Don’t answer that lest you feed the beast.
At some point in my life I became consumed with what others thought of me. It had to be a gradual process. By the time I was married I needed to please, keep happy and generally gain approval from anyone who happened to be in arms length of me. In hindsight I know that was the problem; at the time, I believed I was just sensitive to others needs and wanted to love them wholly. Boy, I had it wrong. I wish I could go back in time and slap that Kelly. She was the textbook case for John 12:43 she, “Loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”
Even then I had a sense there was something wrong with the way I related to people. I could never put my finger on why others seemed so safe and secure in their relationships and I felt like mine were always teetering on the edge of a cliff. It was in Lou Priolo’s eye opening read “Pleasing People, How Not to be an ‘approval junkie’,” that I came face to face with my true self. Many times in the reading of this book I sent it sailing across the room. I find it very hard to look at the me without Christ. It’s not a pretty sight.
My heart beats ultra fast as I share this dark corner of my heart. My need for your approval even now is pumping dysfunctionally through my veins. My hands are shaking as I pull back the curtain to one of my dark little secrets.
Let me share the approval spiral I’ve found myself in. Once I leave your prescience and for days after I replay every bit of our conversation wondering, fretting, worrying if that comment offended you, or those words made me look bad. If we disagreed will you want to continue our friendship. My focus is totally on what you think and in some instances I decide for you. Aren’t you lucky? I have studied manners, body language, aversions and interests of all those around me. I did this to become an expert at reading others trying to save myself the need for those post conversation mental breakdowns. It never worked. The more I looked to please you the hungrier I became for approval.
My conversation would be sprinkled with comments designed to draw flattering words from you. I had to get these words to cover my flaws and guarantee you’d see me in the best possible light.
These are just a few of the many tentacles of the approval octopus that enrobes my heart. Each day I do an internal battle to get a tentacle under control and while I’m not looking two others have pinned me down. I must go to the Bible and claim this truth in 2 Cor 5:9 “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”
I need only be concerned with what God thinks of me. When I take a moment and quiet the internal struggle I am amazed all the good and loving things He has to say. I am unworthy of that kind of love and I feel like I should be doing something to gain His approval but that small voice answers immediately that I am His daughter and He’s very pleased with me.