The slide happens to us all if we’re not careful. We begin to believe that our identity is wrapped up in what other people think of us. We begin living to please people and chase whatever expectations we think they have. It’s a slippery slope, and you must avoid it at all costs. If you don’t, you’ll waste precious time – life itself – trying to please people whose opinions, eternally speaking, really don’t matter. Since none of us gets a second chance at life, avoiding the people-pleasing trap is incredibly important. How can we avoid the slippery slope of beginning to live life around the expectations of others? Here are a few fast thoughts that I think will help you. They help me, and I need to remind myself of them continually:
- Our hunger for human approval is a reflection of how closely and consistently we are walking with God. I have found that the closer I walk with God, and the more consistently I do so, the less I am swayed by the opinions of people. Walk closely with God by reading and reflecting on His Word, the Bible, and pray all the time. But don’t do all the talking. Let God talk, through His Word, and then put His Word into action. The more you do this, the less tempted you will be to seek out or be influenced by the opinions of people.
- Fame and popularity don’t make us more important or valuable to God. Every single one of us is the same – regardless of how well-known or unknown we are. Don’t make the mistake of basing your value on your notoriety. You are already known – well known – by God. He knows our shortfalls and He knows our strengths. But at the foot of the cross, all of us are equal. When we seek the approval of people, it’s a sign that we have lost our appreciation of already being accepted by our heavenly Father, through what Jesus did on the cross. This, of course, is true if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. If not, it’s time to do that, have all your sins removed once and for all, and get on with the real purpose of life, which is my next point.
- The real purpose of life is to love and enjoy God, not love and enjoy the approval of people. When I remind myself of this I breathe a sigh of relief. I realize I don’t need to run a rat-race that I can never win – the approval of people. Since I am approved by God, through Christ’s finished work on the cross, I can relax. I can breathe easily. God approves of me. Why would I need the approval – or seek the approval – of anyone else? The same is true for you.
Are you tired of seeking the approval of people? Maybe it’s time to rest in God’s approval. Believe me, the alternative is nowhere near as freeing.
I’d love to hear what you think about this . . .