Only now at 32 years of age am I coming to see just how much of my life has been a search for approval. Sadly, it has been this deep longing for approval, this inordinate desire to be liked and respected, that has led me to pursue certain courses of action that shouldn’t have been taken. Without getting into the details, this desire to be respected has caused me to lie and seek ways to be highly thought of.
As I reflect on this, I see that all of these desires for acceptance are pointers to what I’ve always longed for: Real acceptance that can be experienced forever. And here’s what I’ve learned: You only find this in the gospel. God sees past all our facades, all our sinful attempts to prove to others and ourselves that we matter.
The gospel tells me that who I really am has nothing to do with what I do, but has everything to do with what Christ as done for me. I am not what I achieve. Let that sink in: Because of the gospel, we have nothing to prove. The gospel frees me from having to matter, from having to impress people or prove myself to people or measure up to some arbitrary standard that some other person has set for me. Seeking the approval of others is a long, arduous, exhausting journey with no end in sight. I’m done with it. God accepts me in Jesus Christ. I’m free.