decided to push through this fear of man? What positive impact could you have in other people’s lives? What dreams might God have come to pass in your life?
I think it is time to find out. Does anyone want to go shopping for sparkly dresses with me?