This is an area of my life that I sometimes struggle with. I put up a pretty good front that I don't care what people think of me, but a lot of times nothing could be further from the truth. Even though I love preaching to large groups of people, I am also very uncomfortable in large groups. I'll walk into a crowded room and feel like people are looking at me and judging me or mentally criticizing me. Sometimes it comes over me so strongly that I find myself alone in the corner of the room or simply just leaving the gathering.
I once heard someone say that the brutal truth is that if we all knew how SELDOM people think of us, our feelings would be even more hurt. This obsession with worrying what people are thinking about us is often something that exists almost entirely in our minds.
As a pastor, I want people to like my sermons and approve of my work. As a dad, I want my kids to think I'm cool and value my opinions. As a husband, I want Jamie to approve of me as a man and find me attractive. As a consumer, I want people to envy my purchases. As a pet owner, I want the dog to think of me as her favorite member of the family. And it goes on and on and on...
I have this fear that I will reach a point in my life where I am living primarily to keep my critics content. I know that Craig's statement is true and I need to remind myself of it often. I want to live my life in such a way that God is pleased with me and that is sufficient approval. The scary thing is that I know that living a life pleasing to God will not always please people in my church, family, community, etc... I hope at the end of my life I've feared not having the approval of God more than I've feared not having the approval of people.