Thursday, May 29, 2008

Approval of People

Imposters are preoccupied with acceptance and approval. Because of their suffocating need to please others, they cannot say no with the same confidence with which they say yes. And so they overextend themselves in people, projects, and causes, motivated not by personal commitment but by the fear of not living up to others' expectations.

I am reading through Abba's Child by Manning right now (mainly because my dad recommended it to me). I was struck by this part of the book today. It read similarily to the questions Paul asked himself in his letter to the church at Galatia. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. I have to admit that I struggle with the concept of trying to gain the approval of men. Ever since last year's Leadership Summitt with Ortberg's message on "shadow missions" I have been very aware of my shadow mission. In other words, there is a specific mission for my life, but the fake or shadow mission is the one I more often follow after. My shadow mission is quite simple: Trying to please people. I am a people pleaser. I need approval. I need acceptance. I like Manning's description of the condition being suffocating because that is truly what it feels like. Just recently I had to miss a friend's party he was having for his birthday. I was sick and not feeling well (read: terrible diarrhea) and so I decided to stay home. The entire time I felt guilty and bad about not being at the party. And now when he teases me about not being there I feel awful. Why? Because I want his approval. I also struggle in saying no - I waffle around it. I won't say no but I don't say yes because I know I cannot follow through. So I stick in "no man's land". The problem is that it is not my mission in life to please people. God did not create me and say "please people." No my mission is to be completely focused on pleasing and serving God. As Paul said, I cannot be a servant of Christ if my focus is on pleasing people and gaining their approval. Therefore, I am stuck. Based upon that quote from Evan Almighty, I worry about praying for this because I know God will put me into situations where I will need to choose, I fear failing in those situations. All this to say...I know I struggle with this. Identifying the struggle is easy. Fixing it will be the hard part.