Dear Approval Seeker,
WORDS // BECCA BERNARD
Hi, I am one too.
I hope you liked that I was transparent with you, along with everything else in my life. Man, I’m doing it again. Why do we have such a fear of man? Why do their views and opinions of our lives often dictate how we relate with others? Why must we incessantly say sorry, just in case we may have—on the slight chance—said something that may have hurt someone?
Dear seeker of head-nods, social-media likes, and affirmation, I too am drained, I too pray and long for the day when my life would display the reality of Proverbs 29: 25,
“The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.”
Dear lover of yes, if you and I were honest with ourselves, we would see that the root of our fear of rejection comes from our lacking of trust in God, due to a misconstrued view of His goodness and grace. You see friend, the way we relate to God, seeps into the way we are with others. Starting from the garden, we naturally bend to fleshly patterns of thought.
Favor? Is that the “f” word?
We orient our lives in how we think God ought to deal with our brokenness, and beat Him to the punch of condemning ourselves. We have slipped into believing the dangerous thought of our performance determining our position. How natural and easy it is to think this way, but so damaging in the long haul.
Dear people pleaser, I want to share a powerful lesson I learned that has reminded me that the basis of our position in Christ lies not in our performance, but in the palms of our Savior.
For a year, my hands were used to provide care to children and teens who are differently abled. My hands tickled sides, gave high-fives, pulled wagons, spun little ones around, and crafted projects. They also changed diapers, cleaned vomit, wiped butts, bathed bodies, and fed mouths. However, they also deflected and blocked hits and received scratches. When I was the recipient of aggressive behavior, it did not sever the relationship I had with the sender. I continued to engage with these uniquely beautiful ones, whether that be through play or care. And here’s the crazy thing, these precious ones did not wallow in pity, guilt and shame. They did not refuse my care or play, or convince themselves they lost the ability to be in my presence.
And here, my fellow seeker of affirmation, lies such a beautiful picture of God’s grace. We, like these precious ones have been “diagnosed” with the same disability; and that is sin. Sin is the most debilitating condition of all. You see my friend, in light of the perfection and majesty of God, we all fall short of his thoughts, behavior and characteristics. We are nowhere near the same level of functioning as God. Due to the reality of our sin sickness, we continually “hit” and “scratch” God with our transgressions. BUT, because of the crucified palms of Christ, God does not return our “aggressive behavior” with what we deserve; a severance of our relationship with Him, and the absence of His powerful and providential presence in our lives.
Oh fellow approval-seeker! As we inevitably fall short of God’s standard on a daily basis, I hope and pray that like the beloved children I had the honor of serving, we would not relate with our ultimate Care-giver out of shame. That we would be constantly reminded that God is not fazed by our shortcomings, and He does not weigh out the good, and the bad. His protective and providential hands will never leave us. Because of Christ’s sacrifice and defeat of death, He has chosen to continually provide the refining, grace-giving, care that we need, and there is nothing we can do to end it.
Dear approval seeker, there is no need to continue trekking in the sojourn of yes, the treacherous journey has ended. You have always been a citizen in the land of God’s favor and grace.
PHOTOS BY JESSICA BILLS // LETTERING BY SAM PALENCIA