Day 28: When longing for approval

Hopefully by now, you’ve identified which of the four root idols is your stumbling point, having used the reflective questions from last week. Thank you to everyone who commented with such openness about the root idol you see in your life.

Zephaniah317

Here’s mine: approval. Big time. Maybe 90% of what I do is done in light of what someone else will think of me. How I dress, what I buy, my ever-so-witty statuses and tweets. I blog (sometimes) so you, reader, will be moved to comment or like or share.

If you’ve ever said something nice to me in person, I probably treasure it and mull it over again and again. If you’ve ever had a negative or harsh word to me, well, like a cow chewing its cud, I ruminate on that hurt repeatedly. I worry almost constantly about whether or not someone likes me.

Here’s a ridiculous example from this week:  I grew up listening to Christian Contemporary Music. I’m not going to debate the pros and cons here; I would posit there’s good and bad CCM. Today, I listen to a mix of music with some CCM still thrown in, though frankly not much. In my car, I typically listen to music on my iPod connected to the stereo though bluetooth. When my iPod dies because I forget to charge it, I tend to default to a CCM radio station, for lack of anything better. This past Sunday, my car needed to be moved, so I handed over the keys without thinking that my iPod was in my purse. What that meant is that once the car moved far enough away from the iPod, the bluetooth disconnected and the radio turned on. Tuned to a CCM station. With the volume on loud.

*cringes*

See, I go to a rather hipster-y type church, with a lot of artists and musicians. Of whom I have great respect. Some of whom, at times, have been vocal about their disdain for CCM. And, so, I’ve been mortified since Sunday to know that one of two people might think I was jamming to CCM. Because I care about what others think of me. Because I find my worth by being loved and respected by people I love and respect. Because I have an idol of approval.

(The amusing thing is that just yesterday I posted two songs here, one of which is by a popular CCM band.)

The thing I need to learn is that I will never find my worth by being loved or respected by _____ people. At best, it’s like drinking salt water when you’re thirsty. It seems like it will satisfy as it touches your lips, but it only further dehydrates your body.

Instead, I need to focus my heart on finding love, respect, and worth from God – the living water that truly satisfies. As Zephaniah 3:17 says,

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

This is who I should cling to for affirmation. This is who I should desire to admire me. Oh, how I like that idea of someone rejoicing over me, loving me, and exulting over me with loud singing. And I would bet it won’t be to CCM.

~~~

We’re winding down the series on Crushing Your Kingdoms. You can catch up with all the posts in the series here:

crushing your kingdoms

 

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Day 26: Four kingdoms (root idols)

apple orchardHave you had a chance to think through those questions from the You are here post? I sat down and went through each one. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised at my answers, even though I didn’t really like them. They pretty much confirmed what I guessed.

These questions are digging at determining the sin underneath the sin that drives most of our sinful behavior and other idolatries in our lives. I’ve heard several pastors and authors teach that these boil down to four big ones:

Comfort
Approval
Control
Power

The Journey Church in St. Louis did a series that includes these: Transformation. The sermon, Loving People by Uprooting Idols, in particular hits on this. If you  want to spend some time learning more about crushing kingdoms, these are a great resource. I know my church has preached on this, but I couldn’t find the audio anywhere. 😦

So, here’s the deal:

If your answers pointed to lack of stress, freedom or privacy, where your greatest nightmares are stress and demands on you, then you most likely have a comfort idol.

If your answers  leaned toward finding affirmation, love or relationships and your greater fear is to be rejected, then you are dealing with an approval idol.

Do you fear uncertainty and worry a lot? Do you regard standards and self-discipline above all else? This is the idol of control.

Is success the name of the game? Is everything about winning or asserting your influence over others? Then you’re looking at a power idol.

fallen applesThis is deep, heavy stuff, if you take time to really look at your heart and where your affections lie. I’d encourage you to go back through the questions and take inventory in where you have rooted your time, attention, and heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! – Psalm 139:23-24

Above all, spend time in prayer over this. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts. These deeply rooted idols are not removed without God’s help. But, it begins with a willing spirit to see what lies between you and God. One way might be to spend time praying through Psalm 51, David’s cry of forgiveness to God.

~~~

We continue to work through the series, Crushing Your Kingdoms, this month, with only a handful of days left. Click below to view the index of all posts in this series.

crushing your kingdoms

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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