Addicted to approval…

peopleThere’s a fad going around in the average teenager’s world on facebook that really got to me last year. Although it’s new to the facebook world… it has existed long before facebook.

What is it exactly? It’s the constant desire of people (beginning in their young years) to have the approval and validation of others.

In the world of social media this comes in the form of status updates such as: Like my status for a rate. 

Once someone likes your status you go and give them a “score” on their wall of what you think of them. Does the score rate your beauty, your talent, your personality, or your sense of style? Who knows. I don’t think it makes a difference.

In the end… that teenage girl or boy is sitting there, waiting until their peers respond to them and give them a “score” of some sort. And if they get a 10, what happens? What about if they get a 5… or a 3? All of a sudden your self-worth is being weighed on a scale of 1-10 by your own peers. And if you don’t “score” well…. Well, too bad for you.

The other one is the “TBH” (to be honest)” where once you “like” someone’s status they have to go on your wall and write their honest opinion of you.

But this need for approval doesn’t stop when you step out of the doors of high school into the “real world”. Many times it continues on through every stage of your life.

People don’t necessarily verbalize it anymore. They don’t go up to their peers (as teenagers do on facebook) and say “hey, what do you think of me? On a scale of 1-10 what would you give me?” but they live their lives often times not even for themselves, but rather for the opinions of others.

Do you dress stylish enough? Do you drive the fanciest car? Is your house the biggest and best on your block? Do you have the coolest group of friends? What title do you have in front of your name? Do people look up to you? Do they follow you on twitter, facebook, instagram or wherever else you can be followed?

We worry way too often about what people think of us. What people say about us. And we live our lives seeking that constant affirmation from others that we need. The validation that tells you “Yes, you’re good enough. You’re pretty enough. You’re talented enough. You’ve got it together enough”… and we forget what this life is really all about.

See…one day when you stand before God He won’t be asking the people around you what they thought about you. What they rated you as. What they saw in you. The only thing He’ll be talking to you about is what HE thought of you. And I don’t know about you…but I highly doubt He cares about what clothes you wore, what car you drove, and what house you lived in. He won’t ask you about where you stood or what position you held in the eyes of others. All He will care about is where you stood in HIS eyes.

When you seek approval from others you become a modern day Pharisee. You start caring more about what’s on the outside of you and what people will say about you more than what is going on inside of your heart and what God will say about you.

Instead of waiting to find glory in Christ alone you start loving glory from man (John 12:43). You live to be popular in their eyes. To find some kind of worth from their approval. And once you get into that cycle it’s a hard one to get out of.

We all struggle with being “people-pleasers” to some extent. We want to please our peers, our family, our bosses and that’s not always a bad thing.

It only becomes a bad thing when you choose to please people over pleasing God.

Such as when preachers “forget” to preach about eternity spent in hell if people don’t repent from sin and focus on preaching about the prosperity they will have with Christ because it’s what people want to hear.

Or the Christian students in high school who allow their standards and morals to slip and they do things in the dark when no one sees that they would never be proud of just so they can fit in and be accepted in the cool crowd.

Or the girl who cares more about perfecting her clothes, hair, and make-up to get as many compliments from others that she can instead of working on building her character in Christ and finding her validation in Him.

Or the businessman who keeps on climbing the ladders of success higher and higher to be esteemed in the eyes of his peers and he forgets that he barely sees his family or his kids, and in the end his worldly achievements without God won’t mean much of anything.

It’s a sad day when you trade in approval from God for the approval of others, because that usually leads you to a place of self-righteousness in yourself, rather than righteousness that is found only in Him.

I have a challenge for myself and for you: stop worrying about what people think about you. Stop measuring yourself by what you see in the mirror or by the opinions of others. Jesus determined your worth a long time ago when He lay His life down on the cross for you. You may have $5 in the bank, no titles behind your name, and no validation from others but to God you are one thing alone: priceless. You are His absolutely beautiful masterpiece. Crafted by His own hands. Purposed by His own heart.

If you are seeking validation, seek it from one person alone: God. Ask Him to show you what He thinks about you. And live your life for His approval, not anyone else’s.

After all… everyone else is the same as you: a mere human being. What difference does it make what number you get on their scale?

In this world it’s all about where you stand with people…but with God it’s all about where you stand with Him.

Live beyond the standards of the world… live beyond the opinions of others about you…live for God and at the end you will never regret wasting a second worrying about whether or not you are a 2 or a 10 in someone else’s eyes.

Don’t be a modern day Pharisee today. There are so many more important things in this world than what people think of you.

Live in a way that honors and pleases God and don’t worry about the people you do or don’t please in the process!

Be blessed! Anna… ♥

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.- Galatians 1:10

[Image creator unknown. Please respond if you know the author so credit can be given.]

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45 thoughts on “Addicted to approval…

  1. Hey, I am reading this beautiful post four years later and wow. Thank you for expressing this issue so beautifully and for reminding me that its about moulding my heart to reflect Jesus and finding approval from God alone.
    Emily

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  3. Hey Anna! Thank you for sharing this post, this was exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thanks girl! I may re-post this blog post on my post, thebadyogiconfessional.com — I will give you a repost back FOR SURE. Cheers!

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  7. I loved this post Anna, and it appears that many others did too. It taught me a lot about where I am right now. This is very apropos to where I am struggling in my life right now. I just had a good cry over not being accepted by a group of people I’ve been hanging around with. I needed this boost.
    robin

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    • I’m glad this was the “boost” that you needed and I’m so sorry to hear about you feeling un-accepted by your group of friends. We all need supportive friends around us and it hurts when the people that were once there for you are not there anymore. 😦

      May God bless you with new friends (or reconciliation with these ones) that will encourage you in your walk with Him as well as be a blessing to you.

      I’ve learned through my pretty short amount of years of life that many people will walk in and out of our lives but God will never walk out on us and during those times of loneliness He is the best friend and the greatest comforter that we will ever need.

      May He continue to encourage you and show you how near He is to you every single day. Take care!

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  8. This post really hit home with me. This is my NUMBER ONE concern: What other people think of me. But not in the way that most assume: I’m terrified that people might think badly of me. That they think I’m ugly. That they might act on their opinions and try to hurt me.

    “Instead of waiting to find glory in Christ alone you start loving glory from man (John 12:43). You live to be popular in their eyes”

    I’m not trying to be popular or even necessarily accepted by people; I just don’t want people to hate me and hurt me. I don’t deserve it. I’m SO tired of it. It’s impossible for me to know when people will act on their assumptions (that I’m a fat lazy lowlife) and publicly humiliate me; so I’m ALWAYS on edge, always suspecting everyone and anyone; I’m terrified of what other people think.

    It’s definitely part of my anxiety disorder. But… would this be sinning or not? If you determine sin by whether or not it brings you closer to God… then I guess it would be sinning. But I have barely ANY control! I feel so helpless.

    HOW?

    How do I stop caring whether people think badly of me? How do I free myself from this fear?

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    • I am so sorry that you have to go through this Denise 😦 Nobody should have to live in constant fear of being abused (either physically OR verbally) by others around them.

      There is honestly no “correct” answer I can give you. No solution to the problem that will fix it for you, because the truth is we can’t control what others will say or do about us.

      But what we CAN control is our own actions. Our own attitudes. Our own thoughts.

      The only way to be free from your fear is to have faith in Christ. Because the more fear you have the less faith you have (and vice versa). They are the opposite of one another. And once you start focusing on God then you will leave less room in your mind for doubt and for fear of others.

      There is a quote I read recently that I absolutely love: “The phrase ‘do not be afraid’ is written in the Bible 365 times. That’s a daily reminder from God to live every day being fearless”.

      We are all afraid of something and God knows that, which is why He mentions it so often in His Word, but with it He also reminds us that He is with us every step of the way and that He will take care of us and provide for us. And that we have nothing to be afraid of when we are in His hands.

      The only way to stop being afraid is to start trusting God. Digging deep into His Word and start believing everything He says about you, and that way you will get rid of the constant darkness and fear in your life.

      I hope this helps (at least a little). Take care!

      Do not fear: https://daughterbydesign.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/do-not-fear/

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      • Thank you, I suspected this was the answer I would receive… it’s just REALLY hard. :/ It’s going to take me a LONG time to start trusting God over my own feelings. And I’m going to get very frustrated a lot,because I’ve been terrified of people ever since I can remember being alive. So that’s at least 16 years of social phobia. I think it will take at least 8 years to get ‘better’… pretty depressing prospect. But I’m taking one day at a time. Thank you for your reply, yes, it did help a bit, reaffirming what I suspected: that trust in God dissolves all fears.

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        • I agree with you. You can’t “fix” something overnight that you have struggled with for almost a lifetime but by God’s grace and strength you can take those steps toward full recovery today.

          In the meantime you can have peace and comfort knowing that He’s with you every step of the way and that you will have an INCREDIBLE testimony to share of God’s faithfulness in your life.

          Be blessed Denise. I know you will make it through and come out strong at the end!

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  10. “You’ve got it together enough…” Well said. It’s easy to forget that just because someone looks hot on the outside, doesn’t mean they aren’t a hot mess on the inside.

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  11. I got chill bumps reading this 🙂 Your writing is beautiful and this message is sooo relevant in today’s culture. We don’t like to see our mindset as Pharisaical but it really is because in a sense we are raising or lowering our value based on the biased opinions of our peers. I like what you said that even if we have the disapproval of others we are still priceless to God.
    Blessings,
    Moriah

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    • Thanks Moriah! No one wants to see themselves as being a “Pharisee” but sometimes I think we have attitudes that are similar to theirs more than we’d like to think. It’s so good to know that with God’s help we can change those attitudes in our lives to reflect His instead of those of this world! 🙂

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  12. Wonderful message to every blood bought adopted child of God. The cares of this world, what other think of us, etc are nothing more than a very discreet form of idolatry! When we put what others think before what God desires… we are an open target for the enemy. Thank you so much baby sister Anna for all the truth you continue share.
    Be blessed
    Stephanie

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    • Thanks Stephanie! I JUST taught my teens about the same exact thing yesterday! It’s so important to align our thoughts, our desires, and our will to God’s because until we do so we will always be tempted to turn to other people for our sense of worth and approval.

      Thank God that we have Him and that when we are walking closely with Him we won’t let those things affect our lives! I hope you have a blessed day! 🙂

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  13. Amen! Everytime I think I am done with doing that the light comes on and I see I am doing it again! It can be rather pathetic 🙂 God loves me, made me, adopted, and approves of me so that really must become paramount in my life. Thanks for the reminder. Here’s another good verse regarding that from The Message translation:
    Proverbs 29:25(MSG)
    25 The fear of human opinion disables;
    trusting in God protects you from that.
    Blessings!

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  14. I’ve learned that, unless I can control the thoughts of others (and I can’t), I cannot control what other people think of me. I have as many “reputations” as there are people in my life. What I can control is being the best person I can be and seeking first the kingdom of God. Then I know I’m right, and God will provide that “like” on my status : )

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    • Amen! We need to worry about controlling what we can and stop giving too much thought to the things that we can’t. There is so much freedom in turning to God for our needs instead of people. He will always satisfy us, accept us, and love us in a way no human being can!

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  15. “Challenge” is an understatement. Giving up others’ approval has been the single most difficult undertaking of my life. I think it’s harder to give up than any other addiction! It can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit, that’s for sure!

    You’ve stated this need very well, Anna.

    May you also be blessed!

    \o/

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    • Definitely! I think so many things are close to impossible (if not impossible) to fully give up without the the Holy Spirit, but with His help we can break free from the hardest and most tempting habits! Thank God He sent us the Holy Spirit to help us every day. I can’t even imagine attempting to deal with life without Him!

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  16. This is so true! Something that all of us can be prone to – me included (when I check my status to see who has liked me or how many countries they come from :-/) Thank you for this reminder of priorities – Acts 5 v 29 (I think) – we must serve God rather than man.

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    • Amen! We all need a priority check once in a while! It’s easy to get sidetracked with those things that really don’t matter at the end of the day (such as being a people-pleaser over a God-pleaser).

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    • That’s great that God’s been helping you see your need for approval and that He’s helping you work it out. Sometimes it seems to happen so subtly in our life that we don’t notice it. May He help you do what it takes to fully break free from that need. Be blessed!!

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  17. Anna, I’m shocked… I hadn’t a clue about the latest “like-me” fads on Facebook. So sad! Facebook certainly has its ups and downs, huh? I appreciated your post! We are to please only God! Such a simple ideal, but so hard to actually put into practice. I’m so thankful for God’s love and acceptance of me. If I only had “people” to meet my needs for self-fulfillment, I’d certainly be one miserable person. Glad he loves me no matter what… Thank you for the comforting reminder!

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    • I think I just notice it because I work with teens at my church and I’m friends with most of them on facebook. It was really popular last year, I’m glad that it seems to have died down a little now! I totally agree with you… if we relied on people to validate us and make us feel like we are worth something in this life then we would all be pretty miserable! Thank God that we have Him and that His love for us never changes! Hope you have a blessed week Crystal!

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  18. Amen!! I need to be reminded of this. I don’t think I care as much about what others think of me as I did in high school…which was a long time ago 😉 but I still care a little more than I should at times.

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    • That’s good! (that you care less now than before) I think it’s definitely a much bigger deal when we are younger and are looking for that acceptance from our peers but it’s one of those things that can stick around for a while if you don’t deal with it in your younger years. 🙂

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