Hello everyone! The Lord has been teaching me many things over the last week about rejection, shame and the need for approval from others. My last blog for last week focused on rejection and shame – strange bedfellows indeed. You can’t have one without the other. Today I want to talk about how seeking the approval of others ties into this theme.
How many of us have struggled with needing the approval of others? If you are or have been a people-pleaser, you have struggled with the approval of others. I was a people-pleaser most of my life and I know I have! In fact, people-pleasing as I mentioned last week, is a form of false humility. We use this false humility to avoid rejection and thereby avoid shame. The Lord showed me something else people-pleasing behavior and thought patterns are used to do – win the approval of others – regardless of whether we care for them or they care for us. We just want their approval and people pleasing will allow us to stop at nothing to get it. Do you see how dangerous that could be? What if wanting the approval of others caused you to make a choice to commit a crime? What if wanting the approval of someone caused you to stay in an abusive relationship or harm your kids? We’ve all seen the stories about people who harmed their children to stay in a relationship. What do you think was at play there? I can tell you a need for approval and to please someone who did not deserve their time or attention was at the root of these stories.
What if wanting the approval of someone causes you to self - harm because you didn’t get their approval? What if their lack of approval causes you to want to drink or take drugs to deal with the pain? What if their lack of approval causes you to take chances with your sexuality or do things that harm you so you feel loved?
Do you see the problem with the need for approval from others? This need can take you places you never thought you’d go and cause you to do things you never thought you would do. The need for approval never allows us to be ourselves – we always have to be someone else for all of these different people. How exhausting! Does this make sense?
How do shame, rejection and people-pleasing tie into this you ask? When we seek the approval of others through people-pleasing and we don’t get their approval, we are once again rejected and ashamed because they do not “approve” of us or what we’re doing. The shame and rejection drives more people-pleasing which further drives our appetite for approval and most of all love. Our deepest need for love and acceptance are never met in this way – we are simply caught in a vicious cycle of people pleasing to seek approval – to avoid rejection and shame. And what an awful cycle it is! I have been there and didn’t even know it! If you don’t think childhood experiences can affect you, think again! In fact, negative or misunderstood childhood experiences can begin this viscous cycle and the lies that fuel it. Do not be deceived.
How do we meet our deepest needs for love and acceptance without the need for approval? You meet that need in the person of Jesus Christ. Yes I said person because he can be personally known. He is not an enigma nor is he some distant god who does not care about you. He is a real person who can talk to you and loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died on the cross for you so you would not have to seek the approval of others because he already approves of you! He died on the cross and took your shame and rejection once and for all – no matter what you have done or not done! You are approved of and loved by the Son of God and the Creator of the Universe! It doesn’t get better than that! You can’t be approved by anyone higher or by anyone who loves you more! It doesn’t matter if your family doesn’t approve of you. It doesn’t matter if you partner doesn’t approve of you. It doesn’t matter if your friends don’t approve of you. Jesus does and He is the only One that matters! He is the only one out of all those people I mentioned who died for you because he wanted you to be free of the need to people-please and seek the approval of others. He died to free you from the law, shame, and rejection. He died for you because He loves you more than anyone else ever could! Call on Him today! He hears you and He is waiting for you! You will never be the same! Shake off those old rags – you don’t have to wear them anymore! What He has done for me He will do for you without hesitation!
Isaiah 53:3-6 NIV: He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Go and be at peace with yourself – because Jesus came so He and Father God could be at peace with you. He did this for you and for me! We no longer have to walk in shame, rejection, or the need of other’s approval because he took it all and He approves of us already! We are His own! Call on Him and be free! No pre-approval needed!
Walking in His freedom and approval, Elizabeth