Hi, my name is Valerie, and I crave your approval. I care deeply about my reputation. I’ll change my personality, my decisions, and pretty much anything else it takes to make you like me. Because I’m a master people-pleaser.
Friends, that’s a reflection of a sinful, deceptive, insecure heart.
I have dwelled on a single comment someone made to me weeks prior, fully dissecting and overanalyzing its meaning while, in reality, it probably meant no harm. I have obsessed over what someone may have been thinking of me while they probably weren’t even thinking of me at all.
Man’s approval. At some point, haven’t we all entertained this idol?
In a culture consumed by social media, image, success, and self-promotion, it’s hard to get away from such toxic thoughts and desires. We want to be the one with funny Facebook statuses and perfectly curated Instagram photos. We want to be the person that people love to be around. We want the highest achievements and success. We want to be accepted, liked, and appreciated.
Who doesn’t? It’s human nature.
Due to our brokenness, however, there’s a good chance someone will reject us or judge us at some point in our lives. Not everyone will understand our hearts or decisions. Not everyone will like us.
God has shown me that’s perfectly okay.
After all, life isn’t about me or them; it’s about Him. The opinions of others are meaningless because the fact is, I have an audience of One.
When Jesus came to the world, the majority of people didn’t approve of Him — they even hated Him. Yet, He stood firm because He knew His true audience. He knew His worth. He knew He was the Son of God.
Jesus knew He didn’t need the world’s approval because He already had God’s.
We are fully loved and fully known by the Lord. It’s by His grace that we don’t have to prove our worth — we were born with it. How comforting is it to know we can bring our flaws, failures, and true hearts to God without fear of rejection?
In 1 Thessalonians 2:4 Paul says, “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” Paul knew men would not always be pleased with his message, but He didn’t alter the truth to gain their approval. In the same way, we shouldn’t alter the true person God made us to be.
We’re called to do what is pleasing to God, not what is pleasing to men.
When we fix our gaze on Him, on the truth, He strips away our pride, our insecurities, our anxieties, and our need to impress others. When we know our true worth, we are unshaken by the inevitable rejection and judgment in this world. When we know our true audience, we are set free from society’s expectations.
The real question we should be asking is, “what does God think of me?”
To man, you are insignificant until you prove your worth; you will forever be required to earn respect. To God, you are more than valuable, unconditionally loved, forgiven, beautiful, and holy; you were born that way.
You can rest in God’s eternal acceptance and perfect love, or you can scramble for the world’s approval. It’s your choice.
Whose approval will you seek?