True confession #879: I long for the approval of people. I mean long for it. There was a season in my life when I felt the anxiety over people’s approval so acutely that I called my mom one night and told her, “Every night I go to bed and the last thing I think before falling asleep is that I hope I don’t wake up in the morning.” As usual, my mom surprised me. Rather than panicking (which I thought would’ve been entirely appropriate), she challenged me. “I don’t believe you don’t want to live another day, Jeanne. You just don’t want to live another day in this bondage.” And just like that, I felt the first rays of hope. Because I realized it was true. I did want to live; I just didn’t want to live like this.
Living in the idolatry of man’s approval is like living on a weathervane. You swing here and there, back and forth, your emotions as unpredictable as the wind. Then one day you realize that in all this time you’ve gotten nowhere. You’ve just been spinning in circles. Everybody loves me! Everybody hates me. I’m brilliant! I’m foolish. I’m wanted! I’m rejected. It’s always the same song, sung over and over in a thousand different scenarios. And the star of the song is always the same. Me.
I used to view the idol of approval as “people-worship.” I was worshipping other people’s thoughts and opinions. But the truth is, I’m not just concerned with their thoughts and opinions…I’m concerned with their thoughts and opinions about me. Which means the idol of approval isn’t really about people-worship but self-worship. The person I’m bowing down to is me. The person who consumes my thoughts is me. The person holding me captive is me.
So maybe it’s time I started singing a different song. Here’s one that’s been humming through my mind all morning–
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face!
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Do you believe it? Do you believe that Jesus is so radiant, His grace so glorious that when we fix our eyes on Him, the things of earth–all those circumstances in which we’re so concerned with our own dignity–will grow strangely dim? Do you believe HE can outshine you? Outshine your problems? Your reputation? Your insecurity?
I do. I do because I’ve experienced it. Turning your eyes upon Jesus is like jumping off the weathervane and dancing in the rain. It’s cleansing and liberating and refreshing. Not only does Jesus Christ define my worth (2 Cor 5:17, John 1:12, Ps 139), He calls me to Himself (Gal 1: 10), reminding me that the story is so much bigger than whether or not so-and-so likes me. The story is as BIG as His love, as AGONIZING as a bloody cross, as POWERFUL as an empty tomb and as URGENT as a coming King. Surely that is reason for you and I to take our eyes off our bellybuttons, and together with the Psalmist David, declare, “My eyes are ever toward the Lord” (Ps 25:15).
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12 thoughts on “If Only Everyone Could Just Like Me”
Hi, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog and your Biblical wisdom. Even though I don’t know you personally, your words bless me regularly. Thank you for pointing your readers back to the truth of the Gospel.
Aubrie, thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate it. On a random note–our firstborn is also named Aubrey 🙂
Thank you for your honesty in sharing an issue most of us don’t want to admit. People pleasing can be hidden behind being loving and helpful.
What a great way to express the truth that looking to Jesus is the answer to our people-pleasing sin. “Turning your eyes upon Jesus is like jumping off the weathervane and dancing in the rain.”
I do not even remember how I came upon your blog but I love the way you write and greatly appreciate your honesty, thoughts and Biblical wisdom. I’m a new mom myself and many of your recent posts have been a blessing to me in this new season.
My dear daughter, you bless me with your vulnerable & yet-so-consistent-pursuit of Him who is becoming everything to you.
I admire your mom because she is also full of wisdom
It gave an impact to me when in your story you shared to your mom your negative feeling in your life and she responded to you calmly and directed you in the right way. She gave you a very strong foundation of faith.
The Lord God uses you in His Kingdom. You bless me thru your writings
This is so good. I’m so encouraged every time I read your blog posts! I look forward to what you have to say. Thank you!!
Wow! Thanks for your honesty and encouraging words. Look forward to your posts . Love how you speak from your heart, it’s very refreshing 🙂 “Turning your eyes upon Jesus is like jumping off the weathervane and dancing in the rain “
Jean, You are a blessing to the Christian community. Time flies…the young girl I met many years ago back here in the Philippines has been reaching out to so many others! I thank Him for your wisdom, authenticity and courage to speak truth as you bare your own heart. And, yes, to jump off the weathervane and dance in the rain is something I long to learn and to do:) Regards to your parents.
Thank you for that life altering perspective: people pleasing is more about ME than it is about other people. Man, pride and self-pity can be so sneaky and deceptive!
Just yesterday Donald Miller posted a blog entry on self-pity and like your post, I really appreciate reading reflections that challenge me to look up and away from myself.
I don’t know if it’s appropriate to share a link in this comment, but I have found the following page to be a humongous help and resource in rewiring my brain and heart, in how I think about myself and how I relate to others in relationship. Huge. I can’t say it enough. I hope someone else finds it helpful too! Xoxo
(My belly button’s ugly anyway!)
Incredible. Thank you! I needed this wake up call, big time.