Faith, God's Love, Identity

Approval: The Facade

Broken windmill

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve mentioned before how people-pleasing tendencies have burrowed like weeds in my life. Though most of the time, I keep them tamed, that desire for approval still pops its head into the surface of my heart more often than I’d like to admit.

The rejection I dealt with in elementary school became a huge motivator for gaining peoples’ approval. Through my teen years—and into my twenties—I sought to become whatever I needed to in order to be accepted, to be approved of.

Unpainted Barn

The hard thing is when a person chases hard after approval, we never really know if we’ve achieved it. If someone offered me a compliment, I always—always–questioned in my thoughts if they were sincere. Terrible, isn’t it?

Looking back now, I can see that, in my attempts to be whatever I needed to in order to gain approval, I lost who I was created to be. In trying to become acceptable to others, I smothered what God had planted that made me uniquely me.

Lonely brick siloIn trying to say the right thing (at least what I thought they wanted to hear), and do the right thing (in someone else’s eyes), I bartered parts of myself. Then, when I didn’t receive the hoped-for outcome, I shattered internally. The rejection shards stung and sliced up my identity.

The sad thing is, I kept at this way of interacting with others for years. Always trying to gain the approval of someone.

Two women walking aheadGaining the approval of others twisted my identity. By the time I reached my early thirties, I didn’t really know who I was, or who God created me to be. My identity was a jumbled mix of all that conforming to man’s ways, man’s expectations.

My heart was tender with wounds, and it always dreaded the possibility of rejection. I anticipated that I would be rejected sooner or later. Because, someone, at some point would see that I was a farce.

Three DucksSome people I wanted to be accepted by have never truly approved of me. I’m not sure  if they have changed over the years . . . but I have.

God has helped me to see that the only person whose approval I really need to worry about is His. And the beautiful thing is? I’ve already got it. He approves of me. He accepts me. He loves me . . . even when I make mistakes. Even when I go back to wrong thought/behavior patterns.

Red barn with missing colorGod wants each of us to see ourselves as He does: beloved. (Click to Tweet) We are passionately loved by Him. He has created each of us to be unique in our ways of perceiving the world, in our quirks, in our thoughts, and in how we respond to life. 

We weren’t designed to fit a cookie-cutter mold. We were designed to fulfill a purpose God created us to fill. No one else can do the work He designed for us. Nor can we do the works He created another to fulfill.

God's approvalWe are, each of us, treasured by God. We don’t need the approval of people. Each of us will come to a time when we must choose whether we are going to seek to please God, or strive to please a person. Which will you choose?

What about you? How have you come to the place of being comfortable with who God created you to be? What one truth do you cling to that helps you live as God created YOU to live?

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup.

28 thoughts on “Approval: The Facade”

  1. Interesting question, and one that I have not the heart to answer here. God created me to survive one part of my life, but that person is completely unqualified for almost anything else.

    I don’t have an answer here, Jeanne.


    1. Andrew, thank you for your honesty. Sometimes we have to take time to process a question, and to come to the place where we can approach it with an accurate perspective. I am thankful for your transparency and your friendship. I’m praying for you, friend.


  2. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I think I’m GROWING in becoming more comfortable in my own skin, but that really started after I turned 40! like you, I think I always struggled with the need to earn or be sure of approval. And that certainly makes for shifting sands when you’re trying to build your identity! In Christ alone…


    1. I’m with you, Betsy. My forties have been great for growing in the fine art of being comfortable in my own skin. I haven’t arrived. I still struggle some days with my own need for outside approval. But God . . . He’s so faithful to meet me even there and remind me He still loves me. He still sees me as His beloved and accepts me, even in my weakness.

      I always appreciate your comments here. Thank you for stopping by!


  3. Hi Jeanne! Thank you for your wise words and perspective. I love that verse, “Forgetting what lies behind, and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on, Toward the goal, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” It comforts me and helps me keep my eyes on the goals I believe He’s given me. When you face death or have a loved one in trouble, it helps to take a breath and remember you’re here for a purpose. Discovering that and relentlessly pursuing it has given me a much more settled feeling about others’ judgements or inevitable differences. When you operate in that “lane” that God’s given you, the rest slips away and the fresh breeze of freedom has room to gently wind its way into your life. Thanks for the reminder today!


    1. Elizabeth, That verse is so reassuring, isn’t it? What a great one to hold onto. I may need to adopt it too. Sometimes, I get discouraged when goals don’t come about in the time frame I expected them to.

      Your suggestions for getting ready to face hard times are spot on. When we take those moments to prepare for life’s hard. I love that you are able to focus on God’s purpose and pursue Him (and it) whole-heartedly. Love your thoughts, Elizabeth!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  4. I always love your transparency when I visit here. I am very much a people-pleaser and God continues to teach me that He is the one constant in my life and He is the one I need to cling to.

    To become a faithful follower of Jesus I work on embracing God’s truths in His word. The wealth of love, grace, forgiveness and hope that is in the Word never fails to amaze me. God is my hope and when things become muddled, I can turn to Him to see clearly again. Thank you for shining a light and pointing us to God.


    1. You’re such an encourager, Mary. Thank goodness God is that one constant in our lives! He’s the only One who can handle me clinging to Him.

      Your ways of growing closer to Him are spot on. When we base our perceptions, our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions on the foundation of His word, we’ll never be steered wrong. I love your exhortations, and that God is your hope. Thank you for sharing your words of life here.


  5. Beautiful, Jeanne. I think I have become comfortable with myself more than ever. Maybe that’s just something we come to as we age. If I’d have been more comfortable in my own skin years ago, I’d have much less sun damage. 🙂


    1. Shelli, you made me smile about the sun damage and all. I’m growing more comfortable in my own skin, but I’m still a work in progress when it comes to that. Thank goodness God is patient with us as we grow with Him!


  6. It is such a gift when we finally begin realizing that we are unique on purpose! I’m glad God made each person different (even though I don’t always appreciate those differences). Thanks for encouraging us all to embrace our uniqueness instead of trying to file it down to look like everyone else.


    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Lisa. When we can accept and embrace the unique purposes God has created us for, there can be such freedom! Thank you so much for stopping by!


  7. Jeanne: I so appreciate your vulnerability. One of the reasons Caron, the heroine of Almost Like Being in Love, struggles with wanting the approval of others is because we all struggle with it to some degree. Andy Stanley, the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, says, “All of us are using someone or something as a mirror.” I’ve had to learn to look to God for my sense of worth.


    1. Wow, that’s a wonderful quote, Beth. Jeanne, your post resonated with me. I struggle with people pleasing and fearing/waiting for the next rejection, too. But judging my value by my most recent mistakes/rejections/successes/acceptances is like relying on a fun house mirror. Jesus, our Savior, looks at us, truly sees us, and calls us beloved. “He has created each of us to be unique in our ways of perceiving the world, in our quirks, in our thoughts, and in how we respond to life. We weren’t designed to fit a cookie-cutter mold. We were designed to fulfill a purpose God created us to fill.”Thank you for this freeing reminder!


      1. Emily, as much as I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with people-pleasing tendencies, I’m sorry you also deal with them. The fun house mirror is spot on. When we look to others to tell us how we look, the view will always be distorted.

        Thank you so much for stopping by!


    2. I agree, Beth. We all struggle with that desire for approval, to some degree. That word picture of each of us using someone as a mirror is vivid. I know I’ve used people as my mirror for far too long. I’m learning to look to God as my mirror. His What He reflects back to me when I look at Him as my mirror is so much more life-giving than when I use others as a mirror.

      I so appreciate you stopping by today!


    1. Ahhh, Lisa. It’s true. We have the hardest time seeing the beauty God has given us. Thank you for your kind words. And for the record, you are a caring, passionate, kind woman of God. I’m so glad God has allowed our paths to cross.


  8. Much to ponder here, Jeanne, I don’t have concise answers for your questions yet this morning, but I can totally relate to how God lovingly restores what childhood rejection rips apart. I’m so glad you are able to write about your journey now … I praise God for His healing work in your life, and mine too!


    1. Lois, it’s so good to see you again. 🙂 I’m with you. God is so gentle when He restores what rejection tears asunder, isn’t He? I’m so glad He’s done a healing work in both of our lives!


  9. Thanks for sharing this, Jeanne. I definitely relate to people-pleasing and the constant feeling of having to adapt to be who others want me to be. For me, I think the beginning of accepting who I am came from a time with God, where I experienced his love for the first time instead of just knowing it in my head. It is an on-going journey though of trying to fight the lies with truth.


    1. Carly, God’s love is powerful that way, isn’t it? I love that He’s helping you to embrace who He’s created you to be. Stand firm against those lies. Throw God’s truth back at them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a wonderful post……I actually ALWAYS enjoy your I will read this one over and over. Thanks for the giveaway…..I would like to be entered.


    1. Hi Jackie, I just wanted to make sure you knew that if you want to be in the giveaway, you need to fill out the form at the bottom of the blog post for the day. 🙂 Have a great Friday!


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