Have you ever felt the pressure of molding your actions – yourself – to the expectations of others?
When you’re not in your purpose, you might feel that squeezing, gnawing discomfort inside. The wrangling tension in you may be a signal that you’re not doing what you are meant to.
I’ve been feeling that way lately – the effects of kneading some of my actions to please others, or acting the way I think they expect me to. I’ve reasoned to myself that helping others is the right thing to do, but at the same time am abandoning the tasks God has given me.
One of the things I’ve been learning to do is live above the expectations of others, or the temptation to please and impress. When my actions are motivated by service in love and a desire to please God, not simply catering to man, then living becomes more purposeful:
“…do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:22-24 (New International Version)
There are times when we have to leave our comfort zones to reach higher heights, or months of painful pruning, and these may cause feelings of helplessness or ill feeling that are good and inevitable for our growth. There will be periods when we must become servants to others before our own dreams come to fruition, (as Joseph experienced). Other times when we check with others for approval in our every move, feel down when our work isn’t acknowledged, or measure our efforts against those of others, we are doing nothing but suffocating our own purpose.
There is a reason you and I were made the way we were, and have dreams that may not exactly “fit in.” When God created you, you were made to bring something unique to this world, to live out your purpose. As long as we stay within the realm of His standards, we are worshipping Him when we exercise our unique talents the way He meant for us to.
When we surrender our hearts to God, His dreams for us become the ones we begin to feel passionately about. Follow the God-given beat of your heart, the natural rhythm of personality, ideas, passions and quirks that flowed from within, the rhythm only God could orchestrate. Dream not in self-ambition but for His way which is good and pure. Imagine if your actions only flowed from what God is conducting, the unique purposes and hopes that He shares with us in love, undefiled by expectations and stereotypes – it will be music to His ears.
Don’t to worry about being “normal” or fitting in. Don’t snuff out the nuances that make you unique, but embrace them; the world is waiting for your gift. They may not understand it at first but He does; trust His opinion – it’s the only one that matters. It might be a lonely road, but the times when we’re playing out our purpose only for Him might be the most special of all.
Let’s strive today to start living our lives for an audience of One. There’s a joy in being “different” if you are being you, the way God intended.