I like to say that I don't care what people think, but deep down (well, probably not so deep down, at least to the people who know me best) I really do care. I wish I didn't so much. While I'd love to let things just roll off my back like water off a duck, I typically let them sink in - nice and deep. I let them burrow in and irritate me. And then I tend to have bitterness issues. Oh, I don't really talk about it. Much. But I think about it a lot. All kinds of nasty thoughts flitting through my head. Things I could have said in retaliation, or smart remarks that would have dropped the jaws of the other party. Oh, yes. I think. Too much, I fear.
For far too long, I've thought about what others think. I've anticipated any possible reaction to the things I do or say (or write). And for far too long, I've spent far too much energy on worrying about those reactions. Even if I haven't always shown it.
I've been slowly coming out of a dry season in my faith. Everybody has them at some point, whether you want to admit it or not. And just because someone has a dry season doesn't mean that they're "falling away" or "on the wrong path," for example. It means that they're facing questions. It means that things have come up in life that don't fit into a neat little box. It means that maybe - just maybe - they're human. They're not perfect. They've fallen. And perhaps they need help up, instead of being kicked while they're down.
So, this dry season - it's been tough. I've described it to a couple of friends as feeling as though I was stuck inside a statue: I could see things happening around me - life, movement, the things I needed to do - but I was stuck inside this marble and I couldn't move. And maybe a part of me didn't care to move. It's not a happy place, being stuck. But I feel like God is beginning to melt the ice that I'd let form around me. He's breaking through again, warming my veins. I can feel my heart beating again - slowly, perhaps, yes. But beating. With life, with energy. With a desire for God's will.
I'm beginning to shake off these chains that have bound me for a while now. Stretching my arms and legs, wiggling my fingers and toes. Where I had been asleep, I feel a tingling, and I just have to move.
I may not be perfect. In fact, I'm not perfect. No one among us is. We are all human, and, as Paul wrote, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23, NIV). But that means that we are all on equal footing. God - Jesus Christ - has and can save us all. And He saves me, even now.
If it weren't for Christ, I don't know where I'd be. I'd probably be somewhere completely different. I may not be with my husband right now. But our God is an awesome God, and He found me where I had fallen, and He carries me. Times get tough every now and again, but I'm so glad that He doesn't look at me for my circumstances, but with the gracious eyes that see His Son in me.
And I need to remember that His eyes and His thoughts are the only ones I need worry about.