There have been moments in time that I have wished…no I have yearned for someone to say out loud the words that I desperately thought I needed to hear. Inwardly I begged, pleaded with the person to just say them. I thought that if he/she finally said these words, then they would be true.
I had one of those moments today. I desperately needed to be told something. Once again, my insides secretly pleaded with that person to say the words. Somehow I believed that this person knew how much I needed to hear them but was just not saying them out of spite or selfishness. I think deep down I knew that wasn’t really true, but I struggled anyway.
I tried taking my plea to God. I didn’t have the guts to actually ask God to make this person say the words, but throughout the day, I sure thought it. Then suddenly, this evening, I felt as if I was transported back to the bedroom I had grown up in. I was 15 years old again, and I was lying on my bed reading my Bible. I was really reading it for the first time on my own, and I had just stumbled upon Galatians 1:10. “Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
I remember stopping to read it again and again…almost 10 times I read it that afternoon. I quickly scribbled it into my journal and before the day was over, I had it memorized. Even then I knew that my greatest struggle was my inherent need for man’s approval. My identity was tied to what I thought others believed me to be.
Now here I was almost 20 years later, still caught up in the same struggle. Sure I now KNOW that my identity can only be found in Christ. Sure, I don’t quite care about EVERYONE’s approval like I once did. But I still battle. I still want certain people in my life to believe and think and SAY certain things about me and to me. Deep down I still wrestle with the belief that these things are only true about me if someone else says it and believes it too.
But clearly God’s Word says that I am to seek God’s approval. I am His servant not man’s. So why do I long for man’s words to make me feel like I am enough…like I am beautiful or skinny or wanted or talented or creative or whatever else I am struggling with on that particular day?
Recently I spoke with a friend about the significance of our names. We were discussing about the fact that in Biblical times and for many generations following, parents chose the name for their children based on their identity and destiny. Names were completely tied up with purpose.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with my particular name. I like my name, but I hated that I was always one of many Sara’s. It just reinforced my complex of feeling completely and totally ordinary. I even joked when we were talking about names and their meanings about how the name “Sara” signified “princess.” I sarcastically said, “Oh yes my destiny is to be a princess!” and then I let out a laugh like it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.
My friend quietly but poignantly asked, “But what if you did live like you were a princess? What if you lived your life truly as if you were the daughter of the King? Because isn’t that what you are?”
Why had I never thought of it before then? I am a princess because I am a daughter of the One True King.
I can try and will man to say what I need to hear all day long. I can inwardly plead and beg him to say aloud what I desperately think I need to hear, so I can feel worthy and wanted and a plethora of other things. Or I can start believing today what God says to be true about me. I can live my life as if I am chosen and called and ordained and loved and beautiful and holy and wanted.
We can spend our whole lives waiting for people to treat us like we think we should be treated or tell us what we think we deserve to hear or love us the way our hearts long to be loved…
Or we can chose today…right in this moment to start living and walking and BELIEVING that God has given us grace when we deserved condemnation. We have a God that lavishly loves us and chooses us.
When I wait for man to do what only God can do, I am saying really that I do care more about man than I care about God. I am saying that I value man’s thoughts and opinions of me more than I value God’s. I am saying that my identity rests in man rather than in God, and I will always come up disappointed. I will never measure up to man’s yardstick because I was never meant to.
If our lives are to make any kind of lasting imprint and impact on this ever-darkening world, then we are going to have to buck up a little. We are going to have to get tougher skins. This doesn’t mean that we have cold and hardened hearts. It means that we stop allowing the enemy to use even the ones closest to us as daggers to our hearts. We set ourselves up for defeat when we constantly ask our loved ones and friends and bosses and neighbors and even our children to be what only God can be for us.
You don’t need man’s approval if you already have God’s. Your worth is not found in man’s opinion of you.
You are loved. You are chosen. You are beautiful. You are known. You are wanted. You are lovely. You are called.
You are all of these things single, married, skinny, fat, employed, unemployed, successful, unsuccessful, young, old. You are these things because God says you are. Those of us that have surrendered our lives to Christ have everything we need in Him already. Let’s stop asking man to give us more.