I am finding myself less and less concerned about the opinions of others. Too often I lived upon the basis of whether or not someone liked me. These days, however, God has been putting me through situations to teach me that it is not the opinion of man that matters most, but rather His.
Now, please don't get me wrong. I do listen to people, most of the time. I always try to observe their viewpoint(s), and take stock of myself rather frequently. I never want to be unreasonable. I do not want to be malleable to the whims of people, though.
Growing up the way I did, it became vitally important for me to please people. I have observed that many firstborn children have the same desire, but I know I nurtured that desire more so due to my environment. I carried that lifestyle into all of my relationships.
One of the things I have seen God bring to my focus is that warped desire. I know it is not wrong to please God, or my husband. I know it is not wrong to want to bless others; thus, in a way, pleasing them. However, I went so far as to withhold my feelings, my thoughts, my convictions, etc., just to keep the peace. I would end up being bitter due to feeling violated, unappreciated, etc. The one at fault was me, not them. Regardless of the fact that someone may very well have been taking advantage of me, if I was letting them, shame on me.
God has been teaching me to not be a people-pleaser, but a God-pleaser. It still is a battle for me. My flesh naturally wants to have every one like me, so as to keep the peace. Yet, the spirit within me knows that not everyone will like me, especially when I hold true to God's Word. When I speak and live as such as would please God, it does not always bring man pleasure.
I thank my Heavenly Father for teaching me a lesson that has been at times difficult to endure. I don't like bringing displeasure to the lives of others. I don't like not being liked. I don't like distance in relationships. However, I don't like displeasing my Heavenly Father even more than all those dislikes.
I'm finding much freedom in not always feeling sorry for what I think, say, or do, that are not wrong, only different. I am finding much peace in not being bound in what others think of me. I would rather walk peaceably and in the pleasure of my God, than with man at the cost of my sanity and fellowship with Christ.
"The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe."