From an early age, I had learned that it was important to please and impress people. It was important to be intelligent, get a good education, to be popular, dress fashionably, etc. As a child and teenager, I often compared myself to others, but never felt that I was as good as any of them. My friends always seemed smarter, better looking, and better at sports.
I lost my self-confidence and became very quiet. Because I became so quiet, I started to lose connection with others and in the end I lost my friends. I could not say what I wanted to say because I was too afraid that others wouldn’t like it. I felt like I was on the outside. I remember feeling very lonely and unhappy within. It was as though the real me was locked up in a box, and I longed to be free.
I did not want to live the rest of my life as this lonely sad person and began searching for something that would make me happy and bring me peace. I did not understand yet that the reason for my problem was that I lived a life without God and that it was only with God that I could find true freedom.
It only matters what God thinks
When I was 20 years old, I met someone who told me, for the first time in my life, that I could ask Jesus into my heart and He would become my friend. Jesus became my Lord and Saviour; I gave my whole heart and life over into His hands. I no longer felt alone. I stopped trying to control my own life, as I had painfully learned from the past that such a life only led to feelings of disappointment, sorrow, and unhappiness. I now needed Jesus to guide my life and lead me in all my decisions. I felt some joy and peace but was still worried about what people thought about me.
Often, I found myself explaining what I had said or done to make sure others approved of me. Little by little God’s Holy Spirit showed me through His Word that there was only One whom I had to please, and that was Jesus. He loved me and died for me so that I could be free from what people thought about me.
I made a firm decision to stop trying to please people, but to only please my dear Jesus. A word of God that helped me during that time was, “Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. Everything is clear and lies open before him, and to him we must explain the way we have lived.” Hebrews 4:13 (NCV). I realised that God’s eyes are always watching me, so I no longer need to worry what other people think of me. It only matters what God thinks.
Sometimes powerful people made me again want to withdraw inside myself. Then the verse, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” became a help for me against these feelings of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7.) Over time, I became more and more free from what people think. Instead of being “bound” to others, I happily became more and more “bound” to my dear Jesus, and to what God thought about me. I compared myself to what God’s Word said and let Him teach me how to live so I could please Him.
I began to think in a completely new and different way. I understood that life is not just about me. Instead of only doing what I wanted and liked, I started to serve and care for others, while at the same time becoming more and more free from what people thought about me. The good Lord opened up many opportunities for me to do this.
Now when I am together with friends and family I am able to say what I want to say. I now listen to my friends and family with the purpose to be a help for them. My life is rich and full. When you are truly free from only thinking about yourself and how the others see you, you can help the others find their way to God and experience the same freedom.
Jesus has given me a sound mind and I can freely be myself with the gifts and personality that I have been given. Worry no longer has control over me. God is my helper and I pray and ask for help in times of need. The heavy burden I carried for so many years is gone. My rest and peace have become greater and greater. I am freer and lighter with each day that goes by. Jesus is indeed the Great Liberator!