One of the joys of attending gatherings, barbeques, parties, Bible studies, and other social events is having fellowship with people. But, have you ever gotten all dressed up and gone out in high hopes of having a great evening, only to spend it listening to people attempt to fit you in a box or give their opinion on how you should be living your life? This week, I reached my tipping point and began asking God how I should respond when these kinds of people set their sights on me. As I searched the Scriptures and spoke to friends about the topic, I learned that the Bible does not shy away when talking about meddling people and that I’m not the only one who gets questioned about their life choices.
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”
As a twenty-two-year-old single woman living in Israel, people are always trying to take me under their wings and make it their responsibility to encourage me to “expand my horizons.” They hear snippets of my life and automatically assume that I am either unhappy, missing out, or isolating myself — none of which is true. After nine years of living in the Land, people cannot understand why I’m not fluent in Hebrew, going to school, spending time with people my age, or pursuing the ‘typical’ activities and careers like other young people my age.
While I know that these people mean well and only want to see everyone connecting and thriving as a community, I’m not someone God has called to stay on one particular path or in one place. He has given me a specific calling, and I’m not about to disobey His plans because people can’t understand my life. Nevertheless, this does not mean that people’s words do not hurt or catch me off guard. I am always trying to think the best of others, so when someone starts talking to me, it feels like a slap on the face when they’re not actually interested in speaking with me but at me.
Upon returning home from a meeting the other night, I felt utterly drained and went straight to bed. After sending a few voice messages to my friends, sharing my frustrations about the evening, I had an epiphany. We can use all of our energy trying to explain our lives to others, but unless they take a walk in our shoes, they will never understand our lives. All we do when we expel this energy is weaken ourselves before the real battle begins. The enemy is lying in wait, and the moment we let down our guards, Satan gives the signal to attack.
I have spent years trying to defend my life and answer people’s questions, but I’m learning that most people are not looking for a good explanation. In fact, a lot of the time, my answers only make the other party more passionate about their point of view! There have been many occasions where I’ve left a party or meeting feeling deflated and full of self-doubt. Playing with my thoughts, Satan uses these moments to make me question my life. “Is there really something wrong with me? Could I be doing more? Should I be making more of an effort even though I’m already overwhelmed with my responsibilities? Am I committing an injustice to myself for being so happy? Is it true that I’ll never find friends or a spouse living the way I do? Have I heard God correctly? Am I truly in the right place?”
If it weren’t for God’s reassuring voice, these questions and people’s constant badgering have the ability to lead me away from His promises. Believing these deceptions would not only guide me into the darkness, where only fruits of evil await me, but allow anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-hatred, hopelessness, and other emotions pull me further away from God. I would drown into such a depth that it would seem like His hand was entirely out of reach. However, my God is faithful and has shown me time and time again that the lies of the enemy do not have power over me! Determined to fill my mind with His voice, I rebuke Satan’s whispers and listen to the words of the Father, who is loudly proclaiming, “You are exactly where you need to be. Stay the course, Daughter. I have so much in store for you that people will never be able to comprehend. Satan doesn’t want you to experience all that I have planned, but keep going; I am with you.”
As the body of believers, we are called to uplift one another and share Biblical wisdom when prompted by the Lord, but that does not give people the right to share their carnal opinions as they tend only to sprout seeds of doubt rather than encouragement into our minds. Romans 14:13 says, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”
Every single one of us is called to do something specific for the kingdom of God. None of our journeys will be the same, and it’s not for us to judge where God is taking someone else. We have been told to love, uplift, pray together, speak words of wisdom, and listen to the Father’s direction, so who are we to contradict or question where God is calling another?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
For those, like me, who are on the frontline of people’s questions and opinions, I want to encourage you that we are not called to find approval in man. Wherever God has called you to go or whatever He’s told you to do with your life, stand on those words and don’t allow the enemy to lead you away from the path you are on! Satan wants nothing more than for us to reject the Father and live a life that pleases man. Of course, we need to be polite and be open to what people have to say; but, take everything with a grain of salt, practice gleaning the wheat from the tares, and ask the Father if their words are wise or a hindrance.
“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/Yeshua.”
We will never understand where God is leading people, but until we grasp the knowledge that it’s not for us to know, we will never learn the importance of seeing others through the eyes of the Father. I urge each one of you, including myself, please take the time to get to know those around you before making a conclusion or voicing your opinions. You have no idea what God has done in their lives, nor where He’s taking them! Be friends with one another, loving each other, and being a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block on their journey; remember, we are all in this together!