It was almost pathetic how much I wanted her approval.
Okay, scratch the “almost”, it was pathetic.
And it wasn’t like she was “disapproving” but her indifference was causing my imagination to run wild.
“What had I done wrong? Did I say something, do something? Was there anything I could do to get in her good graces?”
I’m ashamed to admit that I spent WAY too much time trying to answer these unanswerable questions.
Until the Holy Spirit pointed out that I was acting pathetic. Desperate.
That my irrational need for approval was driving me and those around me just a little wacky.
Why couldn’t I just let it go and not care whether or not I received someone else’s approval?
What was driving this craziness inside of me?
What I quickly realized that this was the question that needed to be answered.
“What was the root of the problem stealing my joy, my peace, and my confidence?”
And this was a question the Holy Spirit was willing to answer.
As I went to Him in prayer, He showed me a lifelong pattern of “chasing approval”.
As we walked through my memories I could see that this was a weakness in my life, I felt like I needed to earn love and approval and I’d do whatever needed done to get it. I was addicted to pleasing people and proving that I was worthy of their approval and respect.
Next, the Holy Spirit helped me get to the root of the problem: Where did this start?
For me, it began in feeling like I needed to earn my father’s love. When he didn’t give me the approval I needed, I felt rejected. I’d carried this pattern into other relationships always feeling like I needed to earn approval and when it wasn’t given or even when someone was just oblivious to my need; I felt rejected and blamed myself.
So now we had the problem, the cause, and now we needed the cure.
Over the next few weeks, the Holy Spirit helped me find it.
During my time of prayer, He helped me see that my need for approval really was irrational. Then He showed me some practical steps that I needed to take to change my behavior.
The first step was to stop chasing approval.
As an approval junkie, this was hard. Still, it was necessary that I stop putting myself in positions to seek approval and instead, find the approval that I needed in Jesus.
As I read the Bible and prayed, I continued being obedient to His instructions, I can say that I am becoming stronger. Dare I say, less pathetic?
As the journey continues, I’m learning. God is changing me and filling the void created 35+ years ago and I’m learning to hold my head high and walk in dignity rather than chase approval.
Yet it wasn’t magical by any means.
It took acknowledging the problem…..getting to the root of the issue….and then making practical behavioral changes before I could begin to overcome.
Perhaps today, you too are realizing that there are areas in your life that are a bit pathetic.
Maybe it isn’t chasing people’s love or approval, but it’s just as much a struggle. When you take a look at your life, you’re just sick and tired of this issue kicking you around. Instead, you’d like to give it a swift kick out of your life forever.
Yet, you’re not sure where to start.
The truth is that there are no magical cures. Inner healing and life changing freedom requires work and commitment.
Still, through the power of the Holy Spirit, it is possible.
Here’s how to get started:
----Set aside time to spend alone with Jesus in prayer.
----Admit you have a problem.
Confess is the key to overcoming any problem.
----Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the root of the problem---where it all began.
This may involve remembering things you don’t want to remember or facing truths that are difficult, however, getting these things out of your life is the only way to overcome.
----Choose to take whatever steps are necessary to overcome the root problem.
This will include forgiveness---In my case I had to forgive my Dad for his lack of approval and face that even though it felt like rejection, the truth was that because of the unresolved issues in his life, he was incapable of giving the love and approval I needed.Both the forgiveness and this realization set me free.
----Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to modify your behavior and to give you the strength to do it.
Yep, this is the hard part---choosing to do things differently. Yet, it’s the only way to stop being pathetic and start being the strong, healthy, happy woman that you want to be. As I’ve learned in my life, every time you make the right choice to act, think, and live differently, you’re one step further from pathetic and one step closer to freedom.
So this is my story---at least one of them.
The truth is that I’ve been through this process many times in many different areas of my life.
Yet, every time I’ve committed to following these steps and allowing the Holy Spirit to change my heart and mind, I’ve never regretted it. Because even though it isn’t magical or easy, it’s so worth the effort when you can look back and say:
Yeah, I was pathetic….this problem was ruining my life….
BUT IT ISN’T ANYMORE!