Most of my writer peeps are 10-15 years my junior so when Lorraine Reep and I met, we connected immediately. Kindred spirits we both say. Today’s post, Surrendering My Need for Approval hits us where it’s uncomfortable … Hey we all want to be liked. Lorraine however tackles this subject with grace, honestly and humility.
We sat on opposite sides of a black metal table. It was warm but comfortable in the breezeway between two restaurants; we were enveloped in the clamor of passing conversations and street sounds, but it was just white noise.
I was focused on the her. We’d waited weeks for this opportunity to chat face to face and I was fully present. I asked a direct question, the sort that you have to earn the right to ask. In the moments that followed, a sort of holiness fell over that place. She opened her heart and honest, hard things spilled out on a table turned altar. I was on sacred ground.
In due time she asked about my writing; I chose to reveal a little chagrin over the failure of certain important people in my life to be fully supportive. I lamented that they didn’t share my posts; heck, I admitted that I was pretty sure they weren’t even reading them.
“Why do you need their approval?”
I had been looking at my hands…a little self-conscious but I lifted my eyes to meet hers. Her expression was compelling. She was waiting.
It was as if multiple answers were running through my mind, tripping over one another such that I couldn’t actually make sense of a single one. I looked at her, mouth open, ready to speak and there were no words. I closed my mouth and nodded my head in agreement.
This dear one was posing a question I’d faced before. Why do I crave approval from people for the things that I know are part of the way that God created me?
I’ve spent the better part of my life clawing my way out of this hole, only to slip back in again and again. Someone would pronounce the magical words of affirmation over a job well done, or an accolade would come at just the right time and I filled with confidence.
But sooner or later the inevitable rejection, failure or criticism would come along and with it I slipped back to that desolate place of desperately craving some sort of approval. Honestly, most of my hot mess moments were fueled by it.
I long for approval, especially from the people I serve.
After the conversation with my young friend, I got still with God and it was his turn to ask a question of me.
“Why would you seek or need affirmation from people when your only hope of enduring approval is through the completed work of the Jesus Christ?”
Lisa-Jo Baker said it so well in her new book, Never Unfriended:
“It is such a relief…to let myself fall deeply, fully, wholly into the great, insanely unlimited bottomless tank of God’s approval.”
I don’t enjoy the spotlight, but oh, my heart is full when someone quietly and sincerely tells me I did well. It’s no longer embarrassing when it’s not about recognition, but rather about affirmation.
Do you know that the Bible says God sings over us? He is crazy about you, friend.
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Let it seep deep into your soul. This God who counts the hairs on your head and the tears on your pillow (but not the pounds on your scale or the money in your bank account) loves you and requires nothing more of you than to rest in his grace.
When I approach him with my hands open, he never snatches the thing I offer, but he gently replaces the counterfeit with his genuine truth. I’ve lay my longing for approval at his feet, trusting that in Him I am fully known and unconditionally accepted.
Last week’s winner is ….Elaine Tomasello! Congratulations Elaine! She won the bracelet and the book Me Myself and Lies.
Lorraine lives in the growing yet quaint town of Winter Garden, Florida. She and her husband are celebrating forty-five years of marriage this summer. She’s mom to two daughters and nine children call her Grandma. When she’s not working at her technical job in the banking software industry she loves spending time with friends and writing grace stories. Lorraine would love to connect with you on her blog and her Grace and Graffiti community on Facebook Social Media:Twitter: @lreep Instagram: reelo01
Looking forward, pressing on and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.