I once heard someone speaking on the life of the Apostle Paul, and in the midst of the talk they mentioned how people in ancient times probably heard all these great stories about the apostle.....how he had this dramatic conversion and was now out bringing hundreds upon hundreds to the knowledge of Jesus. And they would read all the books/letters Paul had written...aka 75% of the New testament. And then they would meet him....Paul...this Great Apostle and Father of Faith.....and be disappointed. "This is Paul?!?! The one I heard about?!?!" they'd say in disbelief. Not to say there was anything wrong with Paul...but he was after all just a man...a normal man....living his life to God.
Sometimes I feel like I can relate to that. Not that I in any real way compare to the Apostle Paul...although to be that dedicated to Christ is a perfect aim...but rather at times it feels like people will meet me after reading my blog or hearing stories from my friends or family, and their reaction seems to be one of disappointment. "This is Jess...the one I heard about?!" they seem to be thinking. To be honest, it use to bother me a lot. I would see the look on their face, know what was going on in their head, and immediately began to feel ashamed as if there was something wrong with me....that somehow I didn't live up to the hype. Now that I'm older, and maybe a bit more wiser, I find myself caring less and less about whether I live up to other people's expectations. Ultimately it doesn't matter what people think of me. I shouldn't be drawing them to myself anyway, I should just be pointing them to Christ. It's great to have people like me, think well of me, or even want to hear what I have to say, but if I'm only looking for their approval or to give them mine, then we are both "missing it"...and in a terrible way! The bible says in Psalms 144, "(men) are like a breath of air, their days are like a passing shadow"....something that is here today and gone tomorrow. So maybe we/I should be living like that is actually true!
I was reminded of this in a pretty basic way over the past two days, as yesterday I gave my job my official two weeks notice that I will be leaving the company. As hard as it is to walk away from this job, it's been nice to hear how much people appreciate all the hard work I've put in over the years. I like being acknowledged in that way...it makes me feel good. But the reality is in a few months I'll be replaced by someone else who can do the job just as well as I did and my hard work ethic and all the thought and energy I put into this job will be forgotten. Life is like that. People move on and are forgotten.
So why do I care so much about what people think of me when at some point I won't even matter. Instead, I should be living my life for something...or rather someone....greater than me! And isn't that the call of a Christian anyway?!? Even John the Baptist boldly proclaimed He was not the Messiah but rather was the voice pointing to the ONE who was to come! "Man is but a breath of air"....but God is eternal. And I would much rather spend the rest of my days living for Him!