How much of my “religion” or my so-called “spirituality” is a seeking after a state in which I can be left as myself and still be approved? I’m sure that’s not the highest ideal, but it may be the reality. I guess for me it reaches its best when I forget entirely about the approval of others (which is seldom) and seek only Your approval.
The approval of others is much easier to discern than Yours – or is it? With the approval of others we never quite know for sure what mental reservations or qualifications are being held. But with You we know that when Your approval is granted it is without reservation or qualification. Yet, my need for approval must indeed include a validation of myself and what I am doing; thus, in seeking approval I manufacture my religion/spirituality to validate myself. This seems very human but there also seems to be something not quite right about it.
To have the feeling at any particular stage that I am validated or approved may be interpreted as permission to stay where I’m at. Yet, if I accept the reality that at any given moment I am a being becoming, resting in validation or approval does nothing but impede my growth. I become OK to myself because I think others think I’m OK and because I think You regard me as OK. But, in fact, such an evaluation may first come more from me that from You or others, and, second, it can be a dam to the flow of Your graces. Thus, falling prey to this seductive spiritual trap makes us more Pharisaical than we would admit to ourselves. The discomfort such an admission causes does not fit into my “religion.” But, if we can admit that this is pretty much what takes place then we can begin inuring ourselves to the effects of seeking approval and moving on without it.
On the other side of this dilemma, a total disregard of validation or approval may result in a callous disregard for the honest consideration of others. You did not need approval or validation from men; only from Your Father. From men all You sought was acceptance of what You offered. But in Your own time You got very little of this. Maybe the lesson is that we’re never approved, validated, or accepted until the life in which we seek it is over.