But it gets worse, because I first read this book in…ummm…2000 when I was a newlywed with no children and I was discipling a high school student in the youth group that my husband and I were leading (hi, Jen, you lurker you!). The book was so life-changing to me at that point that I vowed that I would read it once a year just to check myself.
Hello, second reading NINE YEARS LATER. Clearly I am the picture of vow-fulfillment and faithfulness.
But guess what? At the end of the year, I completed one book and the circumstances were perfect to use all that beginning-of-the-year-fresh-start energy to dive into People are Big. I knew that this time I wanted to wade through it slowly, journaling along the way, and that’s what I’ve done so far.
The full title of the book is When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man. I think people (maybe you) see the title and think, “Well, obviously that’s for someone who has issues. I am not codependent. Look at me! I’m so healthy!”.
But Welch’s point in the first chapter is that everyone struggles with this issue to varying degrees. We all make decisions based on what others will think of us. We all wonder what our reputation really is. We all wear beautiful masks to try to hide our real selves. We build walls to keep others at bay.
I’m going to be jotting down what I learn along the way and ask the same questions here that I’m asking myself. I hope they will benefit my readers. If you find them boring or annoying or whatever, come back tomorrow for some inane post about potty-training or “The Office.” One of my goals for 2009 is to beef up the sorely-lacking spiritual content of my blog, so this serves as my start.
A couple questions to kick it off:
- How do you “need” people? Do you need their approval? How does your desire for a good reputation alter the decisions that you make or the way that you live?
- Do you second-guess decisions because of what people might think?
- Do you ever feel that you might be exposed as an impostor?
- Are you jealous of other people?
- Do you avoid people?
- When you compare yourself with other people, do you feel good about yourself?
Though these manifestations vary widely, they are all signs of being controlled by others and the desire for approval.
I’ll expand on some of these next time.