what people think (series on maturity part 2)

I remember one day when my husband “fired” me from wondering what other people were thinking. I was like “but I need to think about these things so that I don’t fail, so I can be in control, so I won’t make them upset, and so that I won’t be rejected.” Okay so I didn’t have that much clarity when he “fired” me but NOW I know some reasons why I wanted to think about what they thought.
The fear of man and fear of rejection ruled so much of my life growing up. I wasn’t necessarily the most popular or confident girl on the block. I struggled so much with body image and fitting in. It was easier to just step back and look in on other people’s lives hoping to be included at some point.
I am not sure when I started worrying about what other people were thinking. Goes something like this. My thoughts, “if i do this, they will think this.” “Hey babe, if I do this then this person is going to think this…” “Okay, how do you know?” “I don’t know I just think that is what they will think.” Are you laughing yet or can you relate?? Or is that why you are laughing. Well, he thought this whole train of thought was pretty exhausting. And he was very patient and told me that I was “Fired” from thinking about what people are thinking. Fwew! I feel so much better now. Seriously, I set my mind to not thinking about it. Like a blank slate. It doesn’t mean I don’t care but I don’t need that anxiety in my life!
I took his advice and man growing up is hard to do. But someone has to do it!  Honestly it is easy to slip back into that way of life. But I have to say no to myself and “let it go!” (sing Frozen song here). I get to live my life asking God what he thinks. In a society where other people’s thoughts are readily available in print (aka the inter webs) its hard to avoid them. But I really want my motive to be from a place of freedom and seeking peace. I feel like these past three years my biggest battle has been anxiety (a fancy word for fear). The “what if’s” have crept in and plagued my sub-conscious.  I have a serious desire to defend or “Explain” myself or apologize for too much. So I stop. Like sit on my hands stop. I tell myself NO. Kind of like a fight with a donut when you are trying to lose weight. No Michelle, you have to walk away. You don’t have to explain yourself.
I love what my counselor’s friend once told her. She asked God one day about something she was worrying about. “God, are you worried about this?” Crickets. Nope He wasn’t moved or stressed out at all. Cool as a cucumber. Great. Now what? Sometimes I like anxiety. I like to worry about something or act like it is the end of the world. Now that I don’t get to, now what do I do? I would like to official throw a fit that I no longer get to fill in all the blanks for every relationship or thing that I am worrying about! I get to be at peace over here not knowing OR I get to ask more questions in order to find the real information. This is probably the root of so much of it. Growing up looks like asking questions. It looks like being fearless and not worrying about what someone else will say or do. 
It looks like God being our place of peace and the Holy Spirit leading our actions.
One of the biggest things that has changed in the past four years in my life is getting married and becoming a mom. I remember within days of getting engaged the advice began. I do not function well in a SEA of opinions. Its like my least favorite thing. I am growing in it but I really have struggled with it. Then within a month of being married we found out we were pregnant (honeymoon baby on purpose!!!;) and then began a new level of advice and opinions I was NOT prepared for. So many opinions.  And so many options. A girl like me can just wanna run and hide in the midst of this! And because the decisions were so new to me and so foreign (new mom!) I became more insecure than I had in years. Thus began the exposing of the quiet anxiety I had dealt with for years. The sleep deprivation, (especially having two babies in 20 months) oh the sleep deprivation made it impossible to hide any longer.
I was vulnerable and I honestly didn’t know it for about a year. Then it hit me. Wait…. I am 35 (at the time) years old. I have done many things and know a lot. Yes this is new to me. But I am not new to me. God, Help!!! So I reached out and started going to counseling.  And finally I felt like I could breath again. I am not a new human just starting out in the world. And the other part hit me like a ton of bricks (did I already say that phrase, sorry). I don’t have to know. I don’t have to do it perfect. This thing called life can be fixed even if I mess it up. These boys God gave me are His as well and my husbands and I am not alone in this. All of these opinions and advice and decisions don’t have to be answered right now or ever.
Wow the whole perfectionism and control and all that is another blog for another day. Okay take a deep breath (me not you, unless you need to).
Anyways. People are always thinking. But you do not have to fear or think about at all. You too can be free! Or get fired or whatever helps you to know you do not have to do it anymore. The end.

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