Other People's Opinion?
Okay, I'm going deep, fast. What are the top six most important things in your life? Oh wait, that's not too deep, or is it? My top six are God, family, church, health, work and my friends. However, when I inspected my life many years ago, there was one thing that got in the way of those priorities. Other People's Opinions! or OPO's for short. I had read this book called The Calling, by Oz Guinness. He wrote about how to live life for an Audience of One vs OPO, other people's opinions.
Then recently, I read Roman's Romans 8:5 which said "those who live according to the flesh (OPO's) have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." I was reminded of the concept of "an Audience of One". Basically, in his book The Calling, Oz Guinness taught that you are the primary actor or actress in your life. You can make choices to cave to other people's opinions or not.
Who influences you on the daily?
How does that happen? It can be so sneaky and such a habit, you may not realize the pull other people have on you! You may not have even recognize the influences. For me, years as a physician in a town where I was well known, I believed my reputation was important. Chiropractic school drilled into us that my reputation would make me a success or failure. My mom's needed everything to "look right", even if it was a disaster in the background. Add to that my own insecurities, and it was my recipe to be paralyzed by OPO.
Back in the day, I would allow OPO's to get in the way when I wanted to put God first, or make a sideways decision about my functional medicine practice or how to parent my child. OPO's would get in the way when I would decide what to wear in the morning. I was in deep!
Who or what is behind YOUR need for approval? Validation from other people? or God?
Is it an idol or is it make believe?
Eventually OPO's become idols. You are so concerned about OPO that you wrap your decisions and your life around what other people might think of you. You forget about God. Are OPO's more important than God's opinion? OPO's are front and center in the audience, they take the whole front row.
I say "might" because you are the one who makes up the story in your head about what other people may think of you. Most of the time, you create expectations that may or may not exist. How do I know this so well? I lived many years directed by those stories.
Set free with the truth...
If I'm honest I still let OPO's slip in from time to time. However, I was set free when I understood two key things. First, God made me, unique for a unique purpose. No one else can do what I do, in the way God wants me to do it. See Psalm 139 that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And the same is true for you!!
Second, I had more peace without all that excess chatter about what I thought other people might think. Since life is a stage, the only audience member I need is God. He is the only One I must please. He is the only One to direct and produce my life. Who is in your audience?
You no longer have to live up to the made-up expectations of OPO's. So, you can allow the Holy Spirit to produce and direct your life's decisions. The curtains of your life will open and you can take the stage as the star that God intended, with Him right up front in a solitary seat, an Audience of One.