She felt trapped.
Snared in a hopeless and fearful situation, her sorrow and regret engulfed every part of her being.
Buckled under the weight of deceit, guile, and betrayal, each labored, anxious breath exposed her frailty of spirit and weak resolve.
Could she ever be free from the confines of this bitter, cavernous pit?
Liberation from her shackles of despair seemed incomprehensible.
How had this happened?
What could have bound her to this harmful, debilitating space in spite of her sincere character, her pleasing nature, her dedicated loyalty, and her genuine love?
In one word – herself.
It was her pleasing nature and misplaced trust which lured and enticed her toward the barrenness pursuit of the favor of man. Her people-pleasing temperament sought the approval, validation, affirmation, attention, and love of others at the expense of all she was and hoped to be. Her identity was fettered to serving others first and foremost – even to her peril.
She had been warned.
Long ago, ancient, sage words had been offered:
Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
New International Version, Proverbs 29:25
The Hebrew transliterated word for fear is charadah. This Hebrew noun’s meaning was played out in her anxious life. Lured by the fear of not meeting her friend’s, her parents’, her employer’s, her spouse’s, her children’s, her siblings’, her church’s, her community’s, and everyone else on the planet’s needs, she allowed herself to be seduced and ultimately ensnared by never satisfying, never appeasing, and never being enough.
Could she ever make everyone and everyone else happy?
Of course not. Not ever.
But was it even possible to be free of this dangerous, life-draining, identity-stealing and soul-shattering occupation of heart and mind?
How do I know?
Because this woman’s story was my story nearly a quarter of a century ago. I had reached a devastatingly low period in my life where I had been deceived by someone very close to me – someone who I had attempted to satisfy and care for to my detriment. Caught in my own barren pursuit to love and please someone, I was misled, betrayed, and then abandoned.
It was then that I chose to fully lean into the heartening and strengthening truth of the ancient words’ second refrain:
But whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
Stated another way:
But she who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.
New American Standard, Proverbs 29:25b
Buried under shame, regret, failure, and loss, I sought my Lord, my Heavenly Father to lift me and bring me to a place of security and rest. Only He could raise me, heal me, and return and inspire hope. I chose to trust my God with my current pain and trust Him for my future.
To trust in the LORD is to have a bold, secure, confidence in Him. We are care – less, safe, and free from seeking the approval of man.
Really? Is such a thing possible for the people-pleasers of this world?
Can we be fear-less?
The answer comes in our trust of the LORD.
As we trust in the LORD, we are lifted and set securely upon the High Rock of salvation. We surrender our fear. We give up our self-serving, self-gratifying, self-centered strategies in life. As we trust in the LORD, we are lifted and set securely upon the High Rock. This is the meaning of exalted – to be raised and set on high upon the immovable, impenetrable Rock. We know this Rock to be Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He is our Defender, our Refuge, and our Peace.
Think of it this way: as we trust in our God and offer up our fears, worries, and concerns, He lifts us up and positions us in a place of defense, a place of refuge and a place of peace – far up and away from the cares and concerns of this earth and of man.
We won’t let fear win.
My dear friends, as followers and believers in Christ, we can trust that we are whole and secure in Him – our place, our purpose, our being is on the High Rock of Salvation, Peace, Defense, Security and Love.
Will we remember our position in Christ, though?
I am very much aware that we are prone to forgetfulness. In addition, the influence of man and this world continually pull at us to return to our people-pleasing tendencies. We are vulnerable to innate desires to appease those we love, those in authority, and those, those, those many others in our lives who we seek approval and affirmation.
Why do we distrust and/or disregard the power, providence, security and love we have in Jesus Christ and fail to remember our position in Him because of our fear of losing the favor of man? Whoever it is….
I have done it.
Sometimes, I still do it.
So, what do we do?
We do not want to be overcome by the fear of man – after all, we’ve learned – the fear of man is a deadly and dangerous snare.
So, what do we do?
We turn our sights upon our LORD.
We trust in the LORD.
We remember where we are and where we are positioned.
We are set upon the Rock and it is there that we experience His security, His rest, and His peace.
In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my Rock and my fortress.
New International Version, Psalm 71: 1-3
May it be so.
We trust in the Rock who is higher than us.
We won’t let fear win.
Image retrieved from Flying Frog Media