At school it’s very hard not to care about what others think about you. “If I say this, will people think I’m weird? What if I go here, what if I am friends with this person?” Everything you do seems to matter, maybe even the way you walk.
Or maybe you want to stand out as different, to show everyone that you do your own thing; you don’t care what people think. But behind that (and you may not even be aware of it) it’s important for you that people see you as you want them to. It’s about your ego, it is still about what people think of you. That’s human nature.
It’s a heavy life; it makes you a “slave” of what others think of you. You can’t do what you know is right, or be yourself, or think for yourself. You always have to think of what others will think when you do this or say that.
When you go to church, are busy with youth activities and are a part of the “church community”, who are you then? You want people to see your goodness or your volunteer work or whatever it is. So you try to say the right things and behave in a certain way.
But again, why are you doing or saying that? Are you doing these things out of a love for God and because you want to serve Him? Or is it again pride and egoism that drives you, wanting others to think well of you?
This kind of hypocrisy is also “slavery”, you are still a slave of what people think of you. How can you be true and upright and serve God if your thoughts are so busy with what other people think of you?
But when you get home, you aren’t really worried about what your family thinks. There you let the “real you” get out. Who cares if they see you as grumpy, rude, or lazy?
What makes you think that you don’t need to care how they feel or what they think? Do you maybe feel above them? Maybe if you thought more highly of them, if you loved them more than yourself, you wouldn’t behave like that. (Philippians 2:3.)
You’re still a “slave”. Still focusing on yourself and what you want and you think and you feel, instead of on doing God’s will and what would be best for the people around you.
Is it hard for you to change who you really are at home because your family knows you very well, and it’s hard to humble yourself and admit that you need to change?
The real truth
The real truth is that it is always about “me”, “me”, “me”. Why does it matter what people think? Who should you really try to impress? The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:10 (NCV): “… Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Are you thinking right now that this is not how you have it? Do you think you’re just not the kind of person who cares what people think? Be honest with yourself and just look how many times a day you do or say things, or don’t do or say things, because of who is with you or not with you.
We all walk around as the centre of our own little world; that’s human nature. But that can change. Even if right now your thoughts may be stuck just worrying and thinking about yourself, you can totally overcome that and become free to think and do and say things in a godly way, to the glory of God in every situation!
A new focus
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NCV): “We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy's strong places. We destroy people's arguments and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”
Sometimes thoughts can come up like: “How will the others see me? Are they going to notice me?” When these thoughts keep coming up, you can control them instead of them controlling you. Be humble and admit the truth of what you are tempted to and pray for help.
“God, I know this isn’t how it has to be. Even though everything in my sinful nature is pushing me in this direction right now, what I really want is to live in a way that is pleasing to You and to be free from these thoughts that bind me. Give me the power to capture these thoughts and to live according to Your Word!”
Make a firm decision to turn your thoughts to the good. Read in God’s Word and think about God’s Word. Pray more for yourself. Pray for your friends, your family, someone you know is going through hard times. Think of the people around you instead of only of yourself. Make it good for someone else.
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people.” Col.3:23 (CEB).
When you live your life this way, then what people think of you will matter less and less to you as you become more firmly rooted and grounded in the Lord. Then what you do will be more and more godly no matter where you are and who you are with. Then your life will be to God’s honour, and He can use you in His service. Your life will show goodness, kindness, love, and all the fruits of the Spirit instead of insecurity, pretending, ”slavery”, and worry.