Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to Avoid the Approval Junkie Trap {repost}

Visa Syndrome: The Need to Be Approved Everywhere
Seeking approval from others is perhaps one of the most destructive and dangerous of sins. Why? Because we are searching and longing for approval from men, ultimately worship for ourselves, and we set ourselves up as enemies of God and man.

Why God? Because he will not share his glory with another. He will be glorified, because in reality, He is God. In the end, only His opinion counts anyways.

Why Man? Because when you don’t give me what I demand (approval) I will war with you to try to get it. I am not free to love you unless you give me what I want. Fear of man ensnares us in sin.

There are some Christian women who can never enter into normal friendships with other women, because they are looking for something in that friendship that can never happen– 100% approval at all times.

Here are five ways to protect yourself from being an Approval Junkie:

1. Don’t look for love in all the wrong places. We live in an approval society. Instead, seek your approval from God. Let God fill the void of your heart. Find your satisfaction in Him. Otherwise, seeking approval in people is idolatry and futile. Life isn’t supposed to work that way.

2. Don’t expect others to fill your “love tank.” If you do, you’ll always be disappointed, moody and unable to love others well. In heaven, things will be perfect, but down here, they are not. People will disappoint you, but God never will. {and hey, guess what. We disappoint others, too.} It is not fair to expect your husband, parents, friends or children to always make you feel a certain way.
Moodiness in an dysfunctional “approval relationship” is rarely based on anything more then perception. I think you like me, so I am happy today. I feel as though you’ve rejected me, so I am moody today.
Don’t be controlled by the opinions of others. Instead, be controlled by the Spirit. 

3. Don’t be a victim.  Yes, I am sure you’ve been hurt, but I am also sure you’ve hurt someone else. Own up to your own behavior and realize that perhaps your own sinful responses are the causes of many of your relationship problems. Do you writhe in guilt all of the time? Guilt is a tool to help you repent. Guilt is a gift towards sanctification, if you allow God to work in YOU. Otherwise, sin that causes guilt that is not dealt with will drive you farther from God, as you hide your sin from Him.

4. Don’t be devastated by criticism. An extremely proud person thinks they are above being wrong, so hence, they are devastated by criticism. Are you really so perfect that you think that you can do no wrong? What does the Bible have to say about this mindset? People who live this way end up isolating themselves {exact opposite of what they really want} and find that people avoid dealing with them.

5. Don’t destroy your friendships by not receiving or speaking the truth in love. Healthy relationships are not based on how you feel, but on truth.
If you are afraid to speak the truth in love, you are saying that you fear man more than God. More often we are motivated by our desire to be liked, so we say nothing, rather than being motivated by love for the person, which prepares another to stand before God someday.

On the flip side, a person who is resentful when you lovingly confront sin in their lives is telling on themselves. What is ruling them is not a desire for God’s glory, but a desire for comfort, understanding and self approval. Ultimately, it is not wise to approach a person who is like this. The Bible calls a person who will not receive correction a scorner.

How do we teach our kids to avoid this trap?

Teach them to Fear the Lord: ”Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe,” and  ”The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” are great verses for talking about the fear of man.

Praise their courage when they do what is right verses doing what is easy. When your teen stands up for what is right, make sure you tell them that that was the wise way to walk. Wise living is not always popular with friends, but it is always popular with God. :)

Take out your Visa card and teach them that if they ARE approved everywhere, then something is certainly wrong. When you stand for what is right, you’ll not be approved by everyone. When you live a counter culture life, approval is not headed your way.

Are you an approval junkie? What can you do today to get out of that snare? Ask yourself, why are people’s opinions of me so important?

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