Blog: Packaging to become an owner (12/7/21)

Recently I read where someone said that as long as we fear what people think of us, we belong to them. I think it’s right.

I think – most of my life anyway – I’ve been worried about what other people might think of me. Whether it was my parents when I was growing up, people I worked for over the years, congregations I served throughout my years of ministry, audiences I performed and sang for, or even people who read the words I write.

“What if I’m not good enough?” I would ask myself. “What if they don’t like me?” “

Sometimes it bothered me so much that it made me sick at the thought.

Much of what I have done in my life, whether it be a hobby or a vocation, has been somewhat public in nature. It could have added to the worry. Frankly, I’ve always felt sort of ‘not good enough’. I remember my mom telling me that her grandfather, who was also called Bob, told her that if she called me Bob, I would never get anywhere. Maybe it stuck with me. All I know is that I’ve spent years thinking (worrying would probably be a better word) what other people think of me.

Now that I’m older, I’ve realized – a revelation indeed – that I’ve let what other people think of me enslave me, almost to the point of exhaustion, even depression. So I try to turn the page. Better late than never, as they say.

I don’t know what it might look like. It can manifest itself in so many ways. I do not know. So be forewarned, I may seem a little more indifferent, or a little rude, or a little distant, or even a little more protective of my own time, thoughts, likes or dislikes.

Don’t take it personally. Just realize that I’m trying to own myself – to be who I am without constantly worrying about what other people might think. I truly believe that it is only when we no longer need or seek approval from outside of ourselves that we can truly find ourselves, know ourselves, and embrace who we are.

Randy Stonehill wrote a song many years ago that I’ve always loved. The name was “Old Clothes”. It seems to make more and more sense these days. One of the lines says, “I put my old clothes away and my old stupid habits – they don’t seem to suit me anymore.” “

I like it – especially the line on my old, stupid ways. Putting away those old clothes is no easy task. But at least it’s a start.


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