Fear of what other people think of you. Fear of other people misjudging your actions or motives.
I have seen this to be one of the strongest and most effective tactics the enemy uses to keep God’s children from stepping boldly into accomplishing assignments He has called them to do. I have seen these fears stop people from praying, stop people from speaking, stop people from being obedient to God.
As the Holy Spirit leads me to share on this, I want you to know that I share this from a place of experience. I say this having come from a place of being in bondage to the pressures of fear of being misjudged, fear of having my motives questioned, fear of not measuring up to others or passing their assessments of me. I have been in bondage, but praise God, I have been set free!
There is a place of peace when you are able to lay aside unnecessary external pressures, specifically, most often misperceived pressures you take on from other people. I call them reverse judgements. You think someone is judging you, when in reality they most likely are not, but you are actually the one judging them – judging that they are judging. That’s a brain twister there. Yes, we will indeed be judged or assessed by other people (who themselves need conviction and growth) from time to time and that is unfortunate, but we cannot let that hold us back from accomplishing God’s purposes for us.
Daughter of God, You have been created by God, uniquely fashioned by Him and you are perfect to Him just the way He created you. Do not worry over what anyone thinks of you aside from the Lord.
If God has placed something on your heart to do, no matter how big or how small, go do it! He knows your heart and He is the one who knows your motives. Don’t let the lies of the enemy hold you back from completing assignments God has for you. When you are having any thoughts about motives include Psalm 139: 23-24 in your prayers: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
“People will think I’m weird.” Oh goodness, ask anyone who knew me when I was newly saved. I would start every sentence on a spiritual topic (what I felt I was hearing from God, etc.) with, “You may think I’m weird but…” If you hear from God, do not worry over other people’s understanding of what you are doing. People will misunderstand, but you will have peace in walking in obedience to God. I will give one personal example and this is when I was newly saved. I had been driving around with my son’s old clothes in my trunk ready to be dropped off for donation for several weeks. It was a long tiring day of work and I was so ready to go home, but I randomly felt within me God say, “you know those clothes in your trunk? Drive to the Dollar Tree.” Okay, I rarely go to that store unless I’m needing something very specific that I know they sell, so this was completely random. I hesitated and then I went. As I pulled into the parking lot I saw a lady with two small boys walking in at that moment. I knew within me this was really happening, that God really had spoken to me and really was doing a work, but then came the feeling of “that women is going to think I’m so weird if I randomly ask her if she needs some clothes while she is shopping.” I walked in the store and hesitated, but I wanted to obey what I know was God’s leading. When I did ask her if she wanted the clothes, her response was, “Jesus sent you! My son has just outgrown all his clothes and I was needing to get some new ones.”
Step boldly into whatever God calls you to do! Other people may very well not understand the step you are taking or, through their dimmed vision, see you as underqualified, but when God calls you to do something, be obedient and it will be His power at work in you to accomplish all He has called you to do! His power is made perfect in your weakness. Believe every bit of what He says. Let nothing hold you back woman of God!
If you feel led to pray in a group setting, pray! He is loving every word of it no matter how studdery or stumbly it is coming out. Let go of what grade any other person could put on your ability to pray. If people give you an A+ or an F it does not matter. If anyone is grading your abilities, they are the one who needs conviction and growth. With this being said, prayer in a group setting should never feel like an obligation or some way of proving yourself to other people (see Matthew 6:5 on not praying for the purpose of being seen by others). If you don’t feel led by the Spirit, don’t do it out of pressure, but if you feel led by the Spirit to pray, pray boldly without hindrance! The enemy would try and have you remain silent, but there is power when a group gathers and prays in agreement.
Somewhere in my walk with God I was able to completely let go of any worry over what others may think of me. This was a process over time of trusting God and being obedient, no matter what discomforts were attached, but I have seen Him move over and over again as I have let go of my own insecurities and submitted completely to His leading.
If God says speak, speak. If He says pray, pray. If He says do, do. If He says go, go. Let nothing hold you back from accomplishing all that God calls you to do! All glory to God!