I understand the title may seem a bit odd, but keep reading and it will all be clear. A friend called me up the other day to confide in me about her recent hurt feelings. She expressed that she was beginning to feel left out in her typical circle of friends. Her friends seemed to not include her in some get-togethers or care when she wasn’t able to come to said get-togethers.
I realized that God must have placed her in my life because I can so empathize and I have so been there recently. The random Facebook photo that pops up showing your friends getting together… without you. Always being the last to know plans. Being invited almost as an afterthought. I get it. I am a sensitive person, so I usually give extra effort to include people even when they aren’t standing right in front of me. I try to make sure they feel including all the time because, well, that is what I would want. If I love someone enough to have them as my friend, then I should treat them with love. However, in all honesty, I have discovered recently that people (including Christians) are many times extremely insensitive. They seem to have no problem leaving others out and making other people feel unloved. How sad is that considering that God is love?
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (ESV)
We as His followers are supposed to emulate Him and all He does and has done. If we aren’t even willing to lay down two minutes to call someone up and make them feel included, how on earth are we supposed to follow God’s example of true love for each other and “lay down our lives”?
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” 1 John 15:13 (ESV)
As I said, I totally understood where she was coming from. The Lord has a way of bringing people into your life just when you need them, and, many times, when they need you right back. Every piece of advice I gave her resonated deep within me as I heard my voice speaking into a phone yet to my own heart. We talked about how we simply need to grow closer to our Heavenly Father because no one else’s opinion matters. He is our portion. He satisfies. Are these fickle friendships really furthering God’s Kingdom? We found that we were becoming insecure based on other people’s opinions, when really we need to focus on Christ’s opinion alone. His is the only one that matters. He is more than enough for us. When we draw close to Him, everything else gets put in its place on the totem pole- at the bottom. Jesus is at the top. I prayed with her and she stayed on my heart for quite some time. Often I feel God speak to me in analogies. On that night, God spoke the following analogy to me, and it really hit home. First, let’s take a look at a little background information:
When ducks are in water, they use their bills to take oil from glands on their bodies and spread it all over their feathers. This keeps the water rolling off of them, thus keeping them from getting waterlogged, wet, and cold.
We are ducks floating on a lake of other people’s opinions. If we don’t cover ourselves with oil (Jesus and a deep relationship with Him), we grow cold as other people’s negativity penetrates our feathers, weighs us down, and chills us to our core. Everyone always says to let things go “like water off a duck’s back”, but how can we do that if we don’t have the oil? Spending time with our Heavenly Father is how we can “cover ourselves” with Him to protect us from harm.
“The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.” Psalm 121:7 (ESV)
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30 (ESV)
So remember, daily, before you hop into the lake of people’s negativity and insensitivity, spread oil over your feathers by drawing near to Christ Jesus and hearing His opinion of you through praying and reading the Word. Seek His approval and validation. If you do this, you won’t be left feeling discouraged, heavy, and cold from being spiritually soaked with other people’s opinions of you. Let Jesus be your oil. Shake out those feathers, disciple of Christ.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 (ESV)