When you think about how much others have influence on you - your thoughts, decisions, opinions - it begs the question if that is God's intended purpose for our lives. If I'm not careful, I find that I am thoughtlessly following along with the crowd that has chosen to speak the loudest,most convincingly or most urgently, without actually weighing the truth of the situation. It is only when I step back from the noise and emotions of others, that I can begin to hear His voice through it all.
It is so easy to get swept up in the thought of other-mindedness - living and deciding based on those around us, instead of the One who should guide our thoughts and decisions. I would describe other-mindedness as caring more about what others think of me, my children, my family, my decisions, my life - than what God thinks. When we find ourselves in other-mindedness mindset, we need to flee from it.
Time and again, I'm reminded of this lesson and He asks me "Who are you listening to?". When I respond to others' emotions, thoughts, even demands, particularly without His input, I step out of His will. He wants me to consult Him on everything. And last time I looked, everything means... everything. So before I respond to someone's demand, opinion or thoughts, I need to remember to first consult Him.
The demand of other-mindedness can be so loud and overwhelming and sometimes it can be subtle and sweet - both dangerous to our hearts if we aren't careful. For we are not called to agree with men nor are we called to follow the 'majority'. We aren't called to live by consensus. We are called, as believers in Christ, to live out our own call on our lives. While there are universal principles that all believers must follow, each life, each family, each ministry will look a bit differently because of the manner in which God is leading that person or persons.
If I'm not careful, other-mindedness (caring more about what others think of me, my children, my life, than God) can be a tyrant, ruling my thoughts and then trickling to my decisions in order to not stand out, not 'rock the boat', not hurt someone's feelings. Yet, when God leads, usually all of the above happens. Not out of purposely being rude or mean. Obedience to God calls us to forsake our family, our friends and our very life, if necessary.
The voice of others cannot be more important than the voice of God if you want to live a life of obedience. With each step in following Christ, the sound of others grows quiet and distant, as His voice grows stronger and louder. May I train my ears to only hear His voice amongst the crowd of others so quick to weigh in on me and my life.