The pursuit of approval

There’s nothing like catching up with old friends. We had first met at “one of those” birthday parties: jumping castle; a cake that will send you to the dentist; and a bunch of kids you’ve never met who mom says are your friends. Adolescence, jumping fences and pure silliness had us catching up years later over food and drinks. Our “inner child” tip toed in as we rambled on about substantial nothingness. The cool breeze, nostalgic puns and distant memories brought fresh recollections of the night that was. It was clear from the get go that a lot had changed over the course of the years (it was also clear that a lot had not). No cover ups. No disguises. Just dreams and aspirations coupled with fears, insecurities and hope.

“We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.”

We talked about a lot of things that evening. But one thing stood out. He said something that set a flame for the rest of the night: “approval.” The phenomenon seemed to prime a lot of things in the world around us. Our relationships, lifestyles, and choices were in a sense governed by this singularity named approval. Our friendship once stood the test of time because of this thing. I quickly remembered the words of Dave Ramsey from the “Fight Club”: “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.” How easy is it to mold oneself towards another’s expectation? How easy is it to thrust away who we are in place of societies “ideal you?”

Being someone else or being someone else’s ideal “someone” proves to be a much easier task than simply being you. We all want to be accepted. We all want to be approved. We all want to find a home were we can be affirmed. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with wanting someone to pat you on the back and say “it is okay.” Admittedly or not, we all look for that. Yet, what has plagued humanity has been our source of acceptance. The world is a dynamic place. Each moment a new fad emerges. If it was baggy yesterday, it will be skinny tomorrow. The sad thing about chasing the carrot at the end of the stick is that we will never get it (there is a reason it is called a rat race). There are those who are laps ahead in the race, conforming to every whim and craze. There are those who are speedily racing but are weary and panting for more. There are those who know the vanity of the race yet they choose to run because “everyone is doing it.” And then there are those: those who have given up on running; those who have soon realized that there is no prize; those who have realized that it is okay not to run.

“And his praise is not from men, but from God.”

I often get tempted to run the race as well. Yet, the moment I thrust one foot forward, my tiredness reminds me that I have already lost. However, it is in losing that we take the steps towards winning. It is in losing that we discover another race. It is in losing that we find God. We are 7 billion people on earth with billions more before us and billions yet to come. We are all different: different passions; different human experiences; differently different. Yet our common source remains the same: God. In Him we are found. In Him we find our being. In Him we find acceptance through Jesus Christ who was rejected for us. His love daily embarks on a journey to cut us from our tracks pulling us closer towards His heart. Will we accept the acceptance of the world and reject the love of God. Are we willing to be approved by society and culture and yet live in a way which God disapproves? Are we willing to run the race only to come to the finish line and find nothing?

“It’s time to cut the cord, sever the ties from the life before, from here on out I’m Yours, I can’t run no more, cause You’re pulling me in, like a tornado wind, and I can’t pretend, I tried leaving, but Your love so strong, and it won’t let go, You’re holding on to me, I’m giving it all away, no more hiding, no more staking, I hear You calling me, and I’m coming, see me running…I give in….You win…” – Crystal Nicole (Lecrae- Give in- Anomaly)

At His Feet…


4 thoughts on “The pursuit of approval

Add yours

  1. Well written. More Grace Gareth.

    ….Seeking approval in the wrong places. God is great and mighty, creator of the universe, he holds the world. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. why should we value man’s approval? When We don’t owe man anything. 1 Thesolonians 2:4. it’s not about blending in with worldly values but rather being a unique creation – as Christ desires you to be.


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