Words of Affirmation: His Approval is All You Need
“For do I now persuade men or God? Do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
Words of Affirmation
There will always be someone’s validation we long for and there will always be someone that isn’t going to give it no matter how hard we try.
As a child I longed for both of my parents approval and then in my teenage years up through a couple years ago I really only longed for my dad’s approval. I didn’t do everything just for his approval but I really did want him to give me that affirmation. That is one of my love languages…words of affirmation. (The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman). So it is really hard for me not to fall into the trap of losing my self-worth based on the opinions of people that are important to me. I never was one that needed everyone’s approval but I think that was just because from the time I was in grade school I stood out anyway so I hurdled that need at a young age.
The approval of others seems to give us more confidence in our abilities, doesn’t it? And the opposite can completely destroy someone’s view of their abilities. If we are made fun of or we start to feel rejected we begin to lose confidence in our abilities or who we are. Sometimes disapproval can come in the form of no words at all. This doesn’t always mean that the person doesn’t approve of us or doesn’t think we are talented but in our mind it does. Now, I know there are some of you who have the ability to not care what anyone thinks about who you are or what you do and I will just say that you are truly blessed not to carry that worry especially if you were like that through your teenage years. I think those years are when we suffer the most when it comes to approval of others. You may not have needed your peer’s approval on everything but I can bet there was at least one thing deep down you longed to be affirmed for to feel part of the group. My son is in his first year of Junior High and I am thankful that he isn’t completely consumed with the approval of peers. I do think he wants to be popular but he will wear the craziest clothes or break out into some silly dance in public and not care what the other kids think. I was the opposite as clothes meant so much to me during that time but that could have just been because my clothing was always the reason I was so different or it may be just because I am a girl.
Make Me or Break Me
Unfortunately disapproval can make or break a person. Not feeling good enough can change the course of a life sometimes if it is allowed to take control. And relying solely on other’s approval will at times leave us emotionally vulnerable. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have doubted myself in life based on some small comment that was made. It is amazing how much of a stronghold it can have on a Christian, sometimes I think it may affect Christians even more than non-Christians. I used to live my life on an emotional rollercoaster and it was exhausting. I handle it much better than I used to but I admit I still have my moments, just ask my husband. But I don’t think I am much different from a lot of people. We should all long not to be driven by our emotions. When things happen we can’t bounce around like a ping pong ball in a concrete room. This year at a Women of Faith conference I had the opportunity to here speaker Andy Andrews and I must say watching him was like watching a ping pong ball in a concrete room but I believe he did this to demonstrate what he was trying to say. He said, “God gave us a will stronger than any of our emotions.” So, when I start to feel that surge of emotion come, I try to say those words to myself. Because no matter what is happening I can’t control it but I can control how I react to it.
A Failure Before I Even Begin
Many times I have doubted my abilities or that I could achieve a goal just because of lack of affirmation from others. I didn’t have faith that God would provide what I needed to take the leap. When I first began this writing thing it was more out of the need to express emotion or to vent. I shared some of it with my mom and I really didn’t expect to go any further from there. My mom made positive comments and she gave me validation. So, that made feel a little more confident in myself. About a week later I heard speakers Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews and I felt like God was speaking through them saying, “You better get up off the couch and follow this path I have laid before you”. I decided at that point that I would give it a try in the hopes that I could help someone and the words just seemed to flow out of me. I had a hard time letting go of the thought that I would somehow let my glory get in the way of His. It is a hard thing not to want the approval of man isn’t it? It is hard to not want the validation of others even when you know better.
The Wrong Focus
A couple of weeks after that I had written some stuff that I felt like I should share with a couple friends of mine going through issues. They both said I should share this stuff with someone but I was still afraid I would let it be about me. It seems that as soon as I said that out loud the devil took that as a challenge. After that I was longing for validation from anyone that would give it to me regarding writing and other areas of my life. I had trouble processing any type of thinking and I entered several journal entries with the word “Nothing”. I started to really feel directionless and felt like I didn’t know what my next steps should be. I then realized that I had quit reading my roadmap, my Bible. I didn’t feel like I was bringing light to those around me anymore. I was supposed to be like a city on a hill burning brightly but I was more like ghost town down in a valley. In Galatians 1:10 Paul says, “For do I now persuade men or God? Do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ.” My focus was on pleasing men and not God.
His Approval Is All We Need
Most Christians are very talented and God has given each of us different abilities. Just like I had longed for my dad’s approval a lot of us feel we need to have validation from someone that is important to us. Or maybe we need the pastor’s approval or another spiritual mentor to feel validated to do the work of the Lord. Don’t wait to get their approval before you start down the path God has planned for you. While you are waiting in fear of disapproval or rejection you are missing out on God’s blessings. God’s approval is all we need. If he has called you to it, he will prepare you for it and then he will bring you to it. I truly believe that God was molding me for the life I am just now beginning to live. At the time I didn’t enjoy all of the stretching and pulling I was getting but I am glad now that he allowed me to go through those life experiences.
We should long to become Christ-reliant not self-reliant. Like Paul said in Philippians 1:20, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” We have to die to our flesh which is our minds, attitude, decisions and pretty much our view of what is reality. This is where God may have to break you through experiences and circumstances. Remember there is a plan in all of it even if you don’t see it.
Do What You’re Wired to Do
Thankfully God’s approval is not dependant on my performance, the choices that I make or how good of a Christian I am. I can never be able to do anything else to secure God’s approval in my life. God’s approval was given to me through the atonement of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Robert Allen of Living His Life Intl describes God’s approval of what he has called us to do as “acceptance-based performance commands not performance-based acceptance commands”. I work in an environment that is completely reliant on performance before you are accepted and it is nice to know God accepts me first. I don’t have to have a great performance evaluation with Him. I can obey God freely because I am already accepted; I don’t have to earn it. Many of us go through life afraid we will never measure up no matter how much we try to follow God but remember He has already approved you! Isn’t that wonderful! We just have to step out and do what God has wired us to do. Sometimes we are going to be “alone” in what we feel is God’s path and we may not get the approval of those close to us but we still need step forward in faith. This doesn’t mean we don’t need the right people to help us on our path. We do need to learn from their experience and knowledge but the fact remains that we should only need approval from God no matter how high we hold others in our eyes.
Psalm 118:8, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”