I can’t wait for the day when I don’t care whether or not people like me. Today is not that day. Today is a day when I think procuring human affection will bring real happiness. Somewhere deep down, I must think I’d be happier if everyone liked me all the time. So, I’ve made it a secret goal… so secret that I forget it’s there. But, it must be there because I do things to achieve this goal. My words might speak of the centrality of God, but my actions speak of the significance of human approval. What we think about, what we work on, points to what we value. For me, I want affirmation and attention. There are days when I’m content to let God meet the needs he’s given me. There are days, on the other hand, where I chase approval like a pack of wolves chase a three-legged cat.
When I try to sound funny or look smart or love people so that they’ll love me, I’m really just dancing for pennies. I’m taking God-given gifts and prostituting them. I’m performing for other people for very little return. I might get people to stop and look at me, but they dig around in their pocket, give me some change, lint, and a button and then move on.
Sounds like something you do once and hate it so much that you never do it again. But, the problem is, when you work for approval, you are convinced if you work harder, you’ll get dimes, then dollars. But in this system, you can only get pennies. That’s all the passers-by have to throw. They are people in need of approval just like you.
I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with wanting to be liked. We have real needs, needs for security, love, and affirmation. The problem comes when we assign someone other than God the duty of meeting that need. I need your love… I need his affirmation. If this becomes our mindset, we’re destined to dance for pennies. As hard as it is for me to believe at times, the security, approval, and worth God extends require no performance. And, God’s satisfaction doesn’t leave me feeling cheap and insecure. When I live in light of God’s provision, I’m freed to love out of who I am, not what I need.
When I rely on people to give me worth, I can feel it wearing down the battery of my soul. As I continue to make the dramatic shift of being grounded in the worth I have as God’s, I’m able to stop pressuring people to give me what they weren’t created to give. I’m able to live in reality of the worth I have and trust a Provision I can’t obtain.
Then, I can dance just because I like dancing, regardless of who’s watching.