Instead of excitement and anticipation for my fourth son’s infant dedication this past Sunday, I felt fear and dread. Why would a wonderful moment in front of friends, family & our church body cause me to break out into a cold sweat?
It’s simple. I’ve dedicated three boys before. Two years ago, I teetered on unfamiliar heels, juggling my 11-month-old son, as my 2-year-old lifted the skirt of my dress (and the skirt of the mom standing next to me). The 2-year-old quickly lost interest standing next to me. While distracted by my 4-year-old picking (and eating from) his nose, I looked up to see the 2-year-old army crawling across the stage, lying down and then dangling his head off the end of the stage.
Everyone thought the antics were hilarious and “cute”. But my neck reddened and heart raced. Instead of basking in the moment of prayer for my precious son, I couldn’t wait for the pastor to say “Amen”.
The reason (besides the obvious), for my humiliation was a desire to look like a good mom. A good mom doesn’t have out-of-control children. And if you think I’m a good mom, then I have earned your approval. Ultimately, the motivation behind how I spend my energy, time and resources is to win your admiration.
“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
Pleasing Man or God?
People pleasing has been my idol, the other god.
“Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
So often I neglect serving the Lord, because I am distracted trying to get others to tell me how great I am. It doesn’t make sense. People disappoint. A compliment from the most important person in the world pales in comparison to God’s love and affection for me.
Concerned with appearance or heart?
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Interestingly, our son, who was dedicated, has the middle name, “David”. God directed Samuel to choose David as the next King of Israel based on his heart, not his appearance. I am reminded the position of my heart matters more than the perfect wardrobe selections, updated haircuts, or well-behaved boys.
Fear of man or Faith in the Lord?
Even though I know people disappoint AND their opinion of my appearance does not matter, I still fear the judgments of others (fear of rejection).
“The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Proverbs 29:25
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.” Psalm 118:5-9
The fear of man is wasted energy. If God is for me, then who could stand against me? God is stronger than the most powerful, influential person on earth. His opinion is the only one that matters.
Most importantly, I don’t want my desire to please others to negatively impact my faith. I don’t want to be like the men in John 12. These men believed Jesus to be the Son of God. However, they did not confess their belief, because of a desire to please people.
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:42-43
Do you struggle with wanting the approval of others? Click here to share what Scripture helps you stay focused on God’s opinion of you.
Here is a better picture of our family this past Sunday: