What Happens When We Love Others First, And God Second

by Alyssa DeLosSantos

Dear Younger Me,

I see you caving under the weight of all you are trying to get “right.” You are worn out and discouraged from trying to earn your worth. You may bristle at what I’m about to say because these words might feel like an ill-fitting garment, but I’m begging you to lean in and listen carefully so you can experience freedom from the grip of striving and unbelief.

It’s not all up to you. That’s a lie you have believed far too long. You don’t have to prove you are smart, capable, or worthy. When you accepted the love of Christ, you were immediately justified. All your past failures and regrets were canceled. I know that’s more than you can comprehend, but you were acquitted.

Because your acquittal is hard for you to receive, you have been seduced into believing your works are the bedrock of your worth. That exhaustion you feel is from carrying an invisible burden into every arena of your life. All the striving to make yourself presentable is leading you to look more like other people, and what you think is acceptable in church culture, rather than reflect your Creator. This has left you burned out and discouraged.

You have worked diligently to conform to the norm, but that unsettled feeling you can’t shake is begging for your attention. The discomfort that nags at you is a combination of your gifting and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Follow your instinct to chase God outside the lines. Don’t worry about the side-eye from others, you weren’t made to conform to their expectations. You were created with a unique gifting and you are the best version of you when you are walking in that endowment.

Please back away from your inclination to satisfy others. People pleasing leads to dead ends and heartaches. Choose to let the voice of God be the loudest in your life. Lean into the Word and then exercise your yes as it pleases God. You will avoid painful breaks and disappointments if you value your obedience to Him over the comfort of the temporary approval of others.

I give you permission to sit down when others stand up, or stand up when others are seated. Go outside your comfort zone, love the unlovable, dip your toes into the rushing waters and trust God’s provision over your own understanding. Don’t wait for a cheering section. Don’t fashion yourself in the reflection of any man or woman. Be encouraged by others, but don’t make others your god.

Sweet one-your God delights in you. He quiets you with His love and he rejoices over you with joy. He is the shield about you, the lifter of your head, and the lover of your soul. Linger in his love for you. Once you’ve been filled up with the immeasurable, unfailing love of Jesus, walk confidently in your calling. Love God. Love others. Don’t get that order reversed.

You are worth the cost Jesus paid on the cross. It was enough. Rest in his provision. Trust the reliability of Calvary. It will keep you from the crash and burn that awaits a life filled with the temporary buzz of people pleasing.

With love,

The Older You

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I love Alyssa. A lot. That’s her on the left. I’ve known her for a long time as one of my mom’s friends, but now she is my friend too. Whenever I would go back to my home church while I was visiting my parents and saw Alyssa in the foyer, I would make a bee line in her direction. Alyssa doesn’t do fake small talk. She is one of the most real women I know. That’s why I bee line it in her direction wherever she is. Because I know she’ll be a reprieve from any surface level conversation I might be having. Alyssa is also a really good writer and speaker. You can learn more about her on her blog here. She is also giving away copies of English Lessons this week so be sure to enter to win on her site!

 

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