I’ve mentioned before how people-pleasing tendencies have burrowed like weeds in my life. Though most of the time, I keep them tamed, that desire for approval still pops its head into the surface of my heart more often than I’d like to admit.
The rejection I dealt with in elementary school became a huge motivator for gaining peoples’ approval. Through my teen years—and into my twenties—I sought to become whatever I needed to in order to be accepted, to be approved of.
The hard thing is when a person chases hard after approval, we never really know if we’ve achieved it. If someone offered me a compliment, I always—always–questioned in my thoughts if they were sincere. Terrible, isn’t it?
Looking back now, I can see that, in my attempts to be whatever I needed to in order to gain approval, I lost who I was created to be. In trying to become acceptable to others, I smothered what God had planted that made me uniquely me.
In trying to say the right thing (at least what I thought they wanted to hear), and do the right thing (in someone else’s eyes), I bartered parts of myself. Then, when I didn’t receive the hoped-for outcome, I shattered internally. The rejection shards stung and sliced up my identity.
The sad thing is, I kept at this way of interacting with others for years. Always trying to gain the approval of someone.
Gaining the approval of others twisted my identity. By the time I reached my early thirties, I didn’t really know who I was, or who God created me to be. My identity was a jumbled mix of all that conforming to man’s ways, man’s expectations.
My heart was tender with wounds, and it always dreaded the possibility of rejection. I anticipated that I would be rejected sooner or later. Because, someone, at some point would see that I was a farce.
Some people I wanted to be accepted by have never truly approved of me. I’m not sure if they have changed over the years . . . but I have.
God has helped me to see that the only person whose approval I really need to worry about is His. And the beautiful thing is? I’ve already got it. He approves of me. He accepts me. He loves me . . . even when I make mistakes. Even when I go back to wrong thought/behavior patterns.
God wants each of us to see ourselves as He does: beloved. (Click to Tweet) We are passionately loved by Him. He has created each of us to be unique in our ways of perceiving the world, in our quirks, in our thoughts, and in how we respond to life.
We weren’t designed to fit a cookie-cutter mold. We were designed to fulfill a purpose God created us to fill. No one else can do the work He designed for us. Nor can we do the works He created another to fulfill.
We are, each of us, treasured by God. We don’t need the approval of people. Each of us will come to a time when we must choose whether we are going to seek to please God, or strive to please a person. Which will you choose?
What about you? How have you come to the place of being comfortable with who God created you to be? What one truth do you cling to that helps you live as God created YOU to live?