others - and the power they have

I have a problem.
this is nothing new, but something I have struggled with for years and years.

you see, i care far too much what others think of me.
i've always been a people pleaser. always. somewhere along the way i developed the need for people to think i was great. the mere thought that someone could ever say something bad about me crushes my spirit.

here lately, it's been getting in the way quite a bit.
i feel like it's the biggest thing keeping me stagnant in life these days.
and honestly, it's more about what family thinks about me than anything.
you know those people who are supposed to accept, love and encourage you no matter what.
but more times than not i feel that i spend my time justifying my life in order to get that acceptance, love and encouragement. 
whether it is true or not, that's how my heart perceives it.
i find that instead, i tend to keep everything i feel bottled up and only tell the necessities.
and as a result, i feel more disconnected from family than i ever have in my life.
and that's a really lonely place to be.
i know without a shadow of a doubt that God has awesome things in store for me and chris.
this life of ministry, well it's complicated.
and this past year has been one of the most stressful times of struggle i have encountered in a very, very long time.
and i feel like that people just don't get it.
i wish that someone would pick up the phone and say "hey, i know this is a tough time right now and I love you and will stand behind you no matter what" without ending it with some backhanded comment that infuriates me. 
and then i worry myself with the whispers that go on behind my back about what a ridiculous life i lead.
for all i know, there are none and i worry myself for nothing. if only that were the case.
i know that there are many of  you who struggle with this as well.
needing approval from others....or maybe just one person in your life in order to feel complete.
but God has never told me to care what others think.
He has only ever told me to focus on Him, and Him alone.
why is that so hard? why does my flesh fail so often?
even Jesus had to leave his hometown to do effective ministry.
is that because family always thinks they know the better path for you?
there's a song called God's Not Dead and the chorus is "my God's not dead, He's surely alive and He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion.."
and then I saw the quote above "The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others, and the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom"
if God is truly roaring inside of us, then it has to be compelling us to be different.
when i look at scripture, Jesus was made fun of and talked about behind his back - by the very people who were supposed to be on his side. he was thought to have been crazy or sacrilegious for hanging with the lowliest and dirtiest of people. YET HE DID NOT CARE. He let them talk.
Jesus experienced the struggles we have. He knows what it is like to be scoffed at.
At the end of the day, if I know that God is pleased with me and that I have His approval, then nothing else matters.
No one else's opinion of me matters.
It's time to stop living in the bondage of what I think others think of me and live in freedom....roaring freedom.
And then there's Katy Perry. She released her new single yesterday and it's oh so perfect. You should listen to ROAR