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Posts Tagged ‘acceptance’

“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”                                   —Mother Theresa

The woman behind the register noticed my quick glance at her company shirt.  Smiling broadly, she indicated the colorful badges and stickers decorating the gray polyester around her plastic-enclosed name tag.  “I earned each one of these,” Mary announced proudly.  “No one else in the store has earned as many!  I might have to work over the holidays, but I know I’ll have more than anybody.  Here…fill out the survey at the bottom of the receipt and I can get another one.”

Nodding, I wished Mary a pleasant evening, clutched the brown plastic bag in my hands, and passed through the automatic doors–wondering at the woman’s obvious need for validation.

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If she had only known of the One who provides Holy validation.  And, oh, if only we as Christians lived free, wide-open lives just as if we understood God’s acceptance of His beloved ones.

But instead–even from a young age–we fall into the trap of seeking validation from parents, teachers, coaches.  The opposite sex, co-workers, and church members.  Words of praise…trophies, medals, and blue ribbons…longing looks from young men noticing a teenage girl’s plunging shirt…VIP parking places.  Temporary rewards at best, these types of man-designed approval are narrowly accepting and limited to the few who deserve them–society’s choice of winners, achievers, and beauties.

But, in God’s kingdom, there exists an eternal approval offered to all.  Unlike human acceptance which increases or dwindles with a change of circumstance or emotion–this is a full and complete validation that has nothing to do with how much we have or have not achieved,  how much money we do or do not earn, or whether or not we have been “good enough”.  Even more incredible?  Our approval from Him rests not us, but on “the finished work of Jesus Christ” (John17:4).  God’s limitless, eternal approval for you and me died on the cross and rose again with the resurrection of the Lamb.

If the woman at Walgreen’s had understood…if we understand…then the approval of others no longer matters.

Scripture for Reflection

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (1 Thes. 2:4)

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.  (Col. 3:23)

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eaglefly

The moment I heard the words filter through the radio of our crumb-sprinkled family car, my heart responded with a question?  Am I that woman?  The message resounded and I’ve been considering it for more than a week–long enough for me to admit that this is one of my day-by-day, moment-by-moment struggles.  It may be yours, too.

What is this self-imposed, self-focused, self-degrading habit we battle each day?  Perfectionism.

It afflicts co-workers, Bible study leaders, young mothers, old mothers, neighbors, and friends.  Always striving…she is the woman never quite satisfied with self.  And deep in her empty places she has somehow mistaken the desire for acceptance…approval…love for a twisted version of if-then. 

If I can just lose five more pounds then he’ll respect me.

If I earn this degree then I’ll finally believe I’m smart.

If I keep my house clean enough then I’ll know I’m a good housewife.

If  my children are at the top of their class then I can trust myself as a mother.

If I join one more church committee then God will know I’m a committed Christian.

 

But all of the if’s just end up as not enough.  There is always another goal…something else to prove…a feeling of not quite meeting the mark.

Why?  Because we’ve forgotten the mercy of His love, acceptance, and approval.   With Christ, there is an abundance of all our heart seeks.   The one who is Perfection has released us from the need to prove our goodness or worth.

We can stop striving, dear Friend.  Just belonging to Perfection is enough.

 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  (Col. 3:23-24)

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