For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
Did you know that stickers have power? Stop and think about it. Think about what you can get children to do for a sticker. Gold stars for chores. Smiley ones for attendance. Green ones for good behavior. Giant ones for high marks on school work. Children will do almost anything to get a sticker.
As adults, we aren’t that different. We will do just about anything to get a pat on the back or a few words of praise. We work long hours at work hoping the boss will notice and give us a raise or at the very least say “Good, job.” We scour our homes before guests come over just to hear, “Wow, it looks amazing in here. Your home is beautiful.” We spend a little too much money on clothes to hear that we look nice. Our annual gym membership yields us a few, “Your arms look great or how do you stay so thin?” moments in our day.
If we are honest with ourselves, much of what we do in life we do because we crave the praise of people. A like on Facebook gives us the same inner glow that the gold sticker once did on our math homework. We do, we say, we post, we maneuver to acquire the accolades of the people around us. The more “likes” we get the more affirmed we feel. Soon our motivation for doing things and our self-esteem are tied to the “stickers” we receive on our endeavors. Someone liked it? Let’s do it again. Someone criticized it? I must be terrible at it. Let’s not do that again! Our self-worth becomes so twisted and tangled in the need to hear someone say we are okay and doing things well we are like a fly caught in spider’s web unable to escape the sticky strings that strap us to an undesired destination.
I can’t freely serve God if I am always tied to seeking the praise of others. If I am constantly seeking the reward of a sticker, I will say and do things in order to “hear” that I am accepted and good enough. If I don’t get a sticker, I will worry that I have disappointed someone with my words or actions. I will struggle under the weight of constantly feeling like I have let people down. Guilt will begin to cast a long shadow over the 1,440 minutes of my day sending me to seek for sunshine in with words of others.
The Bible teaches us that we can’t serve two masters. We will love one and hate the other. We can’t live for the praise of man and please God at the same time. We have to choose. We have to make up our minds to follow God no matter what. I need to do my best in whatever I have been called to do and then let it go. I need to put down my phone. I need to stop seeking likes and praise for my posts and pictures. I need to ask myself why I am saying or posting something before I do it. Am I looking for praise and affirmation from my online friends? Or am I truly trying to share my life and encourage others? If no one ever likes something I say, do or post, will I be okay with that?
The ultimate service question for me is, can I be content doing something just because God has asked me to do it whether or not anyone else ever notices or says something?
So today, before you post that picture or click that like button ask yourself, "Who am I doing this for? Am I seeking the approval of God or am I looking for a sticker from man?"
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.