Most people have an unquenchable thirst for approval. So much of our anxiety comes down to this question of, “where do I stand with you?” In social relationships, we check ourselves against others to ensure that we have what it takes. Am I wearing the kind of stuff others are wearing? Saying the kind of things that others say? Saying it in the way that others say it? Am I as physically fit as I need to be? Does my occupation impress people? Many people fretfully analyze themselves and their relationships. How did I come across earlier this morning?Some do very well at this game and a subtle or not so subtle pride builds. Others experience continual disappointment and have accumulated much evidence suggesting that they do not have what it takes relative to their peers. These people often come to counseling feeling “depressed.” Most people, however, just continue striving and pressing to keep up. They become “posers” by molding themselves into what they think they ought to be. Becoming a little more fit. A little more funny. Making sure the children are impressive. Taking the interior decorating up a notch.
For Christians, there is a ready antidote for this epidemic of insecurity. God has much to say about you and me and we must listen to his perspective on us instead of all the other voices. And there are a lot of voices, right? What does my boss think of me? My church friends? My other friends? What does the opposite sex think of me? What does my spouse think of me? My kids? My parents? My siblings? And probably the most critical voice of all is one’s own voice.
With all of these judgments about you, it can be downright disorienting. Frankly, many have very little idea what God has to say about them. And the other voices can seem so much more real than the voice of God. In the current American culture, we often label people with quick, descriptive labels. He is athletic. She is gorgeous. He is unemployed. She is fat. What labels would God attach to us? The Bible offers many. God describes you with words like “chosen”, “righteous”, “complete”, “included”, “forgiven”, “anointed”, “friends”, and “alive.”
Do these words conform to how you have been viewing yourself? When you anchor into this identity, you will take on a whole new level of emotional strength, poise, and confidence.
Jason Hindman, Ph.D.