Last Updated on June 4, 2015 by Stacy Averette

Glad you’re here for day 3 of this series. If you haven’t already, I invite you to read The Death of Me: {Introduction} and The Death of Me: {Part I} Dying to What Others Think of Me before you continue. Those posts lay the groundwork for what I will share today.

Go ahead. I’ll wait right here and finish my Diet Pepsi and Hershey Bar while you’re gone. Of course, I don’t eat chocolate everyday but I’ve heard it’s good for you. I know. Its dark chocolate that’s good for you and the Hershey Bar I’m eating is milk chocolate. But everything in moderation. Right? And I limit myself to 1, maybe 2, Diet Pepsis  a day ‘cause I read that thing on Facebook about the stuff that’s in diet sodas but I drink a lot of water (and coffee) to off-set the acid in the soda that’s slowly eating away the lining of my stomach. OK. Glad I could explain that and set the record straight so now we can go on to the part about Dying to Feeling Misunderstood.
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Feeling Misunderstood

Feeling misunderstood is the ugly cousin of people-pleasing and image maintenance.

She usually shows up when people pleasing and image maintenance begin to feel (and fear) they’ve been misunderstood, unappreciated, not sympathetically understood, or misinterpreted.

She over-explains or justifies and is always concerned about setting the record straight. She can be a Chatty Cathy at times (think of the Steve Martin and John Candy scene in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles). However, most of the time her attempt at “setting the record straight” is disguised as a self-deprecating, apologetic explanation. Either way, it’s all about me her.

A frantic stream of words flow from us because we are in a constant process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding. If I have done some wrong thing (or even some right thing that I think you may misunderstand) and discover that you may know about it, I will be very tempted to help you understand my action! (Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline)

David Runcorn says, “We waste the gift of words. We use them to protect our insecurities and we cast them carelessly around every encounter.” (A Center of Quiet: Hearing God When Life is Noisy)

This Death of Me is Necessary

I must die to self— to feeling misunderstood. Jesus was very clear about that. Matthew 16:24 in the Amplified Bible: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [[a]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].”

Jesus understood the necessity of His death. “Thus Christ might have possessed his heavenly glory alone, without becoming man. Or, after he had taken man’s nature, he might have entered heaven alone, by his own perfect righteousness, without suffering or death; but then no sinner of the human race could have been saved “.(Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

He said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
smiley face stacy2

Start with Silence

For me, the death of feeling misunderstood begins with silence. Silence is an annihilation—death—of that fundamentally human way of declaring and expressing my existence. It puts a stopper on all self-justification and gives freedom to let God be my justifier.

One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust him. (Foster)

Although I may still struggle with feeling misunderstood, choosing to be silent in an encounter seems to give space for God to move and speak. I step aside from center-stage with the belief that God can care for me—reputation and all.

O Lord God, Holy One of Israel, I am returning and resting in you. I will be strengthened by quietly (sometimes silently) trusting in you. Isaiah 30:15

Click here to read The Death of Me:{Part 3} Dying to Being in Control

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