One of my most vivid memories of childhood is of running full steam ahead with no particular destination. I can still recall how it felt when all of a sudden my arms would take flight. You know what I’m talking about right? Windmill arms? There was no reason for it. It didn’t make me go faster, and I don’t even remember deciding to do it. It just happened. And it felt so good. It was like I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was just caught up in being totally alive. An equally vivid memory is of the day that someone made fun of me for running like that. It was the first time I was aware that people were watching. And judging. It was the last time I ran with windmill arms.
As I watched Peter running like this yesterday I was suddenly acutely aware of just how much time I have wasted and how many things I have missed out on by worrying about what people are thinking. Of course it didn’t stop with windmill arms. It quickly moved to what I was wearing, who I was friends with, what kind of things my family had, or didn’t have. It became about who I should date, what I should do with my life. It crossed over into how I should look, how I should parent my children, what I believed, and even how I should live. It’s been very superficial things and very deeply important things. I’ve had anxiety at the grocery store when my cart contained Dorito’s and soda for a movie night for the kids. What if someone thinks I’m not a good parent because of my cart filled with artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup !?!?! When we started sharing our plans for moving to the North Shore we received a lot of questions, comments, and criticism. It threatened to shake my resolve for what I KNEW we should be doing. For the last two years I have longed to try stand up paddle boarding. I haven’t tried it. Not because I’m afraid I can’t do it, because I’m afraid of people watching me while I do it. As I type this it sounds so silly, but silly or not it’s been true. I’ve spent years picking up things that people have said and things I thought they MIGHT say. And, I haven’t only picked them up I’ve put them on and now they are so heavy there is no chance of breaking into windmill arms. It’s time to take them off a layer at time. Time to enjoy the things I am doing without thinking about who is watching. Time to actually do the things I’ve been thinking of and wanting to do. Most importantly it’s to to remember that there is one opinion that matters. And it isn’t based on how I look while doing anything. Time to run like only He is watching.
The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. Proverbs 29:25