Note: The opinions and references mentioned in “Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places” are the authors and do not necessarily represent that of the Candidly Christian ministry or other contributors.
Written by Elo Claire Odogbo
I struggled with approval addiction for a long time. I guess it comes with the territory of being the last born. You are typically the baby of the family and showered with attention. However, growing up surrounded by people who love you has its challenges when you go out into the world, and you find that your charm doesn’t work as readily as it once did.
I remember having a conversation with a young lady who was burnt in this area. She had this beautiful relationship with people who were the “popular ones” – you know, those ones who have this ability to attract people like ants to sugar.
She was devastated, however, when these relationships turned sour. As this happened in a church community, she felt unloved, somewhat rejected and abandoned. It was apparent while speaking to her that she was so fixated on having certain people as her friends that she was missing out on the opportunities that God was sending her way to both love and be loved.Have you ever felt rejected or abandoned? Do you crave the approval of others? If so, you're not alone… Click To Tweet
Looking For Love
In my own life, I have found myself repeatedly in that situation where I crave the approval of a group of people and ignore the many who love me and will always have my back. I have been gravely disappointed when certain people wouldn’t respond to me in a way I desired or attend my events.
A beautiful scripture God showed me that helped jolt me out of my approval addiction is Galatians 1:10. It says “if I am seeking the approval of men, I am no longer the servant of God.” I first saw this Scripture come alive when listening to a teaching by Joyce Meyer. I spent a full minute whooping after hearing it. But it broke something on the inside of me. I realized that I valued, and still value, being God’s servant more than the approval of people. As a result, the need for someone to pat me on the back and say “well-done” has reduced dramatically and has died a little more with each passing day.
Dolphins & Whales
The seeds for that breakthrough was sown many years ago when my friend Helette Botha preached a beautiful message about learning to love ourselves and being comfortable in our own skins. She used an illustration of Dolphins and Wales. According to her, everyone loves Dolphins. They attract people without trying. However, some of us feel more like Whales- but beautiful in God’s eyes no doubt. Whales aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they have their own beauty and play an essential role in helping keep the underwater ecosystem in balance.
In the same way, we don’t have to be Dolphins to be valuable. How boring it will be if all the sea creatures were Dolphins! God created diversity for that reason. Each species brings something to the table. In the same way, we all bring something to the table. God has uniquely put us together, and we are blessing someone just by being alive. Everyone may not like us or consider us their cup of tea, as painful as that realization is. We need to let it sink in. Not everyone will like us, no matter how nice, kind and giving we are.
In God’s Eyes
So, should we keep chasing those who aren’t naturally drawn to us and keep craving their friendship? I believe God has better for us. He wants us to accept ourselves for who we are.
Knowing we are healthy and beautiful, just the way we are. We don’t have to keep praying to be “Dolphins” and trying to be one so that people will love us. We instead can ask God to heal those deep places where we need people’s approval to love ourselves. Alternatively, we can receive His love for us and see ourselves through His eyes of love.
When we truly start to love ourselves, our eyes are open to see those people who are drawn to us. Who we are sent to. Our tribe!
We Don’t Have To Be Looking For Love…
We no longer crave attention and affection from specific types of people. We realize that we may not be their kind of people, and that’s okay. But it doesn’t make us less of who we are. It releases us into that which we have been created for. For we were made for such a time as this.
Remember that even though He was the Son of God and walking perfection, Jesus wasn’t necessarily liked by everyone. If this happened to Him, why do we expect differently?
I pray that God will bring freedom to your heart as you read this and that we all will walk in increasing levels of His grace whenever we meet people who don’t like us. That instead of feeling less, we will take the opportunity to love them while keeping our dignity and love for ourselves intact.
Can You Relate?
Have you ever struggled with approval addiction? Join the conversation by sharing your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.Elo Claire struggled with approval addiction, but she's sharing how God set her free in this post on Candidly Christian. Click To Tweet
About The Author
Elo Claire Odogbo is a Christian Career and Business and Coach. Holding a PhD in Economics, an, MBA, CPA and is a certified life breakthrough coach, Claire is passionate about helping people and organizations succeed. She and her husband are church planters who currently reside with their three daughters in Ontario, Canada.
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