Approval is one of my idols.
Approval invites me to slumber parties with Comparison, Rejection, and Loneliness--- we stay up for hours eating lots of feel-bad-about-it-later junk food, obsessing over what everyone else thinks about us. We tear apart the character and accomplishments of others to make ourselves feel better about our own character and gifts. I'll wake up the next morning tired, empty, and feeling gross.
If I let it, approval would keep me searching for the rest of my life. From one person to the next. From one job to the next. From one creative outlet to the next. And no matter how many times someone tells me I did great or was the best, I'd always see someone else get more approval than I did. I'd wonder for days, months, and years how I can get the same level of approval they did. Trusted friends will assure me I have their ultimate approval and acceptance, but I'd always hear a small voice- "They were lying to you. Don't believe them. Keep trying harder."
Approval follows me everywhere. It gives me a Simon Cowell rating after every difficult-to-have conversation, every meeting I lead with my staff, and every blog I write. It will tell me that others' opinions matter more than anything else.
What saddens me most is, I'll worship approval and hear it berate me for how stupid I sounded or acted. I'll let it make me feel terrible and unwanted by others. I'll let it drive me away from those who can remind me approval doesn't matter the way I let it matter. I'll let it confirm I shouldn't lean on my friends and family for encouragement. It will even tell me I shouldn't tell them I struggle with worshipping approval because then they will see flaw in me, and not approve of me.
Confession will set me free. It will allow others to see my flaws, encourage me, and pray for me. It makes room so my home team can consistently ask me who and what I am worshipping. Confession does not mean I am a burden to others. It is an opopruity for change. It leads to a greater depedence on the God who cares so deeply for me to know Him in a life of truth and freedom. It humbles me. Confession is the kind of fight I'm grateful I fought for in the end. Confession allows others to speak Truth in my life in the midst of all the lies I am tempted to believe every day. Lies that SCREAM: Stacie, you need approval to get by in this life.
Thinking that I need approval from everyone else is a lie I wreck myself over.
Lies suck life and truth from my life. Living in deceit keeps me in the dark, in secret, away from the thriving woman God created me to be. Lies keep me from loving others authentically and well. Why? Because secrets will always keep others from fully knowing me. Downton Abbey woudln't be a show without all the secrets and lies every character keeps. I figured that out last Sunday as I was watching Episode 3. That show creates characters that harbor deep dark secrets.
Approval from God alone is what I need and want to crave. Lies, be gone. Light, shine on that which I worship that pulls me down and decays my bones.