“What will people think?”
It started when I was young. Growing up as “Stephen Chen’s daughter” meant behaving well, dressing appropriately, helping out at church, and generally living a commendable sort of life. My parents never spelled it out that way. Somehow between how I was corrected and praised by my parents and other adults, I concluded that the Christian life is a fishbowl life: people are always watching, so be careful what you do.
This mentality worked for a little while. It taught me to weigh my decisions. It helped me to be a little more cautious. It taught me to be sensitive to others’ feelings. The problem is that people pleasing became a way of life. I decided what to wear based on the people I would see. I chose my words based on what people might want to hear. When I needed to make difficult decisions, the loudest voices in my head were the expectations of the ones I love. Worst of all, I measured my worth by how well others thought of me.
One day, I came across this verse in the book of Galatians: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
Even now, my mind can’t fully grasp the enormity of my problem. When I get frustrated, when I am embarrassed, when I feel disappointed, when I’m stressed, I am beginning to realize that it’s often because I crave the praise of other human beings, not the approval of my Savior.
Do you worry about what others think of you? Remember this: Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8)! Our worth lies not in how loud the applause may be or how well we do in school or how many likes we get on Facebook or how big our paycheck is. Our value has nothing to do with us but everything to do with the One who has chosen to love us and redeem us at infinite cost to Himself.
And that is why His is the only approval that really matters.