I spent a great deal of my life worried about what others thought of me. After meeting someone for the first time, the immediate question that came to my mind was, “Do they like me?” I exhausted myself worrying about relationships. More than anyone else, I cared about what my dad thought. Was he proud of me? After every game I played, I always looked for his reaction to my performance. If it was a negative response, it took me down emotionally. Conversely, if his response was positive, I was elated and proud of myself! My relationship with Dad drove me. Performance-based relationships are not healthy often leading to fear and depression. My life was a walking-talking example of this.
Proverbs 29:25 addresses this clearly, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare (or a trap), but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” God clearly states here that your wellbeing should not be based on a relationship with another. A performance-based relationship places a person in a yo-yo environment. Everything is based on the response of the one respected. If this person is unstable or a manipulator with an agenda, it can be emotionally difficult for and even devastating to you.
The above verse has an even stronger lesson. If you base your wellbeing on another person, this person in practicality becomes your idol. Idol worship is despised by God and leads to dysfunction in life. Exodus 20:3 states, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” Your image of worship is determined by another person not God…whether it be based on sports, money, performing arts, grades, career, social respect, or anything else but God’s desire.
John 4:18 is such a wonderful verse that, if heeded, heals a lot of wounds, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Wow! Once your eyes are off others and focused on God, you taste His acceptance, forgiveness, and perfect love. Your life drastically changes. The God of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22&23) leads you to an abundant life (John 10:10).
Proverbs 28:1 is a powerful admonishment to us, “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” The people who have their eyes focused on God become “bold as a lion.” However, folks who have their eyes based on another “flee when no one is pursuing.” Stop running! Get your eyes focused on God!