Do you remember when you first wanted a girlfriend or boyfriend? This was before we submitted to the rituals of dating: before you bought flowers and candy, even before you drowned yourself in perfume. Times were very simple then. All we had to do to have a relationship was to slip a little note that read, “Do you like me?” Under which there would be a place to check yes or no.
I don’t even remember my first crush in elementary school, but I know for a fact I did this. I’ve always had this personality flaw that needed people to like me. It’s not wrong to want to be liked, but some people like me have an (sometimes) unhealthy obsession with others opinions. I remember once in junior high, a girl was asked if she liked me. She made a unpleasant face, turned to the inquirer and said, “Please! He’s too fat!”
I was standing right there! CRUSHED! I mean, what was so bad about me that she had to say what she said in such a hurtful way? However, the worst part about this memory is that I didn’t like her for the same reason. I thought she was too big to be pretty! (THAT’s A GOOD TOPIC FOR ANOTHER POST!)
It was around this time that I realized that I had a gift for music. So I worked it into my personality to always be ready to perform. (SN: The best way to do this was act like I really didn’t want to, so that the girls would beg) People seemed to be pleased with me while I was working the gift.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t have many true relationships. I would keep myself from getting close to people, in fear that they would see the real me, and reject me.
All of us have at least two people living in us: the real me (us), and the me (us) that we let people see. I’m not saying that it’s wrong. We are supposed to put our best foot forward, make a good impression, and present the best me (us) possible. But, we have to be careful how far we go to get people to check yes.
Even after accepting the call to public ministry, I struggle with being acceptable over exceptional. REAL TALK. I routinely battle with the urge to have the crowd like me rather than making a real difference as a minister. Paul was also talking to me when he declared to Pastor Tim to preach the word. (2 Timothy 4:1-3, New International Version, ©2011) If you read between the lines you’ll see that the apostle is encouraging the young pastor to not be concerned with people: because his responsibility is to God.
So … allow me to be transparent here. While I want people to like me personally, I also want to be effective in my ministry. The tension between the two is often very difficult for me to deal with, but in the end I have the responsibility to do what God wants me to do. I have to overcome this desire daily and live my life with this in mind: effective ministry is more valuable than that “like” button on my Facebook status.
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