This article was originally written in September of 2015 for Get. Give. Grow., a website that discusses the fundamentals of business and everyday life with God . Thank you for reading!
“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)
It’s human nature to criticize and to be criticized. Just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s right, but it doesn’t have to affect you either. I’ve had judgmental people in my life ever since I can remember, but it’s only recently that I’ve realized the major impact it’s had on me. I figured something needed to be done.
I used to pride myself on being the “good girl” and a rule follower. It wasn’t often that you could catch me in a lie or find me doing something wrong because I was adamant about doing things God’s way. If I did falter or I didn’t receive the approval of man, it really shook me to my core and chiseled away at my self-esteem. I thought this was just good old fashioned conviction and a sign that I needed to do better.
When feelings of rejection, shame, and guilt were seeping into my important relationships, I noticed a negative trend that most people-pleasers have. I did everything I could to prove myself so that other people would like me, and so that God would be proud of me. Well, I got tired of looking into every sign that someone was upset with me or pleased with what I could do for them. It’s exhausting, and in most cases the people you spend your time worrying about aren’t even thinking about you. Even if they are, should your worth come from them or from The Lord?
The Word has a lot to say about being worthy, but a passage that stands out to me is Ephesians 4:1-16. Here is an excerpt:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” (Ephesians 4:1-7)
Our calling as Christians is to walk in humility, gentleness, patience, love, and unity. If you are obedient in this in all that you do, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say.
The other week I was listening to a few pastors talking on the radio, and I was blessed with this word I just shared with you. Just as I was starting to feel a burden of judgement being lifted off of me, I quickly felt God’s gentle conviction telling me something else. I don’t think most of us with lacking self-esteem understand just how self-centered we are. Let me back up and say that again. When your mind is consumed with other people’s opinions of you (good or bad), all you are thinking about is yourself. I’ve noticed that I have a lot of pride that I’m working on getting rid of, and I never put the two together. If I wasn’t so wrapped up in myself, how I am perceived by the public wouldn’t be such a big deal.
Taking the spotlight off of us and shining it on The Lord allows Him to show us ways to become a better servant of Christ and to put others above ourselves. Dear heart, not everyone is going to agree with you, and that’s ok. As long as your walk is agreeable to God, everything else will fall to the wayside and you will start to feel the freedom that Jesus died for. Don’t lose sight of your calling as you search for man’s approval. Hold on to God’s grace, and remember who you are living for.