Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10 (NLT)
If you’re anything like me, you can relate to William Shakespeare’s words, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
I admit, too many times I feel as if I’m stepping onto a stage when I’m around people. I want the approval of the audience! And way too often I find my ego hanging on my sleeve, vulnerable to their judgment, especially when it comes to how I look and dress.
I don’t always feel great about myself. I want to be taller. Even a few more inches would help me feel more acceptable. And while we’re on the subject, I’d also like thicker hair.
When I look at photographs of movie stars or models, I have to admit there is a part of me that compares how they look with the reflection I see in the mirror every morning. I always lose the contest.
I know I’m not alone in this impossible quest to win the approval of people. It’s a challenge that starts early on the school playground and then gets even worse in teen social circles. Oh, how wonderful it would be if we would grow out of this malady when we emerge from puberty.
The truth is that many of us have carried this desire for approval into our adult life. The aspiration may morph into becoming an all-out people pleaser. And while the pressure might seem less, gaining the approval of others is still a heavy burden and an unattainable goal.
The problem is especially irrational when we try to gain approval of people we don’t even know or may not even respect!
Meanwhile, God calls us to a different stage.
Before we take the first step into His presence, we can be assured that He loves us.
He approves of us.
And He is delighted with the masterpiece He created when He first formed us in His own image.
The truth is, we each have an Agent who gets us ready for the stage.
He represents us to the Audience, and He wipes away every blemish before we ever appear. He leads us onto the platform and holds our hand the whole time we’re there. Jesus made the way for us to walk boldly onto the stage (Hebrews 4:16) as we present ourselves to God.
When we’re with Him, we may receive a critique from our Audience of One. Yet His words are gentle, caring, true and all for our good. None of His instructions have to do with longer legs or thicker hair.
Instead, His directives are about following in His footsteps.
To be gentle where there is strife. To forgive where there is bitterness. To love rather than judge. This is the stage I want to be on.
The really good news is that when I do well on this stage, the Director sends me as His representative out into the world to show His way of acting to those who have never known His love. I want to always be ready for this performance.
Father, thank You that I can step into Your presence where I am surrounded with Your love, grace, mercy and care. Help me to see those occasions when I try to gain the approval of people so that I turn instead to You for my value and my worth. In Jesus’ name, amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (NKJV)
If you struggle with weight and body image issues, you’ll appreciate Susan Gregory’s newest book, The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss: A Biblical Approach to Losing Weight and Keeping It Off.
Susan’s approach succeeds where other programs fail because it focuses on your relationship with God as well as your relationship with food. To learn more, visit Susan’s web site at Daniel-Fast.com.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Susan says, ” God creates only what is good. When pride contaminates His creation, all is spoiled, and beauty becomes ugliness. But when we think of ourselves as human beings created in the image of God and intentionally made, we can indeed see beauty in ourselves. That’s not because of our definition of beauty, but because of His.”
Think about your attitudes about your appearance, your body image, and your health. Do you prefer the applause of people or the approval of your loving God?
Susan Gregory (“The Daniel Fast Blogger”) regularly corresponds with thousands of men and women who are seeking God through the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting. Since its launch in December 2007, her website has received nearly 14 million visits, and Susan has corresponded with tens of thousands of people throughout the world. She has a passion to help followers of Jesus Christ from all cultures integrate their faith into every part of their lives. Her work has taken her to more than thirty-five countries. She is also the author of Out of the Rat Race and The Daniel Cure (with Richard J. Bloomer, PhD). A mother and grandmother, Susan lives in a small college town in central Washington. Visit her at www.daniel-fast.com.