Instead of a book review today, I decided to post something that has bothered me for a while now.
I want people to like me.
That's just the truth. I want to be liked.
Do I usually rebel against conformity? Sure. I often don't dress like everyone else on purpose. I am quiet when others are loud. I listen to my own style of music. I value originality. Even though I like to be unique, I desperately want to be liked. If I'm not liked by someone, I'm bothered. A lot.
Sometimes my struggle to be liked can be my downfall of sorts. I often try to please everyone and end up ignoring my own needs. Sometimes I focus on pleasing others instead of God. Trying so hard to be liked can end up making me doubt myself as well. I'm generally a confident person. However, if someone dislikes me, I can quickly shut down and doubt myself.
I'll make up an example off the top of my head. Let's say I'm trying to reach out to some younger girls and I overhear someone say, "Emily acts so fake. I can't believe she's pretending to like us." I might immediately question my actions and words, asking myself and my close friends if that's how I appear. If I feel disliked enough, I might even throw up my hands and walk away. I think to myself, "It's not worth it. I'm obviously bad at this. Bah. I give up. Find someone else to minister to these girls, God. I don't want to do this anymore."
Giving up is never a part of God's plan. When I give up, I fail.
I hate the feeling of failure. Don't you?
The other day, I overheard some girls at school talking about me behind my back. I haven't been through an experience like that since eighth grade! To be honest, their words weren't that mean. They were mocking a leadership role I've taken at school and the way I spoke to a group of kids. It was obvious by what they were saying that they didn't like me all that much. At first, I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear. A thousand horrified thoughts flew through my head all at once. "They don't like me. I've failed. I've ruined this leadership role. I've failed at being liked at school. I'm such a failure. How can God even use me at all?" For a split second, I wanted to forget being any kind of a leader, withdraw into my shy shell, and not talk to anyone ever again. I mean, they didn't like me. After a few moments of self-pity, I realized how silly I was acting.
Is my life defined by what those girls think of me? Am I not a leader anymore because of the things those girls were saying? Does God not still love me? Has the purpose He gave me at my school been turned into nothing? Of course not.
People are going to dislike me sometimes because of who I am and Who I stand for, and I'm going to have to learn to deal with that, as hard as it can be. Jesus had haters. People murdered Him and gambled away His clothes, for crying out loud. His disciples were all persecuted and most were even killed.
Even though it might sting to face meanness and dislike from others, I cannot allow my hurt feelings to get in the way of what God has planned for my life. He wants me to be a leader at my school, whether or not some kids make fun of me behind my back. He wants me to stand up and make friends with people I don't know, even if I'll face rejection sometimes.
God's opinion is what matters in the long run. I just need to please Him. Everyone else is secondary.
I've given up many times after facing dislike from others. I've failed. I've let down the God who gave me life. I don't want to give up anymore. I don't want to care so much about what other people think of me that I'll give up on plans God has for me in order to keep everyone happy. That isn't what He wants. I'm so thankful that God loves me enough to give me an unlimited number of second chances.
I want people to like me. That will never change. If I had my way, then everyone would like each other, even though I know that's unrealistic. I'll continue to be nice to people and smile (I am Emily is Smiling, after all). However, I know I will not always be liked. I don't deserve to be liked by everyone, if I'm honest with myself.
For now, I guess I'm satisfied with the fact that Jesus Christ likes me so much, He thinks I'm to die for.