Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval.
Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed
and who correctly explains the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15 NLT)

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:

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.

6 Responses

  1. I needed to remember this today, Jane. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. The poem speaks to my heart of the things of eternity and what really matters most.
    By the way, I really love the new photo of you. You look relaxed and content!

    1. Thank you, Sandy! I’m grateful that the Lord used my words to encourage you. That photo was taken when visiting my daughter and family. I was feeling relaxed and contented.

  2. Dearest Jane. I’ve been doing it all wrong. Your blog gave me information I needed. God is so good. More is revealed to me everyday. I go through the day saying, “Thy Will, not mine, be done” to remind myself He is God and I am not. Thank you Jane

    1. Dear Doreen, I so appreciate your example of honesty, humility, and faith. I’m glad God used my words to encourage you! And I’m encouraged by your comment to continue writing.

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