The more we know God and what He thinks and says, the less it matters what others think and say about us.
It's almost unexplainable, the sense of satiation and completeness that invade the heart when our eyes are fixed on the cross. At the cross of Christ, God declares not only that we are forgiven, but that we are family. He calls us children, beloved children. There is a tenderness and enduring love that characterizes our Father God.
I know when I am not fixed on this grace, because I am almost obsessed with what others think of me, and my estimation is that they look at me with condemnation.
I know, in fixing my eyes on others, that I am turning from an ocean of approval and belonging found in Christ to a puddle of imperfect love found in people. But sometimes the approval of others drives me, and it drives me right into anxiety, fear, and self-sufficiency.
Because the more we know God and what He thinks and says, the less it matters what others think and say about us.
We must get this right, we must look to His grace toward us, because there is a second part of this, another side to the people-pleasing coin, and it's this:
The more we know what God wants for us, the less it matters what others want from us.
Too many times, we don't see grace in God's heart, and so we don't go to Him for the approval and love He offers freely. We are blind because we don't know the very heart of His gospel.
When we grasp grace, or at least attempt to grab hold of the ocean, we recognize that our focus has often wrongly been on what we think God wants from us. He wants our service. He wants our holiness. And so we try and try again.
But grace shows us God's heart, and what we see is that His heart is for us, and that He wants the best for us, and that everything flows from this heart.
And if God is for us, who can be against us? If God is for us, we only want to be for Him, we only want to rise to be who He created us to be.
And the more we know what God wants for us, the less it matters what others want from us.
Every single day, we must turn to look at the cross and remember what was done there for us. We don't just remember the agony, but we look at what Christ accomplished for us. He opened the door of the holy and holies and introduced us into an intimate relationship with the Father God who loves us perfectly.
And so the only way to freedom is to swim in grace's ocean and to know the heart from where it flows.