thoughts on honor and reputation
Mike, over at Simply A Night Owl, recently quoted Abraham Lincoln, who said this: "Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." That stuck with me, and I've been kicking it around in my head for a couple of days now.
It reminded me of something Rob (over at The Spyglass) said in one of his political posts that I actually read and sort of understood - applauding anyone really, for "caring about the reality of honor so much that you're willing to let your reputation swing in the wind." He goes on to say, "As the sci-fi/fantasy author Lois McMaster Bujold has one of her characters say, "Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. Guard your honor; let your reputation fall where it may."
Reputation. Oh, my goodness... How often do we inadvertently get caught up in our concern for our reputation?
Jake quoted Rick Joyner from his book, The Prophetic Ministry, to me the other day as we were chatting: "If we are to accomplish the purposes of God, we must come to the level of maturity where "the love of Christ controls us" (2 Cor 5:14). Love does not take into account wrongs suffered and is not motivated by rejection, which drives us to retaliation or trying to prove ourselves."
To which I said, "Huh. I never thought about trying to prove myself being a reaction to rejection... tho i suppose that makes sense... preservation against it and all that... Part of this whole "being way too concerned with my reputation" thing that God's been driving home for months now is an almost desperate need to be understood- i knew both things existed, but i didn't realize they were connected until just now..." And I don't think I really had.
But it's true - I so just want people to "get" me, and it drives me crazy when I think they don't.
But reputation is just smoke and mirrors - illusion, subjective. And while I want people to think well of me, I need to become okay with the possibility that they won't. Not all people thought well of Jesus - but He didn't live for the praises of men, although He certainly deserved them. He lived for God's honor and glory, and that is how I want to live. It is how I want to be known by God - as a woman of honor and integrity, as someone who puts Him first, before anything or anyone else. And while I would love for the reputational shadow I cast to be representative of the honorable tree I would like to be (Psalm 1, Jeremiah 17:7-8) - I'd rather just be the tree... standing strong, being steady no matter what winds, storms, or whatnot may come, bringing God all the honor and glory due His Name for Who He is. I need to be living for His opinion of me, and not anyone else's. Until I really start doing that, I'm not going to be able to kick this fear of failure thing I've been wrestling with for years, and writing about since December.
So again I say, "Oh, Lord, help!" and "Thank You for grace."