How To Stop Seeking Approval From Others

biblical body image christian living for teens friendship identity Mar 11, 2024
How To Stop Seeking Approval From Others

Dear Approval Idol:

I’ve had enough. We’re finished! This time it’s really over.

It’s been a tough split. You tempt me to come back to you, reminding me that without her approval or his approval, I’ll be alone. I’ll never succeed. You lure me with thoughts that I’ll never be satisfied without you.

But, we both know: Approval, you’re a liar.

Lucy confirmed it.

Meet Lucy

Oh, you don’t know Lucy? That’s because she’s a dog. Not just any dog, a well-trained Labradoodle. She’s as cute as she sounds. She’s also a talented dog, so when she sees the bag of treats come out, do you know what she does?

Every trick she knows.

Lucy will roll over, shake, sit . . .sometimes trying to do all three at once, because she wants that treat. She’s so desperate for her doggy cookie, she’ll keep cycling through them until the treat’s delivered.

I watched Lucy and recognized in a flash: I’m just like her.

Approval, you’ve kept me that way.

Oh, you want me to be prettier? Sure, I can do that.

Thinner? Yep, I’ve got unhealthy diets and tricks to try to make that happen too.

Would you love me more if I were smarter, kinder, quieter, less passionate, or less-opinionated? 

Can-do! I’ll perform. Anything for that treat–the treat of your approval. Anything.

But God never intended for me to act like Lucy the Labradoodle.

His grace says that I don’t have to perform or do anything to earn his love and acceptance. I only need accept his sacrifice for my sins, confess, repent, and believe that I’m saved.

I did that many years ago, so why do I still struggle not to believe that others’ approval is necessary as well?

Probably because I’m human. (Maybe Lucy has it easier on this one.)

My heart is prone to wander, tempted to believe that smiles, cheers, and Facebook likes are equally as important as God’s acceptance of me. It’s not true.

Approval, you’re a trap.

I can’t live for both you and for my Savior. So, approval, you’re out.

I’m done with anxiety over what others think.

I’m finished with processing (and re-processing 100x) why someone doesn’t like me and how to change that. Some people just won’t get me or understand what God has called me to do. That’s okay.

I acknowledge that 1 Corinthians 13 tells me that love believes the best about people. “Friends” who turn their backs on me because of gossip never loved me anyway. Without their approval, I release them in love, forgive them, and move on.

I also acknowledge that real love, your perfect love, casts out fear. The more I envelop myself in the rest that comes from your love, the more my fear of what others think subsides.

Approval, I don’t want to play your games anymore.

I won’t be held hostage to your lies or deceived by your empty promises. I’m not jumping your hurdles.

Instead, I’ll do as Micah 6:8 instructs,

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?”

My approval comes from Christ alone.

Could you use more support? Check out my new book: The 40-Day Body Image Freedom Framework here.

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