Some insecurities run deep in the veins of our hearts.
To soothe them, we believe the subtle lie Satan throws at us.
Just do whatever it takes for people to like or accept you. Then you’ll finally be okay as a person.
I’ve believed and acted on that lie enough to know that living to please other people brings more tumult, fear, and anxiety—never less.
God’s Word tells us that, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
Times of intense insecurity always come when I base my life on other people’s approval.
We walk into a snare—a trap—every time we try to please others instead of trusting in God. There is a price to be paid for our peace of heart and mind when we value what our friends or family members think of our decisions, beliefs, or actions above what God says.
As people with individual beliefs and opinions, as well as different upbringings and weaknesses, radical differences are guaranteed. You might interpret Scripture one way; I may another.
I’ve wrestled with this fiercely the past two months.
After my parent’s separation in January, I was desperate to find out who I am as a person, as a twenty-one year old adult. There was a lot of pain and insecurity, but also the freedom to make decisions on my own for the first time. The strict rules I grew up with were lifted.
My first decision was to get a tattoo that symbolized the hope and freedom made available in Christ—an anchor breaking into birds.
Based on my convictions and beliefs about God’s Word, I didn’t believe it was Biblically wrong or sinful to get inked, but I struggled with feeling extremely condemned by worrying about what my acquaintances thought of me. Often, I felt myself snared by anxiety.
Did they see me as an “unsaved rebel” because of a tattoo? What if it’s true?
But I finally realized the truth. Despite traditions, convictions, or “norms” in Christian circles, we’re each accountable to God for our actions. Everything we do is a matter of the heart.
What we wear, what we listen to, how we act. And only he can understand our truest motives (Psalm 139).
We can obey God’s Word to the best of our flawed ability and completely miss the mark if our hearts aren’t in it. Something that isn’t sinful becomes vile if our motives are impure. The Pharisees were a prime example of that. (see Matthew 23:27)
We shouldn’t swiftly judge hearts or motives in gray areas where tastes and preferences vary. Only God searches the soul depths of humanity. We never can.
Opinions shift and change.
But the Word—a firm trust in God and what he thinks of us—is where our ultimate security lies.
We have to live for his approval, or none at all.
Only then peace will come.
Joy and freedom will unleash, as we avoid the mind-binding snare of fearing man and purpose to examine our hearts before God, fully trusting him, and him alone.