“Isn’t it funny that our reputation is like the wind?” This was a question that we discussed as I chatted with a fellow campus minister/friend. He was sharing with me about how a person can build up a life time of faithful service and credibility, but to no avail. What he meant was that sometimes, our reputation or others’ perception of us is what it is, and it does not whatsoever depend on us. The frustrating thing is that others’ perception of us or their opinions of us sometimes is not really about our character or action. Sometimes, their perception is more about their own lens with which they look at us.
Yes, to be a faithful, humble servant of God, we must always examine our own lives and why we maybe perceived negatively. However, there are times when it does not matter what we say or how we live or even about the fruit of our own righteous living. The sad thing is that alot of times, these perceptions are what they are because of the people perceiving us. Thus, their ideas about us are really not something we can truly earn or lose. It is what it is!
I have been thinking about this since Feb. 08. That month, I was not able to attend a conference related to my ministry. But my friends who attended the conference told me what happened there. It was nice that during that time, my name was spoken well of in front of all of the conferees. It was nice! In fact, it was such a nice feeling!
As I was processing that nice feeling, I was reminded by God that it is what it is! Sure felt good to have that feeling of being spoken well of. But it is really not about me. I sense that it is actually ironic that last year , had I attended the same conference, I might have heard some very negative things said about me.
(You see, I was kind of fired from my old position around that time.)
I recalled the feeling that I was so exasperated by my situation because I was not able to represent myself to some of these same people. I was greatly hurt because I was not able to express my view or even defend the false perceptions about me. It was as if it did not matter what I said or what I did, and that these perceptions would persist. I felt very helpless!
The same scenario and yet, this time, it is the opposite. This time, it really was not about me,
it just happened that the perception of me now was a more positive perception of me; but I really didn’t do that much for those kind words. (Sure, I was encouraging and all…but really it was just their perception….) In actuality, I am the same person that was fired.
Like my other friends who have experienced this, after living a while, we get to experience that our reputation is sometimes like the wind. It just come and goes. And really, we cannot base our identity and our worth on the words or opinions of men or women. That really the only thing that is the most important in our lives is what Jesus says about us. That He thinks we are really precious and we are truly his beloved children. What really matters is His opinion about us.
The wind will come and go. And all we can do is to abide in Him as it moves around.
All we can do is to examine our hearts about others perceptions of us and humbly change anything that Our Savior tells us to. We must then leave our reputation at the alter of God.
And to embrace that our reputation is just like the wind.
But God is our security and is our stay.