Summary: How to lose approval addiction, and gain security, from knowing our Father God loves us
Losing approval addiction and gain security
This past week we have taken Clem to full time pre primary for the first time.
He does not know any of the kids in his class. One of the questions you cant help but ask as a parent is, have you made any friends.
Really you are asking, is there anyone in your class that approves of you? That likes you?
In this church we have a wide range of people, and I reckon you can tell a lot about someone by what their response is to this question.
Did you enjoy high school?
It is in high school that that question do you have any friends, is really important.
I would have to say for me, I did not like my time at high school at all, and I don’t keep in touch with any of my friends there.
My sister Cherie however has life long friends there, and she went back to the ten year reunion and all the rest.
I would guess that there would be people here this morning that still regret those years spent in that way. Maybe even people that harbour pain over rejection, over disapproval from people. There is a condition or a state that some people find themselves in which could be called a Hunger for Approval
Most of us want to be noticed, appreciated, respected, and loved. We want it from our friends and our parents. We especially want this approval from our dad.
When that approval does not come, or is slow to come, it can be like a
huge vacuum in our centre – the place inside us that aches for a word of affirmation, a kind word, a gentle smile, or a pleased look.
One of my good friends is a Pastor, and his dad would very rarely give out praise. In fact for him an a was not good enough on the report card, it needed to be an A plus. And even then, approval was only temporary and short.
As a consequence my friend is a workaholic, driven person, always looking to succeed, always wanting not just approval but for people to acknowledge him.
That is one way approval addiction can drive us, to high achievement.
Another way lack of approval in our formative years can affect us is that we search for a substitute. Particularly in girls the absence of this approval from a loving father can result in a search for love from others – sometimes in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. In boys this absence of approval can lead to anger.
We get older, we get out of high school, and a lot of people are very happy to leave that microcosm of intense pressure. But still you might find yourself
hungry, seeking approval, wanting affirmation, loving the applause, thirsty for acceptance.
Lets think about some balance here, Approval is not a bad thing to desire.
Jesus sought the approval of His father, and obeyed him. IN the story of the Baptism of Jesus, you can find it in the gospel of Mark chapter one, Jesus went and got baptized,
9 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and he was baptized by John in the Jordan River. 10And when Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens split open and the Holy Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven saying, "You are my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with you."
This is my son! I’m proud of him. Who among us does not resonate to the sounds of these words!
We want our fathers to be proud of us! Jesus had the Father God’s approval – no question about it.
But this hunger for approval can also have its negative effects on our lives, when it becomes an addiction. I was visiting with a friend this week, a great guy, but he is really struggling with his addictions. I went round his place about 10am, and he said to me, Mark do you mind if I have a beer, no problem I said, its about beer o clock. He proceeded to down three full strength beers, all before 12 noon. He also smoked some drugs and cigarettes. He has a gaping whole in his life which needs filling. Strange thing is I don’t think the problem is beer or cigarettes, or marijuana. The problem is approval, His father died when this man was 7. His mother had a heart attack and his brother committed suicide. Little wonder then that he wanted desperately to fill that vacuum.
But although you may not have those issues, many of us may sense a unhealthy need for approval. This will come from a deeply rooted belief of not being worthy. The very belief of unworthiness sends out an army to search for the seal of approval. One’s happiness and sense of being gets trapped in the dependency on approvals. Symptoms of this dependency are all around us but we call these symptoms a way of life. For instance these symptoms show up from small statements like, “Do you think I look okay,” to “Do you think I will get the promotion,” to “Do you think the board will approve of our new business idea?” Think for a moment, when you catch yourself making any of the above-mentioned statements: Are you acting out of your need for approval or are you truly enjoying what you are doing?. You must dig deeper to come up with your own answer that is beyond the impressions of others, including the media, the advertisements, the latest fashion, the fastest car or the biggest house.