The Ping-Pong Effect of Approval


"It's never enough!" "I'm never enough!" "I just can't do this." "I don't measure up." "I'm not good enough." "I give up!"

Ever been there? Ever had these thoughts? Have you ever believed that you -just you - are not enough? Well, I am here to tell you, you are enough. And I am going to explain "why" you are enough.

As a believer, I have often felt caught in an approval seeking ping pong match. I have sought approval from the world based on crafted cultural messages about what it means to be successful and significant. Culture told me there was no room for my faith at work. Culture says faith and Christianity are offensive, right? The standard and priorities of faith are not aligned with business priorities. And well, let's just face it, sometimes in business we have to do things "for the sake of the business" that just aren't on the up and up.

I have left my faith behind as I crossed the threshold into work. I did this with the belief that if I do I will have greater opportunity, climb higher and earn more money. In essence, I will achieve every american's dream by leaving faith in the parking lot. Bringing faith to the marketplace - I was told, muddied the waters. So, when I bought into this belief I felt isolated, alone, and frankly like I couldn't bring my whole self to the table.

On the other hand, I sought the approval of my church and church family. Believing that if I live by the letter of the law, don't screw it up, and don't embarrass anyone, they will love, honor and accept me. So, I strove. Strove to live an unblemished life. Strove to show up, serve, tithe, not cause any ripples, and just be a "good Christian girl."

In the church world, in my heart of hearts, I knew that I could not be everything I was expected to be. I could not, and never would be perfect. If I couldn't be perfect and I was flawed, then what was there to love, honor and accept? A broken vessel? Who would honor that? My broken vessel didn't seem to fit among the pristine and shiny, flawless vessels I saw around me.

I felt pressed on both sides, and I wanted to give up. Shamed by the world for having faith in Jesus. Shamed in Christian circles for not being holy enough. As I ping-ponged back and forth, and back and forth trying to find belonging, acceptance and approval, I grew tired. And I finally I (the ball) hit the net and lay face down on the table. (It was actually the floor that I hit). I realized, there at my wits end of striving, this shame I was feeling was never put on me God.

I found myself face down at the feet of God saying, "I can't do this anymore. I can't be everything to everyone like I have tried to be for so long. I can't look for significance and approval from anyone else. But you Lord, I chose to believe you. I choose to believe the truth of your word. Thank you God that you take me, just as I am. You accept my flaws, bruises and mistakes. You accept me as I am, and so I accept you completely and fully."

When the ball dropped that day, the net shook, but the air around me grew quiet. Until that moment I had believed another falsehood that said, "I didn't have a choice. This is how life is if you want to be accepted.This is the path you must follow, the boxes you must check off, the tasks you must complete if you want to earn respect, love and honor." But God's truth says, "Nothing can separate me from his love."

Nothing I do. Nothing done to me will cause me to be separated from God's love.

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love." (Romans 8:38 NLT)

Today the ping-pong ball is being tossed for the serve. Which side of the table do you find yourself in today? Striving to be accepted by the world's standards, or trying to be accepted by religious standards?

If you find yourself on either side of the table today, consider what would happen if you hit the net. What would happen if you stopped striving and rested in the fact that God loves you as you are? You don't have to prove or earn anything. What if you actually believed that there was nothing that could separate you from God's love for you? How would you live today differently? What if you had the courage to say, "Game over"?

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#approval #christianliving #Godslove #acceptance #significance #pingpongeffect

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