Do You Find Approval?
By Aaron Bull
Every Sunday my son and I play soccer. Little did I know that while
having fun I'd learn something on the field.
I'm an athlete, and I don't like to just watch sports; I need to be involved.
I'm always moving.
Almost every Sunday my son and I participate in a pick-up soccer game with
folks of all ages and all skill levels. The players consist of young
people from the ages of 6 to men in their 50s -- so the demographics
are spread out. Within that group there are guys and gals in their
last few years of high school who play on select and varsity teams,
sometimes at the same time.
To say they're good is an understatement.
Then there's me. I'm in my thirties and have been playing soccer for most
of my life. However, since my playing hasn't been that consistent over the
last few years or so, my ball handling skills aren't always that great. I
have my moments. But I also have those OTHER moments that we don't always
want to run home and share with our family.
Every time I play it's an absolute blast. It's a time for me to see friends
and release some stress built up during the week, allowing me to start
the new week refreshed. It's a time of decompression for me.
After the game I always call my wife to let her know that we're done and
we're heading home. The other part of the conversation is what I did, or what
our son did on the field. No matter how hard I try, I can never wait until
I get home to give her highlights of the good and bad things that happened.
To say I love soccer is also an understatement.
To my surprise I've learned something from this otherwise innocuous, but
exhausting game. There will always be somebody better than me. There will
always be someone waiting only a step away from me who knows strategy better
and who can control the ball better.
Now some of you may be wondering where I'm going with all of this. Hold on,
Let me ask you, what can a person do to improve their skills? The quick answer
is, practice, practice, and practice some more. However, let me pose another
question to you. What if I'm as good as I will ever get, and my skills will
probably start to diminish as I get older? Also, if I plan to get better,
am I doing it for me, my family, or the guy or girl I've always tried to beat
but simply can't? Is it one-upmanship that motivates me?
have to be honest. In my life it's usually trying to prove to someone else
that I am better than him or her when they have shown me up in the past. Oh
how I/we love to feed our egos. Come on. Admit it. We all do. Usually the
only thing that separates us when it comes to our egos is to what degree we
Now, let's go back to that question again. Where am I going with this? I'm
pretty certain -- in fact completely sure, 100% unquestionably, undeniably
sure, that approval of man or ourselves is not where we are supposed to be
seeking approval. The only One we are supposed to seek approval from is our
Heavenly Father, God -- Daddy.
That's a difficult one. Are you guilty -- as I am -- of wanting at least
one person to notice when you do something that people don't normally see?
It could be anything from cleaning the floors at home, or finally figuring
out something that's been plaguing your department at work.
Guess what? Even when nobody else notices, someone always notices. It's our
heavenly Father. I'm reminded of a verse in Galatians 1:10:
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying
to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant
I'm also reminded of the verse found in Proverbs 14:12:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads
I think that's pretty fair warning of where our approval seeking should be
focused. Not from man. Not from our spouse, boss, coach, etc. The only one
we should seek approval from, true loving confirming approval from, is God.
It's that simple! Seek his approval with your full heart and see what happens.
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