I like social media. Most days. Social media has actually done much more than just enable me to share my life, advocate for causes I care about and connect with friends new and old. It has taught me a few things about myself. Yes, I have actually personally developed thanks to my news feed. And a recent “bangs?” “no bangs” poll was no exception.
Like many girls I like to switch things up with my hair. I’ve been rocking the mom lob for quite sometime now. I was ready for something new this summer. I trolled pinterest and found a few styles all seemed to have bangs. Why decide for myself when I can take an Instagram poll. So I posted a few of my tops in the stories and off to bed I went. But the next morning, I woke up to an inbox full of comments and a high percentage in the majority of “no bangs! So what did I learn? I actually care what you think. You may not. Or at least think you don’t care about others opinions. You likely would not do a silly poll about your hair. But here's a few ways to identify if you actual might care.
You obsess about interactions and conflicts.
"Are we okay? Why didn’t you respond? I know you saw that text." You often feel vulnerable after a conflict or any interaction that might have created anything other than "all the feels." You obsess, replay the scenario while you are staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night.
You are overly sensitive to criticism.
When the boss says something about your performance, or your friend or your spouse or anyone gives difficult feedback, really anything other than 100% positive you struggle. If your kids aren’t happy about a decision you made or your friend doesn't like your new shoes, it’s all too much.
You have a hard time saying no.
You avoid conflict at all costs. You are the one who buys the candy on the way out of target for the kids raising money when you just bought some on the end cap of the checkout. You go to the party you dread. You over commit yet resentful, “sure I’ll go to your thing because clearly I have nothing else to do.”
Many of you are familiar with the Ten Commandments. They are known as the set of biblical laws and principles for us to live by. The very first being,
“You shall have no other Gods before me."
Simply stated, don’t love something more than God. God wants to be the soul source of our identity, our heart and our thoughts. But if we are honest our identity, our hearts and our thoughts are actually more defined by others and consumed with their approval and opinions. It’s hard to swallow. And it’s going to hold us back.
There was overwhelming response in favor of NO bangs. I actually wanted them. After looking at the poll and reading through the comments I almost chickened out. At forty-five years of age I almost made a decision about MY hair based on what YOU thought might look good. I can admit that that sometimes my heart can be swayed to meet other’s expectations. There is no shame in identifying these realities. But in the end, I went BANGS. My decision, my consequences. And while the Facebook majority rang in their vote loud and clear, when all is said and done, I must do for me what’s good for me.
The truth is we can be affected by the opinion of other people, but we don’t have to be directed by it. You can’t please everyone, but you can please God. People are vital to our existence. But they’re just that: people. Because they’re just people, we don’t put our faith in them. We don’t trust their opinions or allow them to rule our lives.
I know we are just talking hair here, but it’s true. I made a somewhat dramatic alteration to my hair against popular opinion. I am great with It. But this little exercise reinforced a reality that many times we get stuck because we are defining ourselves by what "they" think. So when the thoughts of others others are piercing yours ears and ring loudly in your head, fix your heart toward the creator to hear what he has said.
•You are loved •You are forgiven •Your past does not define you •You are not what others say about •You are not your diagnosis •Your are not your failings or your weakness •Your past, your hurt, your hang ups and your set backs will either grow you or diminish you •Be bold and decide.
Check out my full podcast on Chasing the approval of others here http://www.centerchurchsd.com/sermons/chasing-the-carrot-the-approval-of-others/