Approval is an idol for me. I need it. I worry when I don’t feel like I have it. I crave it. I desire it.
I know I don’t really need it, but I want it nonetheless. And it eats at me. Destroys my confidence. Weakens my resolve.
I’ve noticed lately that I worry way too much about what others think of me or my choices. If I know I am doing what’s right, that is what matters. But it’s still hard not to crave the acceptance of others. I want people to think I have a cute outfit on today. I want to make people laugh with a witty joke. I want people to be impressed by my hard work or my accomplishments. I want to be approved, to have that stamp that says “she’s cool.”
But Scripture says that is exactly the wrong idea; in fact, it gets in the way of our faith and our closeness to God:
No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from God alone. -John 5:44
When I spend so much time trying to gain the acceptance of other people, as a woman, a mother, a teacher, a friend, and so many other roles, I lose the time I could be working on a closer relationship with Christ. When I worry how the world sees me, I lose sight of how He sees me. When I crave the approval of friends, family members, students, and even people I do not know, I lose the ability to ensure my life meets His approval. I know I can’t do anything to gain or lose His love, but I can do what I know He wants me to do.
Approval is a nasty thing. It sneaks into our subconscious and poisons our thinking. When I crave the approval of those around me over the approval of God, my heart and my intentions are in the wrong place. How can I truly call myself a follower when I don’t do what I know He asks me to?
So my summer bucket list now includes seeking the right kind of approval. This will not only encourage my heart and bless my life, but it will allow that poisonous thinking to leave me and give my mind rest.