As children, many of us long to know our parents are proud of what we do. We want to hear “good job!” and get the pat on the back. We want to know we are approved.
This desire is exaggerated in our world of constant exposure. Our pictures and opinions are more vulnerable than ever before, more open to the public, and as such, more open to disapproval and disdain. In the face of such vulnerability it is tempting to mold ourselves into the most “approvable” form , doing whatever it takes to get the most “likes”, in social media or in real life.
But this kind of approval is addicting. It sucks us in and keeps us coming back for more, hungry for just one more stamp of approval because it isn’t filling to our souls. Deep down we know we’re just one more “double-tap”; that true approval can’t be found in this.
We know this to be true in the depth of our being, but our hearts and minds have to embrace it. This is the truth: seeking approval from people gives them power they don’t actually possess. No human can satisfy that longing for purpose; they don’t have that capacity. But when we grant this power to those around us, we react to it with insecurity and dependence. We depend on the opinions of people for our self-worth instead of finding purpose in our God-designed identity.
Freedom comes when we let it go.
Letting go of an approval addiction doesn’t mean we cease to be kind or respect those around us. It doesn’t mean we stop appreciating compliments or delete our Instagram accounts. It means we go a step above what people say and put our trust in what God says. By putting God’s opinion first, all other opinions can be filtered through that lens. We can have security no matter what the world thinks if we’ve found our purpose in the Creator of life.
When we seek God’s ultimate purpose for life, we will stop sacrificing identity on the altar of approval. No longer bound to fear or shame, we can fully live as the people we were designed to be. This kind of freedom is rooted in confidence: confidence that Christ put us in this world to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever”.
When we seek to please an audience of One, we can rest in His approval no matter what the thousands think. And we find that in His purpose, our best identity shines forth, because our truest selves are seen when we hold to truth Himself.