Now that I’ve given you a list of 40 Things I’ve Learned By Age 40, it’s true confession time. One of the things I haven’t completely learned and continue to struggle with is the fear of man.
To a certain extent I don’t really have a problem making decisions and not caring what anyone else thinks. Obviously David and I have made many choices that are out of the mainstream of both the culture and the church in general and we’re quite happy and content with those choices, whether people understand them or agree with them or not. But sometimes the fear of the fallout with people is hard.
David and I had to make a decision last week that we agonized over for days. We knew what we wanted to do and there was nothing sinful or inherently wrong with the choice. But we also knew that the potential was there for our choice to cause problems and not be understood by other people. And so we agonized. We finally made the choice we wanted to make, but not without a little angst regarding the outcome of the situation (which will be sometime in the near future).
We have another choice we are in the process of making. We know what we want to do and what we believe is the best course of action for our little family. The challenge for me is living with the consequences of that choice. We know many people will not understand our choice and some may not even be very supportive. We know it will put us on the “outside” so to speak in a certain setting. And so I struggle. I know in my heart what I want to do and what I am convinced is best. But I also find it hard to make the decision and know people will disapprove and we will probably face pressure because of it. I know we would be better “liked” and “understood” if we made a different choice. But that isn’t the choice we want to make.
The good part is that once I make a decision and commit to a certain course of action, I (usually) do pretty well. I am able to deal with the fallout and not let it get to me (too much). But that initial choosing and stepping out is so hard, especially if I know in advance I am walking into conflict.
I know that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. I know that the fear of man is a snare that can keep me from living out my convictions and calling. But knowing these two things and practicing them can sometimes be very hard.