I grew up with a dad who was a pastor. There was always a strong emphasis on my sisters and I that people were watching
! We had to behave as perfectly as possible, or it was considered a bad reflection on my father and his standing in the community.
I often felt like there was a different set of rules for pastors kids than there were for everyone else. The deacon's kids could chew gum in church, or even skip church to attend other functions. They did not come to prayer meeting. Other people's kids could wear shorts and go to movies and dances. My dad was very strict with us. I was often reminded that I must be a good example
It got to the point that I felt like I was on a stage all the time. People were watching
, and I was "on display." Sadly, I got really good at pretending. I learned all my memory verses in Sunday School. I knew the words to almost every song in the hymnal.
Oh yes, on the outside I did everything right. It all looked good. But in my heart, I was just a performer.
I did not feel any joy or passion in church. I was lost. I was putting on a show. I was doing all the right things, but for the wrong reasons. Everything I did was to impress people. I was not being real at all.
(Mat 15:8,9 NIV) "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'"
The truth is, we should never be motivated to do right simply because people are watching
, We should do right because we are crazy in love with God and want to please Him. HE should be our focus. Being honest and real in our hearts should be more important than putting on a good show.
When I became a pastor's wife, I again felt that pressure to perform. I thought you had to paste a smile on your face no matter what -- that you had to be gracious and kind even when you wanted to smack people! I did not know how to be real. I did not know how to be honest in my own heart because I was so busy pleasing people and doing what I thought was right -- what looked
But, you know what I learned? You can't please people. You can try and try, but the gossips are going to talk about you anyway, and some picky person is going to criticize you for something. It is so much better to please God. Even when people do not understand, if God is pleased, it is all good! Be wise. There is a time, a place and a right person with whom you can share. You cannot trust everyone. Be real. Be honest about what you think and feel. God already knows anyway, and He still loves you! Be the person God made you to be, not the person you think fits everyone else's expectations.People are watching
. Yes. They always will be! And, of course, we want to be a good example. But, we need to be so careful that this is not our only motivation for doing what we do. The fear of man is a trap. It is empty. It is dangerous. It is wrong.
(Col 1:18 NLT) Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.
If you want to be free -- if you want to live in joy and have peace within -- stop performing and Please God
!Have you ever felt like you had to be a people-pleaser? Have you ever felt like you had to perform for others? How do our motivations affect our actions when it comes to being a part of Christian community? What steps can we take to be graceful in community while not simply trying to put on a show for everyone else?