I grew up a pastor’s kid. I grew up under a spotlight. You get used to people knowing things about you and assuming things about you. I’ve dealt with scrutiny as long as I can remember, sometimes I handled it well, sometimes not so well.
More than just being under a spotlight I have always been someone looked up to. When you are someone looked up to you make decisions based on what you would want the people looking up to you to think. I have seen friends handle this kind of pressure as if it agonized their every thought, so concerned about the people looking up to them that they just behave the way they want people to see them behaving, they make their decisions based on the observers, not themselves.
I’ve struggled in a lot of ways with this thought. Is it more important that I sacrifice parts of who I am to maintain a certain image, or is my image worth more if I am 100% honest with who I am to others?
You should know that I myself am a HUGE observer of people. I got my degree in counseling because one thing I understand is people and their thought process–flawed or unflawed as it may be. I am excellent at seeing through intentions or spoken words. When I was a camp counselor to inner-city youth I would always say to my girls at the beginning of the week, “You can lie to me, but I’ll know if you’re lying.” I am honestly quite good at seeing through people.
Sometimes I do or say something just to see what kind of reaction I will get. To see how much what I do and say really matters to those around me.
One of my favorite quotes is from the movie It’s A Wonderful Life: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
I don’t want anyone to think that I take for granted the lives my life affects, because I do not. But at the same time I am a huge believer that there must be a balance in the hope we place in the decisions others make. We have to be less impacted by the triumphs or downfalls of those around us and we need to focus more on our own person. We have to know who we are, and we have to be okay with the life we live being viewed by others, because it’s an inescapable fact: people will have opinions about your life.
When people see through my words or actions what will they see? What is at the heart of it?
Psalms 51:10 | Matthew 6:21 | Proverbs 4:23