As I sat down to write this blog, several culturally important topics came to mind such as the fleetingness of time and making the most of it in a world. As I started to write about the importance of making the most of the present, I felt fake, disengaged, and irritated. It took me several minutes of walking away from the computer to discover the core of my writer’s block. My mind was at war within itself striving to win the battle of approval versus authenticity. I wanted to write something that would inspire others and give me positive approval from others. I was stung by this truth knowing it was the opposite intent of why I helped my husband start Veritas Life Adventures in it’s infancy, and why I signed on as the Women’s Director for a short season. Being true to oneself and seeking the approval of the Lord should be at the center of my heart, but it definitely was not in this moment, and let’s be honest, it sometimes focuses more on winning man’s applause over my Father’s.
We were designed to want approval, it’s not innately bad, it’s when we place that approval in the wrong hands the focus of our hearts goes awry and is transformed and redirected onto ourselves. When I dance along this dangerous edge of trying to please others over God, I lose balance with what the Lord has called me to do, and fall into a venomous pit of lies that tells me my value as a person is found within the opinions of mankind.
My value is found in my identity in Christ. In Galatians, Paul boldly proclaims disdain for finding approval from man:
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10
Growing up in church, I felt that God was more concerned about my actions (ie approval from the “spiritual leaders”) then my heart. Of course, I never said this aloud but my actions and thoughts pointed in this direction. Fast forward to the commencement speech at my high school graduation, the speakers final words were “Let the applause of heaven be enough.” This quote has stuck with me over the years, and I’ve often pondered the depths of what this means. I know the Lord delights in His children. To me this means pursuing the Lord wholeheartedly in every season finding my approval in Him to be enough and running the race on the path He has set out for me instead of pausing to see if others accept me or are cheering me on. In the end when I leave this world, I will stand in judgment not with the multitudes but with the One who directs my paths and has ordained my days.
Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Ephesians 6:7