A Guest Post by Lori Schumaker at Searching For Moments

Life has taken on a slower version of myself. A much slower version. No hidden superwoman cape these days. Recently my health took a significant turn for the worse. It snuck up on me. Knocking my knees right out from under me. Leaving me wrestling with a fear I had begun to believe I had conquered.

The Fear of Disapproval

I don’t know when it started. Maybe it was at birth. That deep-seated need to make those around me happy. I needed to see a smile to feel okay. The frowns – the looks of disapproval made my heart drop heavily into the pit of my stomach.

Whether it was at home or at school, the guiding force of my life was approval.

Growing up – sports, activities, friends, relationships and work. It never changed.

How hard could I work?

How much could I do?

How could I hold onto everyone’s approval of me?

Approval addiction lead me down roads I can hardly believe were me. Molding into what others needed, I didn’t know the value of

“simply me”

Performance was necessary to deserve love. And sadness of the holes within my heart gripped my spirit way too often.

But God.

(my absolute favorite phrase, by the way!)

I began to know Jesus differently than ever before. I began the journey to discovering He wasn’t just a God somewhere in the distance. He wasn’t just for looks – like a priceless treasure we keep on a high shelf, afraid to touch.

Instead, I found that not only was He far away taking care of great big important world matters, but He was right here by my side taking care of my small little matters at the very same time. Nothing was too little or too big for Him.

He was a priceless treasure, but one to hold close – not one to keep far away. And most definitely not one that was breakable.

I learned that “simply me” was valuable. As a matter of fact, He calls me wonderful.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. –Psalm 139:14 NIV

The journey involved a book. Approval Addiction by Joyce Meyer. Have you ever experienced a book, a message, or an article that felt as though God purposely instructed the writing just for you? It was one those kinds of books for me.

Her words led me to God’s Word and His Truth. Just the Word I seemed to need to penetrate the deepest crevices of my heart where I was still holding onto the fear.

His truth that said no matter what, He will not stop loving me.

No matter the situation.

No matter the disappointment.

No matter what!

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? –Romans 8:35 NLT

Friends, it did take a while. It wasn’t an overnight process. It’s more like the layers of an onion. Peeling each one away to reveal the next. Even today, some layers seem to remain or grow back.

You see, the health issues I’ve been experiencing have significantly affected my ability to perform my usual wife, Mom, and ministry duties. As I was forced to sit back, the fear attempted to seep back into my soul. In my eyes my performance was sub-par and the whispers questioning my worth began. My husband was having to do more and my kids do without. I couldn’t help but see the disappointment in their eyes.

That disappointment touched a chord of fear in me. The fear of disapproval. The fear that said because my ability to please my family and friends was sub-par so was my worth.

But because I had done the work, I was able to recognize those whispers for the cruel lies they were. Those layers had been peeled away and laid before the cross. I’d given Jesus power over them so that I wouldn’t have to bear them anymore. It’s not others I need to please to have worth, it’s Jesus. And His love is not performance based. It is heart-based.

It’s not others I need to please to have worth, it’s Jesus. His love is not performance based. It's heart-based. #facingfearseries #cordof6 Click To Tweet

Today I know the truth and whether this slower version of me is forever or whether it is merely for a season, I know I am still valuable. I am called wonderful by the King of Kings and I can be “simply me” living without fear of disapproval.

Yes, I see the look of disappointment in their eyes. But it isn’t a definition of me. It is merely a natural human reaction of theirs.

The Truth defines me. And thankfully, I hear the Truth because …

I’ve replaced my fear of disapproval with the courage of the King.

Approval Addict? There's hope. Replace your #fear with the #courage of the King! #cordof6 #facingfearseries Click To Tweet

If you struggle with this same fear, I pray my story and my strategies give you hope to know that you can replace that fear of disapproval with the courage of the King. My journey toward finding freedom from approval addiction involved the following intentional and consistent actions.


6 Strategies Toward Finding Freedom

Holy Father, You have made each of us with excellence. Your workmanship unmatched. Your love unfailing. Thank You for Your promise to love us no matter what. May each precious soul here praying this today, feel the power of Your love. May they know that pleasing the world is not necessary, but rather pleasing You alone is the only endeavor that matters. I pray it sinks into the crevices of their souls that nothing – not any disappointment in the eyes of another, not any shortcoming, nor any travesty can separate them from the love of Christ. Lord, I ask You in the power of Your Name to cancel out all spirits of the fear of disapproval and replace them now with Your Spirit of courage. In Your precious and holy Name, I pray. Amen

Finding Freedom From Approval Addiction

Because Lori has a passion for seeing lives transformed, she spent many years as an Elementary Education Teacher, as well as an instructor in both University and Community Education settings. After becoming a Mom 14 years ago, her focus shifted from schoolrooms to that of her family, friends, and church ministries. She now uses her own story of redemption along with her passions for writing, teaching, and praying to point people to her Redeemer. Her prayer is that each sweet friend that visits her little corner of the world will walk away feeling loved and encouraged by not only her but by the King of Kings! Her blog,  Searching for Moments, can be found at www.lorischumaker.com.

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Thank you, Lori, for sharing your heart and ministering to those who long for the approval of others. I love your quote, “It’s not others I need to please to have worth, it’s Jesus. And His love is not performance based. It’s heart-based.” Thank you for touching my heart with your writing! I’m so grateful for your friendship and participation in this series!


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