I am currently sitting at the kitchen table in our home in the picturesque town of Meulan, France. The windows and doors are wide open, the sun is shining, and no bugs are flying in. This morning, Mom, Max, and I walked to the farmer’s market that is right by the Seine. We bought some fresh fruit, and then headed to the boulangerie to buy fresh, warm, French bread that Max and I ate most of on the way home. I think it is very safe to say that most of my friends’ lives don’t look like this at all. I know they are swamped with homework and most likely sweating in the Texas heat. Bless their hearts!
We left a piece of our family and of our hearts back in Arkansas to complete his junior year of college as a music education major. I know he is also dealing with lots of homework and lots of heat. We recently had the joy of talking with Michael on the phone, and he told us about his super busy schedule. He said when asked if he was jealous of us living over here, he answered that he was mainly jealous of me! I get to enjoy this year and not go to school or work. He said it all in fun, but it really got me to thinking.
I can understand why it may not seem fair. Sometimes I worry that people are judging me, thinking I am wasting my life while they are taking steps closer to their career. I worry that people might resent me because I was given this opportunity and they weren’t, and I don’t ever want to seem like I am boasting. To clarify, I know that nobody really thinks this. Everyone has been so, so supportive of our trip here, and I am so grateful. These are simply worries that I have that stem from a problem I have dealt with all of my life: people pleasing.
God is so good to teach me and give me reminders of his love through music. The song “You Say” by Lauren Daigle is very popular in America, but apparently it is popular here too! I heard it walking through the grocery store one time, and I couldn’t believe it! A few days later, I heard it coming out of a radio that a man was listening to on his bulldozer while doing construction work. I love it when God gives us moments like these. One line of this song really sticks out to me:
The only thing that matters now is everything YOU think of me…
Wow! It is the perfect answer to my doubts. Here I am, worried about what everyone else thinks about me. I am worried if they approve of what I am doing every day and if they think my year in France is worth it. Did I ever stop and ask what God thinks about what I am doing in France? The answer to that would be no. So, I spent some time in prayer, and I felt at peace remembering that God has placed my family here. He wants me to be here serving him. I should only be concerned with pleasing him daily. Galatians 1:10 comes to mind:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
This verse is convicting because it reminds me that pleasing people is equivalent to serving myself. I want people to recognize me and think I am awesome. I want to feed my pride. Throughout school, I was so concerned with doing my assignments exactly right, in order to please my teachers so that they would praise me. In the same way, I want people to praise me for what I am doing here, and so I am worried about what they think. This is completely backwards of how I should be thinking.
It is impossible to seek to please man and God at the same time because one option seeks to glorify ourselves and the other option seeks to glorify God. I shouldn’t be pleasing people so that I can be lifted up. I should be pleasing God so that he may be lifted up. I would like to share a quote with you that wraps these ideas up well:
“You don’t have to please others. Just do what God wants you to do, because at the end of the day, it is only He who can satisfy your heart. Not the approval or applause from other people. – Anonymous
I pray that this truth encourages you as much as it has encouraged me: It doesn’t matter what other people think about you. It only matters what God thinks of you. Serve him with all of your might. That is the only thing that holds any significance in the end.