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Guarded Identity

Some think that people’s opinions define who we are.  If they are disappointed in us then we are a disappointment.  If they are angry, then we are unworthy of being loved.  If they are happy with us, then we are good. 

If we live with this mindset then we will be desperate to try and control people’s perception of us. We spend our lives trying to manage others’ opinions to always be favorable toward us so that we can feel good about ourselves. 

Life doesn't have to be lived this way if you discover how to guard your identity with good boundaries. Good boundaries bring relief to the grief of letting other people’s opinions, issues, desires, and agendas run our life.

But where do good boundaries begin?  They begin with understanding who we are in Christ.  Our identity in Christ comes first and should never be replaced by the opinions of others.  Knowing who we are in Christ leads us to stand confidently with Jesus, the one who secures our identity so that we aren’t constantly trying to figure it out for ourselves.

That's why Paul said he now lives for the approval of God instead of the approval of men or women.  It's s choice we must all make to put God's opinion of us first and above all others.

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.  GALATIANS 1:10

The challenge is clear when we allow the opinions of others to determine who we are and what we do, we are living to please them, not the Lord.  When live as people-pleasers, we don't live as God-pleasers.

It doesn't mean that you ignore what others say, do, and think.  It simply means that we don't allow their thoughts, feelings, and actions to determine what we say, do, and think.  As Christ followers, determining what we say, do, and think is reserved for God alone.  We live to please Him.

But how do you do this?

Don't personalize others' opinions as the final or most valuable opinion.  See them as a 2nd opinion that doesn't define who you are.   Remember who God says you are.  (Colossians 3:12 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-20)

Don't allow other people's opinions to force your response.   Sometimes, we respond by thinking we must do what is demanded, but perhaps rather than this, ask if there is something you should learn about them.  Maybe, their opinion isn't meant to reform you (to change your actions) but to inform you (about something they are feeling or experiencing).  Don’t rush the response but see the situation as a moment to pause and humbly determine how to process it and what to do.

Don't let the hurts of others hurt you.  Often times, when people are hurting they lash out and hurt others.  Even those that know us best or love us the most can do this.  When they do, it can rock us to the core causing us to question the relationship and our whole identity.   When this happens, guard your identity by guarding your heart.  Don't let other people’s fractured feelings affect you to the point where your feelings get out of alignment with God’s truth. Don't let other people’s actions affect you to the point where your actions get out of alignment with God’s truth.

Build your life on the opinion of a man or woman and you will live a fractured life full of stress and drama.  Build your life on God’s opinion of you and you are secure, growing to be more like Him.


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