For my entire life, I’ve wanted and longed for approval. I wanted to please my parents. I wanted to please my grandparents. (And I had eleven of them to please!) I wanted to please my teachers. I wanted to please my employer. I wanted to please my husband. I wanted to please my children. I wanted to please my grandchildren. Most of all, I wanted to please God.
At least I thought I did. For quite a while, I convinced myself that all of this was true. Especially the pleasing-God part. In his kindness and mercy, God did not immediately confront me with the truth he saw in my heart: I wanted to please others so that they would be pleased with me. I was searching for the worth that perfect performance would bring.
I mistakenly thought that pleasing others meant “making them happy.” I did not want anyone to feel disappointed or sad. And if someone was not happy I thought it was my job to cheer them up. Being a person with high emotional sensitivity, I quickly noticed the emotional climate around me. When I sensed any sign of anxiety, sadness, or anger, my mind started designing a plan to fix the situation.
I discovered some surprising things:
- Some people feel happy no matter what I do.
- Some people feel unhappy no matter what I do.
- I can only make one person happy. That person is me.
Instead of making others happy, something impossible for me to accomplish, I want to serve others in a way that benefits them and does not damage me.
I realize that it’s not my job to make God happy either.
Whose acceptance do I value? Whose approval do I seek? The world sees only outward beauty; God sees quality beneath. Whose acceptance do I value? Whose approval do I seek? The world rejects the ones who stumble; God restores his fallen sheep. Whose acceptance do I value? Whose approval do I seek? The world discards the old and feeble; God upholds those small and meek. Whose acceptance do I value? Whose approval do I seek? The world's applause is for a moment; God's honor is for eternity.