Years ago my life was a mess. I held little understanding, was depressed, held anxiety and was overly angry. If I wasn’t being critical of those around me, I was in my room crying. If I wasn’t in my room crying I was overly loving seeking approval from those around me. I had a couple friends that I kept around just to say I had friends but they were not nice in any way shape or form. I hated being out in public as I felt all eyes were on me tearing me down in one way or another. I held no self- esteem, whatsoever and I was known as being sickly and needy. When people know you to be a certain way they tend to treat you as they know what calms you best or helps the most. In my case, people felt it was best to think for me, to make my decisions and to tell me what I needed to do. I hated how I was and hated the treatment that came with it. I walked around thinking everyone thought I was stupid and therefore I began acting the part. It took some serious marriage issues to get my attention. God backed me in a corner I could not get out of on my own. Then He sent a man my way who refused to hear me cry, complain, or blame anyone except myself for my actions. (I had to learn to real quick how to talk around him or he would quit talking to me…I couldn’t talk as I always had; because I always complained and pushed blame. ) He taught me how God saw me and then taught me how to let go of my anger, pain and all the things I had held onto. I began seeing huge changes in myself and began feeling alive instead of dead inside. I finally was allowing God to change me within and I had no idea how hard the work would be; but the change God did in me was reward enough. God sent a man to mentor me at the lowest point in my life and there was no warning or indication beforehand. I was so desperate for help I went along with his mentoring even though I disagreed with the things he said about me. God delivered me from my misery, restored my marriage, health and blessed in ways I could never imagine. For the first time in years I could say “I’m happy” and it be true. I won a second chance at life; but soon began losing things I placed too much value on.
See, when God rescued me I allowed him to change me within. Mark 8:34 reminds us to deny ourselves, pick up the cross and follow him; which is exactly what I did… I was no longer the sick, needy one I always had been which meant I didn’t require the same treatment I always received from those around me. I did not need someone to speak for me or think for me or hold my hand through life. I was not looking for sympathy as I always had in the past.I no longer held the need to air my business to anyone except the Lord. I was strong in Christ, which gave confidence, and clarity to the thoughts held. I was able to discern which gave better understanding. My eyes were opened to truth all around me.
As Christians we are suppose to see through the eyes of Christ not the eyes of man. I finally was seeing through the eyes of Christ which were different lenses than the ones I was used too. Whenever we see through different lenses; it makes it difficult for those around us to relate. (Not everyone looks through the same lenses.) Our ways, thoughts, speech and overall dealings in life differ from those around us; which makes us misunderstood or labeled as ” better than thou ” or “self righteous”. (Can you say Ouch?)
There are some people in our lives who will never approve. It is not that they don’t want too; it is that they miss us for how they always knew us to be. They want back the old us before God transformed us. It may be that God has not changed them which makes it hard for them to accept us and the changes he made in us. Where they gave you approval in the past; in order to receive that same approval you must change back to how you use to be. My friend, that is too big of a price to pay for such superficial approval. I see it as losing God’s approval to gain their’s. That’s not okay.
You may be dealing with people you care deeply for who refuse to accept or approve of the changes God made in you. (They may always question the genuineness because they know you better than anyone.) They may not approve of your changes made to better serve the Lord either. ( They keep waiting for you to step out of line to address you on it because they see you living a fake life.) God over time has used some pretty questionable people to do great things; so if he called you to do His work, you are not the first person ever questioned and you certainly won’t be the last. People will always resist what they don’t understand…
Many times we find people in our lives throw up walls made of pride. They use pride as a defense to keep people from seeing them as they truly are. They don’t want to be judged for their lifestyle or choices made. They throw a wall of pride up to prevent others from seeing them as they truly are. Sometimes we find out much later in life that those who gave approval while we were at our lowest point; may have been hiding behind our weakness so their weakness was never exposed.
To expect approval is to forget; people can’t offer what they don’t hold. You may be expecting approval from someone who never received approval and has none to offer you. It isn’t that they don’t want too; it is that they don’t know how.
You can spend your life continuing to try to gain approval of those around you, but remember if you gain their approval you may lose God’s approval. Secondly, you can take the changes God made in you and offer hope; to someone that reminds you of how you use to be, before being rescued. It takes one person willing to be used by God to make a lasting impression, in the life of someone hurting. Will you deny yourself, pick up the cross and follow him as told in Mark 8:34?
Robin Worgull Author of The Conflict Within and The Right- Minded Woman