Can I share with you the crashing-to-the-ground of one of my biggest struggles? I’m not by nature a people pleaser. I don’t, by nature, really give much thought or credence to what people generally think about me. (You may think that’s my struggle. It’s not.) I have a very small handful of people in my life whose approval means a lot to me. Probably too much. And that’s the struggle.
We, as mortal humans, are created for relationship. Some relationships are surface, some have depth to them. And some have reach into the depths of the heart where everything raw resides. You know those relationships, right? I purposefully don’t have a lot of those. Not everyone can be trusted with that type of relationship. Not everyone should be.
These relationships are necessary. They are vital. We all need them. But if we’re not careful, they can begin to fill places that were only meant for God to fill. Those places that begin to empty when our priorities shift. Those places that begin to empty when we allow God to be crowded out of our day and then our heart.
Recently, as I had a good ol’ fashioned, southern girl come apart, sitting at my Father’s feet, He spoke so sweetly to me. After He let me cry it out. I sat and told Him how I just didn’t understand what I had to do to hear approval from one of those depth-of-the-heart relationships. I told Him that I was so tired of not feeling approved. I told Him that it didn’t matter that no disapproval was spoken…approval was not spoken and it had become the same as disapproval being paraded over my head. I cried, I prayed, I asked God to enlighten this relationship. And then I was finished. But my Father wasn’t finished with me.
In His so gentle, so loving way, He asked me why that approval had become so important to me. I named many justifiable (in my mind) reasons why this was so important to me. And then He asked me if I was confident that I was walking the path He has laid out for me. I told Him that I am. And then He asked me again why this approval mattered. I tried to justify again. But I had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t answering the question He was asking.
As I sat, God began prying into areas of my business that I hadn’t put on the table that day. But instead of resisting the prying, I clinched my teeth waiting for what He was going to reveal to me. And then He did it. He asked me about my quiet time. He asked me how much time I’ve really spent praying and seeking Him in the day-to-day. He asked me how much time I’ve really spent in the Word, not just reading to mark off a mental to-do. He asked me about the places that have become too crowded for Him. I sat and cried again, realizing how the busy has replaced the necessary in my heart. And then He said it.
“My child, you’re not allowing room for me, so that place of approval that only I can fill is empty. But you didn’t come back to Me to fill it. An earthly relationship can never fill a place that was designed for me. I have placed you on this path, I will guide you on this path. And I place a seal of approval on your heart.”
The crying reached epic ugly cry status. And my heart was settled. That void of approval was filled.
What are the relationships where you have that struggle? Because if we’re being honest, we all do. Maybe it’s a friend’s approval that you feel you need. Maybe it’s a spouse’s. Maybe it’s a mentor’s. Maybe it’s a parent’s. Maybe it’s a child’s. The list of who it could be could go on and on. Today, I encourage you to sit at your Father’s feet and ask Him to show you His approval. It’s lavish. It’s life changing. And it’s yours. A gift from Him.