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Several years ago, I decided to set certain standards for myself. But it wasn't necessarily for a good reason. It seemed that there were certain individuals that decided to speak negatively about me to people that I highly respected and cared about, and to anyone that listened for that matter. I admit, I’m in no way perfect and some things that were said may have been true, but there was also information that was misconstrued, taken out of context, or outright lies.

At first, I felt like I needed to defend myself and it felt terrible to always be worried about what was being said and to whom, and who would believe what. After a while, I decided that rather than be stressed and worried, I would set standards for myself that I would not compromise or violate. I decided I would be the best person that I could be and that I would not only “face my demons,” but I would deal with them and eliminate them from my life. I did not want to be who I had always been, I wanted to change my life and be different, and better. My thought behind this was that I wanted to be the kind of person that when or if anyone spoke negatively about me, others just wouldn’t believe it. I wanted to hold myself to a higher standard.

One of the first things I did was to check my relationships, and see if I needed to remove toxic people from my life. I did, so I stopped spending time with unmotivated people that had no desire to change or grow. It is so true that birds of a feather flock together, and this old bird wanted a change. Next, as difficult as it was, I began to search deep within myself and pick apart the things that were being said so I could deal with each issue as it arose. I needed to know if there was any truth in any part of the things that were being said about me. This was really difficult because it’s hard to see things in yourself that need to change. Especially if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with the “way you are.” Was I rude, or could something I said or did have come off as rude? Was I disrespectful, or antagonistic? Was I hard to work with or did I think my way was the only right way? Was I dishonest? Or did I go along with dishonest people? Was I argumentative? The list went on and on. If I thought there could be any truth at all in the information being said about me. I would begin the tedious job of changing that part of me. There were many occasions when I just couldn’t see my faults, and many times I didn’t want to see them. And then there were the times that in particular situations, I genuinely did not think that I had done anything wrong when in fact I actually may have. This is when I realized I needed guidance.

In my humanity, I could easily justify many things I may have done or said. I needed to look above and beyond my humanity and look to a God who is righteous, and just. I needed guidelines, and what better place to look than in the Word of God? I began to pray fervently for God to search my heart for things I needed to change and to show me things that I didn’t even know I needed to deal with. I prayed that He would help me through the process. Scriptures like Ephesians 4:22-24 and 29 began to speak to me. Words of wisdom such as Proverbs 11:3 and 5 began to show me things I never thought about before. As I set standards for myself and tried to change behaviors whether I thought I needed to or not, I began to feel better about myself, and more confident. I started wanting to be a better person for myself and for the One I cared about more than anyone else, Jesus. I had more peace in my life. I stopped worrying about negative things people might think or believe and started thinking more about how I can be the best me that I could be. I recently was writing about breaking chains of bad habits, for work, and I wrote about building character. When I looked up the definition of character it said, ways of thinking, acting, and feeling that benefits others and yourself. I thought, wow!! That’s so powerful, not just the way you act, but the way you feel and think, that benefits not just yourself but others as well. There are so many lessons I can glean from that definition alone.

What started out as perhaps a somewhat selfish and prideful motive of not wanting people to think ill of me, soon transformed into a desire to be all that God wanted me to be. I learned that what God thinks of me is what I truly care about more than anything else. I learned that building character is beneficial to myself and others. I changed my life for the better, and in so doing, I changed the outcomes of circumstances in my life. Am I at a place where if someone spoke negatively about me to someone I highly respect, would they not believe it? Maybe, but I know that’s not my priority anymore. I know who I am in God. I know I am working on myself all the time. I know I have standards that I uphold and lines I will not cross. And I know if I fail, I have a loving God that will help me pick up the pieces and start again. I have a forever friend and confidant in Him. I know He will always love me, help me, and be my strength as I strive to be what He sees in me. And I know I can go to His Word for assurance, guidance, and hope. You can make changes in your life and you can reap the benefits of better outcomes in your life when you look to God for strength and guidance.

Hebrews 13:6

Galatians 4:26

Romans 8:17

Isaiah 41:10

Psalms 119:105

Tired of the same old drudgery in life?
Ready to make real and lasting changes?

Look to God's word for guidance and lean on Him for strength to follow through.

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