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Hey guys! Today’s a bit of a random topic… but before I get into it, I’d like to share a little bit about where my heads been at. If you don’t know, I haven’t been featured on the Real Church Matters Podcast for the past couple of weeks. This is simply because I haven’t been led to speak. I’m learning in this walk that there is a time for everything, and right now God has me quiet. I’ve grown so much in my faith these past few years and the podcast has definitely played a huge role in that growth, but sometimes we get caught up in seeking God just to share with others and not seeking Him to survive for ourselves.

As a person that’s very consumed in helping and supporting others, God has been reminding me how much I really need him. He showed me the depths of the spiritual drought I’ve been living in. I’ve searched my heart. I’m asking myself the tough questions. I don’t want to be a public success and a private failure. I want to really work through somethings so I can be able to live, speak and share in full confidence and assurance. Continue to keep me in your prayers and the encouragement is very much welcomed. God’s approval is what I desperately strive for…which brings me to today’s topic:

So I’ve been reading (listening to an audiobook) called Lost Connections that sort of explains some of the causes of depression. Its main point was that depression is a form of grief that comes from a lack of connection. The author believes that depression and anxiety are more than just chemical imbalances in the brain but that they are the result of our social environments, our relationships, our political contexts — our lives, in short.

Now, this book is strictly based on philosophy and science but I of course always find a way to bring it to the spiritual side.

Something that really stood out to me was the author’s explanation of our generations addiction to continuous feedback— particularly with the advent of social media. There was a day and time when you weren’t getting a ton of reactions and responses on just what you thought from day-to-day. You weren’t taking a ton pictures all the time to show off to your friends. You didn’t share the things that made you upset, happy or laugh with thousands of people every single day.

We sit on our phones (I hate saying that, I sound so old) constantly refreshing apps, constantly checking for views, etc to see how people perceive us. Do they think I’m cute? Do they think I’m interesting? Do they think I’m wise and smart?

I found this point very thought-provoking. I began to meditate on it.

Approval and validation is something we all need. We fill out applications for jobs and loans all to gain someone’s approval. We are addicted to collecting reviews and approval from everyone from our peers to our family members. We want people to like our outfit of the day, our gourmet dinners, our fancy vacations etc. We want the approval of others to validate our lives. 

Also on the flip-side, we love being approvers as well. Making others aware of our reviews of their lives. How much we like and approve their thoughts and lives.

But I wondered if we crave that same sort of feedback from God on this level?  Are we concerned about his reviews? 

Would he give the decisions I made today a double tap?

Would he give my meditations 5-star reviews?

These thoughts led me to this scripture:

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

Paul was concerned about this for a reason. Who are you working hard to please? If you dissect your prayers you’ll realize a lot of the lack you feel you have, comes from your desire to be approved by others.

If your life was a performance who would be in your audience? God? or people? If God was our only audience member I think we’d change our performance. I think we’d focus less and less on earthly things, less on the pursuit of happiness and more on pleasing him or as Paul said “being servants of Christ.”

I had to check myself. I began to audit some of my thoughts (my “woe is me” thoughts) and ask myself “whose approval are you seeking?” Oftentimes we feel like we lack soooo much in our lives… And our lives are soooo unfair simply because we don’t have the things that would make others approve of us. But oftentimes we are right smack-dab where God wants us. Oftentimes we have everything we need to please Him. We just aren’t maximizing our God-given resources:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Mark 22:37

Classic scripture. God’s classic request of us. If we could dedicate to seeking His approval with all of our hearts, all of our souls, and all of our minds…depressions, lust, even sin wouldn’t stand a chance against us.

God’s encore and applause 

Humans all need and crave a sense of belonging, that won’t change. When we feel others around of us approve of us, we feel like we belong. We feel like we have something to live for. When he said we should love him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds he wants to help reshape our sense of belonging. If we use the performance analogy again,  your performance should begin to change. Those moves and notes you used to hit don’t cut it for God. He wants you to perform his word like His son did.

Our energy and efforts should shift. 

I want Him to see me operate in power for his applause.

I want Him to witness my unwavering faith so he can scream “encore!”

His feedback is what we must yearn for. Christ was the perfect performer but we should be great understudy’s.

Be encouraged. We can all operate outside of fear and insecurity and move in power when we seek His approval. Let His approval be what you long for. Let your actions be informed by your desire to please Him.

I always forget to add this but if you have any questions or would like encouragement, feel free to email me at talk@likewiselife.com