Stop Protecting Your Reputation

It’s My Look

The food line was long. As a volunteer, I needed to break through to the front. I needed to pick up another ten boxed meals from the workers in the kitchen at Manna House. Jenna and I didn’t have enough meals loaded in her car already to hand out for our Monday afternoon delivery, but ten more would do it.

I gently nudged my way through those who were in line to receive meals for themselves.

I saw other volunteers along the line handing out vegetables, toiletries, and milk.

I was almost to the kitchen when a volunteer handing out milk looked at me. She asked, “Would you like a gallon of milk?

It took me a second to realize why she asked.

She thought I was one of the unhoused people in the line to receive free food for my family.

Outward Approval

I hate being misunderstood. I’ve sometimes gone out of my way just to explain myself, to clear up a misunderstanding that may or may not have been relevant to anyone but me.

But insisting on always being understood by others forces a limited scope of living.

Outward understanding—and approval—is fickle, after all.

Deserved or not, sometimes people think worse of us than we are.

Or sometimes better of us than we are.

And truth be told, if God revealed what God knows about us, down to our very thoughts, none of us would have any friends.

Nobody’s reputation would be spotless.

Live Right

Releasing the need to defend my reputation isn’t easy.

Actually, what people think about us does count for something. A good reputation is a valuable thing to own.

We want to have a good reputation among our family, friends, community. We want to be trustworthy and reliable in our relationships.

But in the end, we can’t control what other people think about us. We can barely control what we think about ourselves.

If we want a clear conscious, our best approach is to live openly and honestly and lean hard into God’s grace.

Focus more on living right instead of being seen right.

Release My Stand

My mistaken identity at Manna House had happened to me before. Because I wear a t-shirt and jeans to pick up the meals for our food deliveries, I blend in. It’s often hard to distinguish the volunteers from the non-volunteers.

The first time it happened I was a little offended. I’m sure I overexplained—with way too much haughtiness—that I was a volunteer myself.

But last Monday, I just looked at the young volunteer offering me milk and said “No thank you.” No explaining this time. She had done her job well to ask. I no longer minded being confused as a non-volunteer.

If I want inner peace with who I am, I just need to do what I think is right, ask for forgiveness when I fail, and keep holding God’s hand through it all.

I don’t have a story that needs defending. It’s safe to release my stand.

It matters more who I really am than who others think I am.


This is my monthly journey with my One Word RELEASE. Do you have One Word for 2022?

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15 thoughts on “Stop Protecting Your Reputation

  1. Trudy

    “I don’t have a story that needs defending. It’s safe to release my stand.
    It matters more who I really am than who others think I am.”
    Thank you, Lisa, for this needed reminder. It can be difficult sometimes for me to not defend myself or the truth of a situation, but I often have to remind myself to pray more and say less. And this, too, is such wise advice – “If I want inner peace with who I am, I just need to do what I think is right, ask for forgiveness when I fail, and keep holding God’s hand through it all.” Thank you for all this encouragement. Love and blessings to you!

  2. Barbara Harper

    I agree, a reputation is a valuable thing to have. But we can’t control every little thing people think about us. Some people will get us wrong, either favorably or unfavorably. I’ll have to remember, when I want to defend my reputation, to consider whether it needs defending (we’ve just gone through 1 & 2 Corinthians, where Paul had to defend himself and his ministry) or whether the issue is just a matter of pride and should be let go.

  3. PaulaShort

    I’ve been in a few situations like that in the past where I felt I had to defend my reputation and felt the need to explain, and often times I felt like I over-explained. I’m better now at stopping to consider if I feel like I need to defend myself or not or just let it go. Thanks for this.

  4. Jeanne Takenaka

    Awww, Lisa. This post sooo resonated with me! I’ve been the one who has tried to correct a misconception too. But really, does it matter how strangers see me? Ummmmm, no. Thanks for the reminder that how God sees us is far more important than how others see us.

  5. Linda Stoll

    That’s interesting about our tendency to over-explain ourselves, for good or ill. Fascinating. It’s like we’re looking for validation from others instead of from God Himself.

    Yep, I get that.

  6. Donna

    Lisa, this resonates deeply with me. I feel like I spend way too much time explaining myself, with the intention that others completely understand. But the truth is I am never really comfortable doing it and never feel better when I do.

    I breathed a sigh of relief when you said you didn’t explain this time. It was such a brave step to simply move forward and be yourself.

  7. ~ linda

    I am so grateful that you shared this, Lisa. How often I find need to explain why I am doing what I am doing, being who I am or seem to be, saying things that do not need to be explained and on and on! Thanks for reminding me that God knows all of that and He stands by me when I am walking in His will…sometimes He is standing there even when I am not in His will.

  8. Gayl

    “If I want inner peace with who I am, I just need to do what I think is right, ask for forgiveness when I fail, and keep holding God’s hand through it all.
    I don’t have a story that needs defending. It’s safe to release my stand.
    It matters more who I really am than who others think I am.”

    Lisa, you are so right here! As I look back on my life, I have been like you – thinking I had to explain myself thoroughly if someone misunderstood. It really is something we have to release, but when we do, when we realize that it doesn’t matter, it is so freeing. We answer to God and He knows all about us anyway. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Blessings to you! xo

  9. Sarah

    I can relate to the ‘need’ to explain myself, Lisa. It is about ‘who I am’ and not what others think. Yes, ‘living right instead of being seen right’ is the important thing. It’s what God sees of us that needs to be my focus.
    Thank you for this reminder!

  10. Lisa Blair

    This is wise counsel, Lisa, “Focus more on living right instead of being seen right.” And in honesty, this is living for an Audience of One, “It matters more who I really am than who others think I am.”

  11. Jan

    Easier said than done…but I think practice may be the key, practice in reminding ourselves that no, indeed we don’t need to fill in the blanks. We just need to be gracious n remember Whose we are…

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