These are some excerpts from the Faith Gateway Blog: Abandoning the Approval of Others by Jenny Allen that I felt really reflected where I'm at right now. Enjoy!
Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated by the life of King David. He made so many terrible mistakes, and yet he bled God. He was passionate. Over and over again throughout his journaling through Psalms, he says variations of this phrase: The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 118:6). And his life flowed out of this mentality. Because he feared and adored God, he feared nothing else. No one else. What was different about my faith than David’s? Why did I live with this stream of fear of people?
I grew up knowing the facts about God, and one of those facts was that he wanted to possess my heart completely. That I would love the Lord, my God, with my all my heart, soul, mind... that all of me would love Him the most (Deuteronomy 6:5). But I couldn’t live it then. I was busy making most everyone in my life happy, and it was working for me—at least most of the time.
People had to shrink for me before God had me completely… but how?
When you close your eyes and everything gets scary quiet, you hear your heart. It’s always there, of course. But you never hear its streams and rivers moving through you until it gets uncomfortably quiet.
When I get still and hear the loudest thing in me, it is often that I am chasing everyone but God. And I fear if he gets too close, he’ll see it. But if I let him close anyway, we sit together on days like that, looking over the frantic river that is wearing me out. He never says, I told you so. He could, but He never does.
"Love is jealous… especially God’s love. He wants me, and I want everybody else."
God knows we all have this problem, loving everybody but Him. So he called a prophet to dedicate his days to answering the same question I ask: how do we stop chasing everybody else and come back to God?
God told his servant Hosea to go into town and take a prostitute as his wife. God saw Israel pursuing every idol but Him — similar to my ways — and this was His way of talking to Israel about it. Hosea obeyed and married the prostitute Gomer. Together they had several children, and though Hosea was a loving, gracious husband and provided all she needed, Gomer kept going back to other lovers who abused her and never loved her back. The streams of her heart were nearly drowning her.
As I started reading Hosea, though, I thought its purpose was to display God’s wrath — His anger with Israel… with me. He did start off pretty ticked. He said things like, “I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel… You are not my people and I am not your God” (Hosea 1:6, 9).
But then, in the midst of this dramatic metaphor, God says about those of us chasing other loves,
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call Me “My Husband,” and no longer will you call Me “My Baal.” For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. (Hosea 2:14–17)
Every time I sit by the banks of my sin and my other loves, right as I think He is about to wipe me out because my heart feels so out of control, He steps into the river and redirects it.
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will (Proverbs 21:1).
It is only God who moves my heart. He chases me down and lures me back to Him; while I am running to everyone else, He runs after me. God brings me back to the place where it fares well with me, reminding me He is my Husband. There is no spinning, no fear, only perfect acceptance and peace.
"I can let other people down. If God is for me… the God of the universe for me… who could be against me? Whom else do I fear?"