There is a giant who has stopped many believers from reaching their promised lands, and this giant is called Perception. Dealing with the opinions of man is something we can't go around, but we can get over it. Getting past how we are perceived by others can be a challenge. After all, many of us were taught that another man's perception of us could make or ruin us. Even though we heard our parents proclaim that they didn't care what others said or thought about them, we saw them struggle to maintain a certain reputation in public view. We were often chastened for “embarrassing” those very-same parents who claimed to be unaffected by the opinions of others. Therefore, we grew up saying the same quotes our parents once said; all the while, trying to make sure that we gained the approval of onlookers.
Today, you'll find many believers and non-believers who boast of having “haters.” The word “hater” was made popular in the hip hop culture, and quickly made its way into the vocabulary of people from all walks of life. The word “hater” is culturally defined as someone who's jealous. Even though people taunt their “haters” publicly, and claim not to be affected by their perception of them, it's obvious that these people do play a key role in their lives. If they didn't, no one would feel the need to address them. So it's fair to say that even today, the average believer is affected by the views of others.
But let's cross the line for a minute to address this issue. The majority of people alive are average, and average people fear wandering outside the understandings of other average people. Most people want to be the best at fitting in, only garnering enough success to win them a few more “haters.” That's because the average person is trying to find their voice in a society that's been deafened by the screams of other average-minded people trying to figure out who they are. If this earth had a few boxes, each holding a certain mindset of people, you'd find that the above-average or peculiar boxes are almost empty. Nevertheless, the average boxes would overflow with people who understand one another; people who'd lovingly reach up with their claws to snatch anyone who tried to make a daring escape. This is to say that most people remain average because they are worried about how they are perceived by average or below-average minded people.
GOD is a peculiar GOD, and HE created us in HIS image. Every person has it within himself or herself to step outside the box and do something great in their time here on earth; nevertheless, the voice of their parents echoes louder in their minds than the voice of reason. They've got to maintain a certain reputation. They've got to cover their tracks, hide their flaws, and smile big when they are in public view. At home, they kick off their phoney persona, peel off their perfection and let out a long sigh. It has been a rough life, but they've successfully managed to fly under man's radar, and therefore, are still accepted in a society that fears differences.
Then it happens. One day, we suddenly realize that we are gifted, and our gifts can make room for us. Our gifts could bring us before great men, but the problem is, we are surrounded by average-minded people who'd ridicule us if we ever dared to dream of being anything but normal. If we dared to step outside of man's limited perception of us, we may never get another invite to the neighborhood barbecue. We will likely be shunned and labeled for daring to stand out, and once we're labeled, it's hard to reclaim our seats amongst the average; therefore, we have to think long and hard before we make this life-altering decision. Should we step through the doors that GOD has opened for us, knowing that we'll likely walk side-by-side with the wind, or should we stay seated amongst a crowd who has accepted us just as we are, but would reject who we could be? Look around you, and you will see that most people have answered that question in their lives. They remain seated, only to take a few shots at change when they feel no one is looking. Man's perception has hindered man, but it doesn't have to hinder you anymore.
Man's perception is often his own deception. How a person views you is none of your business. That's between them and GOD. Your goal is to fit into the shoes that GOD has custom-created you to walk in; and to fit into these shoes, you have to step outside of what you were taught to embrace a new way of thinking. You have to stop worrying about what people will say about you, and start concerning yourself with what GOD is saying about you. You see, this earth is full of people who have yokes around their necks. What's funny is, they will always have enough room in their yokes to let you under them, but can never seem to have enough room in their minds to watch you fly over them.
The average person will go before GOD not having fulfilled HIS will for them in the realm of the earth. The average person will go through life never enjoying what GOD has stored up for them. The average person will remain average in an attempt to “give back” what man said they've taken from them. What about you? Will you be average, or will you offend the average-thinker by stepping into the greatness GOD has custom-fitted just for you? Of course, most people will pridefully say that they'll step into GOD'S will and not worry about others, but before the end of the day, fear will have a conversation with their understanding, and they'll leash themselves back up to man's limited perception of them.
If you plan to go the distance GOD has fueled you to go, you must be willing to drop off people along the way. Sometimes, a vehicle full of heavy, but small-minded people could make you pay more on fuel than you ordinarily would have paid. They will also slow you down or become broken GPS systems that lead you in the wrong direction as they attempt to figure out what's driving you.
Here are a few tips to help you neuter perception so it can stop birthing nonsense in your life.
1. Always remember that man's perception is his own deception, not yours. When a person tries to weigh you down with their opinion of you, it's a clear indicator that the person in question cannot and will not accompany you along your journey. Walk away if you want more than what their perception is offering you. Their small minds are prisons that they've locked many into.
2. Never allow yourself to feel intimidated by another person's success. People are people. Celebrate them, and continue advancing in the LORD. Anytime you allow yourself to be intimidated or become a “fan” of another human being, you limit yourself to flying beneath them.
3. Be careful who you link up to. Some people can be your friend when they see you are attempting to fly, but they'll become your enemy once they see you attempting to soar. There are many people out there who don't mind you being successful as long as your success is tied to theirs or your success is less than their own.
4. Always give people positions in your life that you can do without. If you ever get to the point where you need another human being, you have empowered that human being in your life. You should always “want” them around, not “need” them.
5. Correct yourself anytime you feel yourself viewing another human being in the wrong way. Oftentimes, we draw bad perception because of our bad reception. Please remember that you won't always understand everyone you meet. Anyone who's peculiar to you is going to stand outside of your understanding, and this is okay. Give every human being their due respect, and let them be as anointed as GOD created them to be.
6. Never accept someone's perception of another human being as your own. What you'll find in life is cliquish mentalities amongst every group of people you encounter. Within every clique, there is a mindset that glues them together. In order for you to join their clique, they have to make sure that they can bond with you by sharing their perception of others with you. Their hope is that you will take this mentality and fit in with them. Know this: People who are often ousted by “cliques” are usually peculiar and are estranged from average-minded people because they simply did not fit in. It is better to know them than it is to know that group of people who rejected them.
7. Get to know you better. The more you learn about yourself, the less you'll be willing to accept from others. When we don't know too much about the unique creatures we are, we often accept people in our lives who share their fake pearls with us in an attempt to relate to us.
8. Get to know GOD better. There is so much to you that GOD wants to uncover, but this mystery of who you are is wrapped up in who HE is. To get to know you better, you must first get to know HIM better.
Always remember that you were not created to be just another person with dreams within a group of people who are keeping you from those dreams. You are created to praise GOD; not just with your mouth, but with your success. Let people's perception of you perish with them, but you...go and be who you are designed to be in the LORD. The worst (and most dangerous) thing you could ever do is attempt to put an anointed person on a leash.