A Word from Your BCC Team: On weekends, here at the BCC we enjoy pointing you to excellent resources for your Christian life and for your biblical counseling ministry. Today we do so by posting the following blog by Dr. Amy Baker, which is excerpted from Why Do I Care? When Others’ Approval Matters Too Much (releasing Fall 2015 by New Growth Press). Unlike almost all of our other BCC blog posts, book reviews, and resources, this excerpt may not be reproduced without the express written permission of New Growth Press. To purchase this and other NGP resources, please visit www.newgrowthpress.com.
Losing Approval Can Be Frightening
In our sin-broken world, we all are drawn toward hiding behind walls of success, accomplishment, and popularity to protect ourselves from rejection, displeasure, or humiliation. We crave the approval of others and can easily be overcome by the fear of man. As a desire to please people becomes consuming, our lives become less and less authentic.
It is difficult, and sometimes frightening, not to have the good opinion of others. We can tell people all day long that what others think of us doesn’t matter. The problem is: it does matter. We want people to like us. We want others to be pleased with us. We want the approval of those around us.
Although I want to be authentic, I often struggle and fail. I need help outside of myself. My precious Savior comes to my rescue and then points me toward the help I need to get beyond my fear of man. One of the places we find His grace for us is in Psalm 118. Full of rich help for folks like me, let me identify just a few of the many points of hope found in this passage.
Meditate on Having Received God’s Love: Psalm 118:1-4
One of the first steps we can take in putting off living for approval is found in the beginning verses of Psalm 118.
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever…
4 Let those who fear the Lord say:
“His love endures forever.”
As people who love and long for approval, those who fear the Lord and trust in His redemption can rejoice in having received God’s love and acceptance—a love and approval that will endure forever!
Cry Out to God: Psalm 118:5
It can be anguishing to face losing the approval of others. Yet, working to keep it, confines us to a small world where life consists of pleasing others so that we won’t be rejected, humiliated, or exposed. We don’t live freely in the big, wide world created by our glorious Savior. We live as a prisoner to the approval of others.
So, what can we do? We can do what the psalmist did in verse 5: we can cry out. We can tell the Lord about our anguish and fears. We can tell Him how scared we are of being ridiculed, losing another’s approval, being exposed…We can cry out to the One whose love endures forever.
And when we cry out, we can expect that God will answer and set us free! We can expect to be released from our prison cell of approval and brought to a spacious place.
Recognize that Success Is Not Dependent on My Will Power: Psalm 118:13-14
Suppose I don’t think I can stand it anymore. Knowing that people are talking about me behind my back, ridiculing me, or eager to harm me seems overwhelmingly hard. The psalmist felt that way too. In verse 13 he tells us that he was pushed back and about to fall. It didn’t feel like he was going to win. It felt like he was going to be defeated. But that’s not what happened.
When I don’t think I can take it anymore, I need to remind myself that success is not dependent on my will power. The Lord will help me; His love endures forever. Therefore, I must not quit.
No Longer Dependent on Others’ Approval
As we allow Psalm 118 to help us take steps toward authenticity, we can expect to see change start to take place. While we will still have a desire for approval, the desire is being restored to a proper place. Our joy is not dependent on others’ approval, our joy finds a home in pleasing God because His love endures forever.
Join the Conversation
There are many more steps in Psalm 118 that help us as we battle living for approval. What other truths from Psalm 118 can strengthen us in becoming authentic?