Seeking Approval

The road of our life

Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.  — Galatians 1:10

I have a confession to make.  I am a people pleaser.  I want everyone to like me.  I want everyone to think I’m a nice person.  Misunderstandings make me cringe and controversy makes me want to run and hide.  When I was growing up, my parents got divorced and we quit going to the Catholic church and began attending a wild, fully Pentecostal church that met in a double-wide trailer.  I remember longing to just be a nice, normal Episcopalian like all the other kids at school.  I like to just blend into a crowd and not open myself up in a way that may cause people to say, “Well, that’s weird.”

And now that I have a daughter in high school, I can sometimes find myself worrying if we are doing the right things?  Is she making friends?  Should we try harder to be a part of this group or that group? Do we have to join a service club like everyone else? Will the college admissions office be impressed enough to let her into their school?

We live in a world where approval matters.

Just look at social media.  Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are all geared around wanting to get likes or have people tell us we are winning at life.  We want our homes to be beautiful, our kids to be on the honor roll and our marriages to be awesome.  In short, we want to appear to be #blessed.

The problem is we will always have critics.  One of my favorite Twitter accounts to follow is Amazon movie reviews because it is proof that some people will find a way to criticize anything.  There was a one-star review for How To Train Your Dragon that stated “The aerodynamics in this movie are not very realistic.  Also, that’s not what dragons looks like” and a one-star review for Pretty Woman that complained, “They have a lot of nerve naming this movie Pretty Woman and should be ashamed of themselves. Julia Roberts’ mouth is way too big.  A person’s mouth should not go more than halfway around their head.”  Well.  That seems harsh.

And sometimes our loudest critics are our own family members.  We were never smart enough, athletic enough, and we should have been a doctor.  We can spend our whole lives trying to please our critics and ultimately they will never be satisfied.  There is always something else to criticize.

Which is why I need to remind myself that

the only approval that matters comes from God.

Nobody knows you like God knows you… you can’t know someone’s marriage or their life unless you have lived it.  We can all put on a brave face and act like everything is okay even when we are hurting and broken on the inside.  And since only God knows us inside out, His approval is the one that matters.  And He’s the one who will guide us in finding contentment and peace. The road of our life was never meant to look exactly like the path someone else takes.

What will make us stand out in this world is when we look different.  Our relationships should look different, our kids should be raised to love Christ and put Him first, we need to lay down what we want for what Christ wants.  That’s the key to walking the road of your life with the security that can only come from God because when our security comes from knowing who we are in Christ and what He has done for us, man’s opinion ceases to matter as much.  And we realize we are so loved for exactly who and what we were created to be. We don’t have to be anything more or anything less than that.

I encourage you to find the thing and purpose for which you were created and quit worrying what others will think, because when we are doing what God created us to do, we will find fulfillment that no worldly approval will offer.   We become secure in the choices we make for ourselves in our marriage, with our children, in our career, and in our life knowing that we have the approval of the only One who matters.  The only One we will stand in front of at the end of our lives and hope to hear “You were exactly what I wanted you to be.”

Written for Devotionals Daily by Melanie Shankle, author of On the Bright Side.

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Your Turn

Are you a people-pleaser, too? Are you waiting to hear that someone thinks you’re doing great, that you’re approved of, that you’re ok and you’re loved. You’re already loved! Come share your thoughts on the approval God offers on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Melanie Shankle

Melanie Shankle writes regularly at The Big Mama blog and is the New York Times bestselling author of three previous books, including Nobody’s Cuter than You. Melanie is a graduate of Texas A&M and loves writing, shopping at Target, checking to see what’s on sale at Anthropologie, and trying to find the lighter side in every situation. Most of all, she loves being the mother of Caroline, the wife of Perry, and the official herder of two wild dogs named Piper and Mabel. The five of them live in San Antonio, Texas.

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