Women in general seem to have a real issue with seeking approval from others all through their lives. Most of those who seek approval from others will tell you that it brings sorrow and stress. So why do they continue to look for approval from those around them?
Seeking approval starts when we are children and Mom and Dad reward us with it when we do what it right. The balance is upset though somehow when Mom and Dad withhold approval when we don’t do what they require.
I’m not by any means laying blame on moms and dads. When we become adults, no matter how ingrained bad behavior is, it is our responsibility to overcome it. But I think that is where the love for approval begins, it feels good and safe to have approval from people.
But God says that if we want a peaceful life, we should not seek approval from people.
“Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea” Isaiah 48:18
There aren’t many things in life that bring such unhappiness to us as trying to be people-pleasers.
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
The Greek word used in Galatians 1:10 is aresko. I think its important to know what that word means specifically.
aresko: to fit, to gratify, to accommodate oneself to, or to be acceptable.
Seeking approval of people can lead to sin. You can probably think of times when you sought after approval of people and it ended badly, with hurt feelings, misunderstandings, harsh words. I certainly can. There have been times in the ministry of CHK that I have veered off the path of seeking God’s approval and tried to please people. It never ended well and I had to repent and get back on track.
Even though God has called us to stop seeking approval of people, He still intends that we be servants of His, and though Him, servants of others.
Bob Dylan sang a song long ago that said,…. ” you know you got to serve somebody…..” We always serve or seek approval from someone. We serve others, ourselves or God.
We know that God calls us to servanthood. As His children, we are to serve Him by serving others. When we were in sin, we were enslaved, or servants to, sin.
I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. Romans 6:19
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Being ‘enslaved’ to God is much different from being enslaved to people as a pleaser. Only God can make all things work out for good for those of us who are called according to His purpose. Only God can safely enslave us and protect us while He does it!
Every one of us have to please some people now and then. Its part of most jobs, its part of most relationships. But if you find yourself consistently angry at yourself or depressed because you are trying so hard to please others and failing, you may be in the trap of being a people-pleaser.
Seeking people’s approval brings heartache, frustration, sadness and anger…. but seeking God’s approval brings astounding rewards…..
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. ” Revelation 22:2