“The fear of man strangles us, because we can never really please everybody; but the fear of the Lord frees us, because it challenges us to live and serve for an audience of one.” -Paul Chappell

Fear of man is a real thing and a real struggle.  In my personal life, fitting in always seemed to be my top priority.  I tried extremely hard to please everyone, whether it be boys, friends, my family, or my teachers.  I wanted to be exactly who they wanted me to be, so that’s what I strived for.  But I was never successful.  I could never completely please them because they always wanted more. And at some point, I had no more to give.  As I began to offer nothing to these people, I started to lose them one by one.

And it’s in this place of loneliness and heartbreak that God met me.  I realized that I was searching for love and acceptance in all the wrong places when I was already accepted by Christ when He had died on the cross for me.  He crafted me in His image, and that alone is enough to overwhelm me.  I now know that my identity is found in Christ alone.

There are still times when I’m scared to start relationships with those around me.  I feel the fears rising up, telling me that they won’t accept me for who I really am, that they won’t hear me, that they’ll use me for their convenience, that I’ll end up right back where I started.  And so I become afraid when I find a friend who truly loves me, who really wants the best for me, and pursues me because they genuinely want to.  But then I’m reminded that that’s exactly what our Heavenly Father does.  He pursues every single one of us because He loves us, not because He has to.  He sees so much in each of us because He uniquely crafted each and every one of us into His image.

When you let go of every worldly standard and set your mind and heart on the Heavenly standard, you will be set for life!  I’m not saying it’ll be easy because it isn’t… The walk from “fear of man” to “fear of the Lord” is quite the journey, and I’m still making it there.  Every day, I have to make a choice.  Do I want to serve the Lord with all that I have, in every aspect of my day, or do I care more about what others think of me?

But the choice has become much more simple now because He has taken control of my simple life and I plan to live that out. I’m not perfect, but my God is, and that’s all that matters.

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