Ever longed for other’s approval? Does the spin cycle of affirmation-seeking sometimes leave your heart wrung out? Today, I’ve invited my beautiful friend, Jennifer Lee Dukes, author of Love Idol, to sit with us for a while and share how we can live free from our need for approval – knowing we are already preapproved:
My 10-year-old daughter decided a few weeks ago to cut ten inches off of her hair and donate it to an organization that makes children’s wigs.
She didn’t tell me her plan until we were a few minutes away from the hair salon. I had assumed she would be asking for a half-inch trim.
It seemed like a rash decision to me, but Anna assured me that she’d thought it through.
“I’ve had this in mind all summer,” she said resolutely from the back seat of our car. “I want to donate my hair. Because it would mean a lot to me if I lost my hair and someone donated theirs to me.”
But what Anna didn’t tell me was this: She was secretly afraid that she’d hate her new hairstyle. She didn’t share that piece of information with me until after the ten inches had been snipped.
Despite her fears, she went through it. Because, inside her small self, she apparently knew this truth about a life of faith:
if you never risk the scary thing to do the right thing, you’ll miss the chance to be a part of the God Things.
In the end, she told me, she actually does love her new haircut. (And I do, too.) But that wasn’t the point. That was never the point.
The truth is:
Doing the right thing isn’t always the beautiful thing, and it might not be the popular thing. But if we set out in our life, only to be liked or applauded in this life, we will compromise anything, and thus, achieve nothing.
I don’t write these words as a way to publicly pat my daughter on the back.
I tell you this story because her actions have something to teach any of us who have been scared to say “yes” when God calls us to do something that feels scary.
I’m not proud to say that there have been times when I have said “no,” out of fear.
That happened a few months ago, when someone from a large Christian women’s conference asked me to speak at an event. I felt in my spirit that God might be telling me to say “yes,” but I was too terrified to follow through. I had never spoken to a crowd that large before.
So I told the conference organizer, “no.” Out of fear.
You want to know what made my “no” even more absurd? I had written a book called Love Idol a few months earlier, encouraging women to give God their yeses, even when they’re scared!
With my “no,” I had contradicted my own advice.
Thanks be to God, He gently guided me back to the truth. And a few weeks later, I gave my “yes” to another conference planner, despite my trembling heart over whether people would approve of me.
Most days, I know the truth about who I am. I know that I have nothing to prove and that in Christ I am already approved – pre-approved!
When I remember that, I can say yes with more “God-fidence” despite my fears.
Those yeses are important. Because the moment we stop fussing over how it will all turn out, is the moment we start actually living for God. Only then can we fearlessly love our neighbors, lead a Bible study, talk into a microphone, pray out loud, stand up for our beliefs, fight for the underdog, speak truth in love, write a book, or take audacious risks for the Kingdom.
We can give our voice, our story, our love. Our yes!
Even our hair.
His Banner Over You is Love.
The value of your yes isn’t adequately measured by the response of those who are watching. Worth isn’t measured by virality or Facebook shares. It is measured by a God who declares us incalculably worthwhile, and immeasurably loved.
When we know who we really are — approved and loved by Christ — we are no longer held back. We are free. Because we know we are His.
Not because we are viral. Or invited. Or magazine-cover-beautiful. Or applauded at the annual meeting.
But because we are His.
His banner over you doesn’t say, “Prove yourself” or “Try Harder” or “Go Viral.” His banner over you isn’t a sales report or a Facebook share.
His banner over you is simply this –
You don’t have to earn anyone’s love anymore. Believe this: That you are already God’s beloved.
Enter to Win
What resonated with your heart as you read Jennifer’s thoughts about being preapproved?
Share Your Thoughts and ENTER to WIN a signed copy Jennifer’s book, Love Idol, and a custom PreApproved necklace. Jennifer is giving away three book & necklace gift sets.
Jennifer Dukes Lee is a storyteller and grace dweller. She is author of Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need For Approval—and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. She and her husband are raising crops, pigs and two humans on a farm in Iowa. Read more at JenniferDukesLee.com.
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