“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” – Proverbs 29:25 NIV
As a first-born child I would say I am pretty typical. Google “first-born personality” and you will see words like: “reliable”, “conscientious”, “structured”, “cautious”, and “controlling”. “Conscientious” is one of my favorites, because I see it as just a fancy way of saying “people pleaser”. For the better part of my childhood and into my twenties I can safely say I led an aggressively conscientious life. Most of my decisions were based on some sort of duty that I felt to my parents, family or most of the other influential adults in my life. As I got older, I finally began to make decisions based on what I wanted for myself. Any guesses on how well that went? Finally, I got very lucky and found my wife, who helped to reintroduce God into my life and I slowly, very slowly, began to try to live a life where I based my decisions on what God wanted for me. Of course, now that I am in my mid (late?)-forties, I am getting better at this, but still can’t really get it right. So, was it fair or logical to expect my 20-something self to get it right? Probably not. I’ll cut the younger me some slack, which as a first-born it pains me to do. But maybe while I am still learning to trust God to guide me in the right direction, I can at least do something a little easier, which is trust that He loves me.
That’s a great place to start. Because when we start to incorporate His love for us into our lives, it pushes out all those other emotions which aren’t so good for us. The stress, the hate, the fear, etc. Take it from someone who spent a lot of time worrying about what other people wanted me to do, or what they thought of me. When we worry about those types of things we get caught up. We get stuck. But we never have to wonder what the Lord thinks of us; He loves us unconditionally and therefore, we know that we will always be kept safe when He is with us.