Warning: honest post ahead.
The other day my 17yo daughter and I were talking about driving. She told me a story about how someone behind her in traffic got mad and beeped their horn because she wasn't pulling out fast enough for them. I told her not to worry about what that driver thought-- to take her time until she felt comfortable. That some random stranger's opinion about her driving isn't worth risking her life for. After all, I told her, you'll most likely never see that person again.
This started a series of thoughts for me personally as I thought of the things I do so that some total stranger doesn't think badly of me-- when chances are I'll never see that person again. And yet, in that moment, their opinion matters too much. Whether it's the hesitance to dance to a song I love lest someone see me, or the freedom to dress in what I want to wear lest someone judge my fashion sense, or the courage to attempt something I want to do lest someone make fun of me-- I let other people's opinions weigh heavily on the decisions I make. People who shouldn't make any difference to me. How absurd is it that we might make a risky driving decision just because the stranger behind us might be miffed about our pause?
I wish I had an answer for this dilemma. I'm working on it. Trying to live like I don't care-- being true to what I know I've been called to do, without focusing on what other people think. I don't want to live in fear of embarrassment or exposure. I want to take my time, take risks, and take care of myself and those I love. Do I care about other people? Absolutely. But I've got to answer to God and to my husband and family-- and that's where my concern should end. And yet, I let it extend outwards and outwards and outwards. I could care less. In this case, it wouldn't be a bad thing.