This is lesson 3 of 5 in the Search for Significance series.
With the rise of social media, the pressure to be accepted is greater than ever. We measure our value based on the amount of followers and likes we have. This only increases the pressure to present the best version of ourselves so others will be impressed and perhaps even envy us.
The Lie: “If I’m approved by others, then I have value.”
The preoccupation with how others view us and seeking their approval can so consume us that it becomes an addiction. This addiction is fueled by the lie that getting the approval of others is all that matters. It controls us and turns us into a false version of ourselves. For example, on social media, we project the person we think others want us to be. At work, we become the “yes man/woman” for our co-workers or boss even though it kills us to do it. As parents, we might sign up to be the PTA president and the team parent and every other volunteer opportunity that we think will make us look good. We do it all because we want to be liked. We want people to say, “Wow! How does he/she do it all!” But the problem is, this addiction just wears us out. It makes us resentful that we’re doing everything and no one else is contributing. And when we don’t get the recognition or approval we so desperately seek, we feel bad about ourselves. Why do we do this?
We do it all because of the fear of rejection
We don’t want to be rejected or fail to measure up to some perceived standard. Rejection makes us feel alone, vulnerable and scared. To be approved by others is the name of the game and when we lose the game we feel defeated. We feel like we have no value or worth.
How does believing this lie affect our lives?
The fear of rejection can bring out unhealthy emotions of anger and resentment towards those who reject us. We might become controlling people because we work hard to create the perception we want others to have of us. And, we’ll stop at nothing to convince them of our perspective. We can also become closed off to authentic relationships because we don’t want others see who we really are. We want to hide behind the facade we’ve created for ourselves. It’s a lonely, hollow place.
Galatians 1:10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
God’s answer is reconciliation
Reconciliation means we go from being enemies of God to friends of God. This is what Jesus did for us when he died for our sins. He made us worthy of God’s love because he took away our brokenness and replaced it with his goodness. But reconciliation is about more than being made right with God. It’s about having a personal relationship with God. Through Jesus, we are fully accepted by God. Think about that. We get to have a friendship with the God of the universe. And, we don’t have to jump through hoops or work to prove our value to him. He’s already given us value through the saving work of Jesus and our friendship with him is firmly established.
Colossians 1:21-22 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
Romans 8:38-39 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When we understand the gift of reconciliation, we can be free. Free from being the approval addict and free from the fear of rejection. No matter what anyone else says, you are a friend of God. You are fully accepted and loved by the God of the universe. His love and approval is what gives you your true worth. And He proved your value to him by dying for you.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- How big of a role does social media play in your life? Explain.
- What do you think people’s motives are in what they choose to post on social media? What would you say are typically your motives for what you choose to post?
- Who are the people in your life for whom you seek approval? What does their approval mean to you?
- Have you ever taken on more commitments than you should have? Why did you do it? What would you do differently today?
- Have you been rejected by someone before? Explain. How did that rejection affect your life?
- Read Colossians 1:21-22. Identify everything this passage says about Jesus and you. What does it mean to you that you can be a friend of God because of Jesus?
- Read Romans 8:38-39. How much does God love you? How should knowing that you are fully accepted by God change the way you view yourself? What’s holding you back from fully embracing God’s love and acceptance?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.