Everyone has at least one of these people in their life (maybe more…all the more pity, my friend); you know who I’m referring to. That one person who feels the need to correct or critique your life, as if your words and actions were an open invitation for their opinion.
Didn’t say something just right? Have no fear: they’ll let you know. Didn’t like the opinion you made? Don’t worry, they’ll argue their stance too. Mess up on the parent front? They’ll give you a few dozen links on motherhood to help you along.
Recently, a fellow-mom was sharing with me how she’d left her youngest buckled into the cart beside her while she unloaded her groceries into the back of her vehicle. An older lady approached the child and started asking why he didn’t have shoes on (it was extremely warm and the child doesn’t walk yet), obviously scrutinizing the “need” for shoes. Truly, your opinion on whether or not decorative footwear is warranted isn’t a need here.
You say black, they say white. They–so they think– are God’s personal messengers correcting all the sloppy handwriting: get those t’s crossed and i’s dotted just right or don’t do it at all! We avoid them when we can, but sometimes they reach out when we aren’t looking. In prideful intellectual snobbery, these self-appointed judges perch atop their platform, pointing fingers at the people around them, making sure everyone “gets it right.”
To say I haven’t done some judging of my own would be hypocritical. I’m far from possessing the gift of mercy; my sense of justice has flung the balance a little too far and it’s an area of my heart I’ve opened up to the Lord for cultivation.
On the flip side of all this messy judging, I have to ask myself: why does this poor, misguided person’s criticisms leave me drained and frustrated? Could it be that I care too much about what other people think? Could it be that when I see someone making false assumptions about me, I want them to know it. I don’t want to be misunderstood. Know who I am and get it right. Don’t misjudge my motivations or my thoughts.
Truly, I don’t mind if people don’t like me (yes, I’d rather they did), but don’t mislabel or misunderstand me. Be sure you know all the details before you pass your judgement. It’s hard to be misconstrued and dismissed. We want to know that who we are, what we do, and what fuels our passions aren’t evaluated and found lacking. We want to know that we are enough.
I never thought I relied too heavily on other people’s opinions, but I’ve come to see that a person’s comments can set me up for anger, insecurity, and even defeat.
So, I guess I am, after all, an Approval Addict.
Scary to say it, but admitting it is the first step, right?
Our foundational securities cannot rest in the imperfect assessments of people.
To stand solid in our identity requires a Source that is unwavering. After all, He is unchanging, He is loving and good and not misguided by selfish motives or faulty assumptions. He created me and knows me better than I know myself.
So, when I’m doubting if who I am is enough, He whispers, “Yes, you are my creation and I declare that you are beautiful and more than acceptable.” He speaks to my insecurities: your passions and driven nature and personality are not too much for me to handle. You are my design.
- When you feel ridiculed and rejected, remember the God of the Universe declares you His own.
- When you feel underappreciated and disdained, remember God is on your side.
- When you feel made to look the fool, remember that God has given you a circle of influence. He is using you to do great things.
- When you feel misunderstood, know that He knows your heart and He loves you as you are.
- When you feel left behind, know that He is taking you on a journey. He isn’t finished with you yet.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. –John 6:37
Jennifer Rothschild captures this tension well: “When you accepted Christ, He accepted you. You may sometimes feel rejected, but how you feel is not who you are! You are acceptable, accepted — no exceptions! If you feel invisible, it may be because, deep down, you never really embraced the truth about yourself — that you are accepted by God, admired by Him and have His full and unconditional love.” – See more
So, let’s make every effort (2 Peter 1:5-8) to strip off the AA label (Approval Addict) and replace it with God’s label, CA (Completely Accepted).