None of My Business
“I do not accept praise from men, but I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” John 6:41- 44
I have been struggling getting my smart phone’s approval and it has got me feeling guilty. One of the apps is a pedometer and lately it has been giving me the message that I am a slacker and a failure. But I know it’s not true! I get plenty of exercise; my phone just doesn’t accompany me for all of it. For a time I ignored it, but finally it got to me and I carried it with me for a whole day to get the miserable thing off my back. Why would I care what an electronic device thinks of me?
Several days later I was walking out to the barn early one morning and a simple, yet profound thought hit me right between the eyes. This happens from time to time, I don’t mean thinking, but truth appearing when I least expect it from nowhere (and oddly enough just when I need it most). This particular morning The Voice of Truth whispered into my not quite fully awake, still in need of coffee brain, “you have spent most of your life wanting the good opinion of others when the only opinion you need is Mine.”
And there it was like a bolt from the blue. One of those come to Jesus moments when I suddenly recognize the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and this was one of them. I care far too much what others think of me, even my phone.
I don’t quite know where or when it all began, but somewhere in my youth I developed this insatiable need for the approval of other human beings and rarely if ever sought God’s. Maybe it is because I can’t see God and I can see people. I don’t know. Maybe it began with sibling rivalry, vying for parents’ attention or after the first sting of rejection from a boy or a shunning by one of the mean girls in elementary school. Perhaps a successful athletic run in school brought the need for applause my way. The truth is that I cannot say with certainty where and when the craving for other’s approval began. But I do know this, that it is directly tied to my fear of rejection, I need others to like and approve of me. I struggle when they don’t.
So once it began, it was an addiction I couldn’t seem to get a handle on. It seemed to happen to me over and over. I said yes when I meant no. I went along to get along. I did far too many things against my better judgment because in my mind I wanted to please someone else or earn their praise. I wanted, no needed others to like me. To think I was smart, or clever or unique. It didn’t seem to matter whether it was work, personal relationships or volunteer commitments.
Oftentimes my brain and heart would say “No thank you, I have no desire to do that!!” but out of my mouth would come “Sure, I would be glad to.” Why did I give up listening to that still small voice within? How insane is that? For the longest time I had no idea that I could answer, “No” or “may I have some time to think it over?” Or it never crossed my mind to respond “let me pray about it and get back with you.” Of course I might not SAY that because I wouldn’t want you to think that I am a religious nut or anything. Or I WOULD say it so you would think I am pious. There is that approval craving again. And yet, what good is faith if I don’t use it? And just where do I get real faith, faith with teeth for the tough times? Let me make something quite clear here. I don’t need to get God’s approval, because he loves me way more than I can get my small brain around and nothing is ever going to change that from His perspective. I can do nothing to earn his love and neither can you. That was done on the cross. But what I do need is to depend upon Him, to trust in Him with all my heart, and soul and I can’t do that if I don’t love him first. When I trust Him then and only then will I ask His opinion and His help, not just in the big life and death matters, but in all the ordinary everyday matters.
The message I get from outside of me is the same one my phone gave me, I will never be enough. I am a slacker, a failure. Until the last couple of years it never even crossed my mind to ask God or to look for solutions and answers in His Word. Why wouldn’t I? Unlike my smart phone I take Jesus with me everywhere I go. For a time I ignored Him and I sought inspiration and I am not sure what, probably the approval of others by reading the Bible. I am a little slow you see and that slowness takes root in wanting YOU to think I am an independent, self sufficient kind of gal. Well, those days are done, let me tell you. Today I live with a singleness of purpose. To ask God about everything and I mean everything, from the little squalls to the big monster storms in my life. From the mundane to what should I fix for dinner Lord?
Years ago a friend of mine told me that what other people think of me is none of my business. I think that is what Christ is saying here in the passage from John. If I am living my life by spiritual principles there is only One opinion that matters. He knows how dangerous praise from man is and I do too. I do far too much knowing you all are watching me. It is seductive and approval from other humans can puff me up with pride and then my head swells up out of proportion and I forget who should get the credit for any and all of my accomplishments in my life, and that is God and God alone. Without Him I am nothing.
God can and does speak through other people, but unless I am plugged in to Truth found only in the Word of God, there is no way I am going to know truth it if it hits me over the head. And, now hear this: if I am running my life based on what other humans are saying I will just be living according to somebody’s version of the truth, not truth itself.
Truth never changes because God doesn’t change. Unlike my phone which is constantly upgrading and changing like other people’s opinions of me, which my friends, is shifting and sinking sand, and none of my business.©
Be joy filled always,