Thursday, July 29th, 2021

R Shopper Columns


I lived in a small town while working in the foothills of Appalachia that reminded me of Mayberry. In an adjoining town lived a most unusual pastor. We became friends and worked together on several projects. We will call this pastor friend "Joe." Joe had always wanted a Cadillac, and one day he was finally able to realize that dream and purchase one.

It was beautiful car. The problem was that Joe hardly ever drove it because his church members and some people in that small town would criticize him. There would be such comments as, "What is a minister doing driving an expensive car like that? We must be paying him too much."

So instead Joe started riding his bicycle around town because he felt embarrassed driving his Cadillac. The pity of this story is that Joe bought something he really wanted, but because he worried about what people thought, he rode his bike instead.

If what keeps us
from claiming
our Cadillacs
is our internal barriers,
then we
need to start changing
what we
believe about ourselves.

How many of us would like to be driving a Cadillac but because of our fear of what people think, we ride a bike instead? We could be doing more, but stop because someone might criticize us.

This allegory applies to our lives. I had another minister friend who had to give a talk to his college English class. He had an excellent presentation prepared, but because he thought the class members would judge him more harshly since they knew he was going to be a minister, he told his teacher that he was not prepared. He could have possibly received an A for his talk, but settled for an F because of the fear of judgement.

Another illustration that comes to mind is about a young man in high school who sat next to a beautiful and sweet young lady. The young man wanted to ask her out, but because he thought she was too pretty to date him he never did. Later, she told him that she wished he had asked her out. He lost out because he thought he wasn't good enough.

We have to ask ourselves, "What keeps us from claiming our own Cadillacs?" If it's criticisms from other people, it would be wise to label their criticisms as "opinions."

Don't make opinions into judgments. Let what we and God believe about us be the ultimate judgment. If what keeps us from claiming our Cadillacs is our internal barriers, then we need to start changing what we believe about ourselves. We are in charge of what we believe about who we are and what we are capable of.

Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700