What I'm Learning About ... What Others Think

A while ago, a friend and I were watching my son race around the playground. "You have your hands full with that one," she said with a wink.

What does she mean? I wondered. Is this just a nice way to say Thomas is out of control and I'm a terrible mother and she'll never let her son play with mine because hers would never throw sand down the slide or use the swings as a slingshot?

Ridiculous, I know. But it's a weakness I live with daily. I'm incredibly, absurdly obsessed with what others think. I wonder how those around me are assessing my abilities, my style, me, me, me. I constantly replay conversations in my mind, examining what I said, how I said it, and how what I said was received.

If someone disagrees with me, I burn millions of brain cells trying to convince her or myself she's wrong and I'm right. But because I'm not fond of confrontation, most of the arguments remain inside my head. I have amazing debates in there. I'm witty, brilliant, persuasive. When I'm done, everyone agrees with my position and we all go out and celebrate with Venti Caramel Macchiatos. Hooray!

My husband watches these imaginary conversations and urges, "Go talk to her!" But I get stuck, fretting: What if she thinks there's something wrong with me? Or worse, what if she hasn't given our disagreement a second thought?

Soon after yet another self-obsessing circumstance, I noticed a repeating theme in the books and Bible studies I read: the supremacy of Christ. "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).

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